House and Home – Francis Lodge and 463
In 2009 Stephen Ryan, a young man with a neuromuscular condition who was supported by Francis House, made a plea to the hospice Trustees, asking for more respite care for the older users. Realising what a difference this could make to young people’s lives, the Trustees expanded the care they provided so they could continue helping young people as they got older and their conditions deteriorated.
Permission was given by Caritas Diocese of Salford to convert two semi-detached properties on Parrswood Road in East Didsbury, into one and a respite facility for teenagers and young adults was opened in October 2010. Stephen sadly died in November 2009, so he wasn’t able to see his idea become reality.
The four-bedroom house provided an age-appropriate environment for young adults to mix with others. It was also a unique opportunity to trial different types of equipment and finishes, new ways of working and informed decisions on the building of the new young adult wing within the grounds of Francis House. Independent research carried out by Manchester University, also helped determine the best ways of providing support and independence to the young adults.
The house was a great success and the forerunner to our £3.5 million, 7 bedroom extension.
Construction began in 2012, and it was with great excitement and celebration that the building was opened just two years later in May 2014, and became known as Francis Lodge. Kirsty Howard who helped to raise millions of pounds for Francis House, and many supporters including Mr Mohamed Al Fayed and his daughter Camilla attended the ceremony. Francis Lodge provides a parent-free zone for the over 13’s with wheelchair-friendly large open spaces and all the bedrooms are equipped with sophisticated media and games equipment and have balconies and views to the outside. A purpose-built recording studio and cinema pod funded by donations and Key 103 Radio listeners, is also used as a space to relax as well as record messages to family and friends.
We now have more than 110 users over the age of 16, the oldest of them over 30. The extended hospice of Francis House and Francis Lodge, now provides 14 beds for sick children, teenagers and young adults, as well as flats for parents and siblings to stay.
Through our work providing support and respite stays for teenagers and young adults, we became concerned about the social as well as the medical needs of some of the young people in our care as they move into adulthood and face the difficulties of ordinary living.
We identified another need for somewhere permanent to live for those young people whose living conditions are inadequate. They might be in that situation, because their parents, who were their carers, are now elderly, moved to other parts of the country or have died.
Our new service at 463 provides much needed full-time accommodation and independence to residents who meet the Francis House criteria aged 18 or over, while providing enhanced care in a homely environment. The pilot scheme set up by Caritas and Francis House provides tailored nursing, advocacy, emotional care, respite, end of life care and bereavement support.
The house 463 offers companionship, dignity, and respect in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
The full transfer of the ownership and management of this property to Francis House Family Trust took place at the end of 2015 and a new company Francis House Families Limited set up and established to operate and develop the service.
One of the first residents to move in was Kyle Wells. Kyle, who continues to use Francis House for respite, commented:
“463 gives me the chance to live independently, and the opportunity to make my own decisions about my life.”