A NEWTON Abbot charity which has sought to make proper use of a dilapidated building adjacent to its residential home for years is finally celebrating.

The Meadowside Charity, which operates a residential care home for adults with varying conditions such as dementia, physical and learning disabilities, had reason to cheer as it opened a brand new respite centre.

Renamed ‘The Meadowside Coronation Hall’ in recognition of the charity’s fortieth year and the Coronation of King Charles, the building was opened by Janine Jansen of BBC Spotlight and DIY SOS’ very own Julian Perryman, who has been heavily involved with several projects at Meadowside.

The hall will benefit carers in Newton Abbot and surrounding towns, offering half and full day respite such that carers can enjoy some personal time, knowing their loved ones are in a safe environment.

Residents and staff in front of the the newly renovated hall
Residents and staff in front of the the newly renovated hall (Ethan Heppell / MDA)

Additionally, the converted hall will offer the current residents a new venue to meet individuals, benefitting their mental health; equally revenues will bring funds to improve the sustainability of the main home.

A short throw projector has been installed to entertain the clients as well as Wi-Fi and VOIP telephone system by local company JMV Solutions.

As a new venue, different activities will be planned which were not possible in the main home due to restrictions in access and room size.

A look inside the respite centre
A look inside the respite centre (-)

Lead trustee of the Meadowside Charity, Martin Smith, said: ‘It has been a five year dream come true, from what was a dilapidated building in overgrown grounds with no access and the charities very existence in threat – to having a modern fully funded facility which will offer needed respite for 100’s if not 1,000’s of carers in future years.

‘The facility will give our full time residents also a much needed lift as they will be able to meet new people and as important bring in funds to sustain the charity for future years.

‘There have been so many generous people and local businesses behind this , it would not have been possible though with the many hours of volunteering by Rotary Newton Abbot led by Philip Bearne and Jeremy Newcombe.

‘Meadowside has been an institution in many guises for at least 140 years it can now look forward to many years of being a home for our disabled residents and a place of safety for carers to leave their loved ones for just a few hours respite.’

The Rotary team of volunteers and guests are all smiles
The Rotary team of volunteers and guests are all smiles (-)

The hall that is now home to the new respite was previously known as the ‘Home and Away club’ and was built early in the 20th century as a school room.

It has been used for various purposes over the years, but was closed due to being in a poor and unsafe condition.

Meadowside had limited pedestrian access and no vehicular access from a narrow lane, but after five years of fundraising in partnership with Rotary Newton Abbot an access and car park was created.

Trustee and Rotarian Martin Smith made contact with Julian Perryman ‘Jules‘ a member of the BBC DIY SOS team, who lives in Liverton.

With his many years of experience, especially with projects requiring disability adaptions, Jules quickly managed to get the project of the ground.