IMPROVEMENTS to a popular day care centre for adults with learning difficulties have been welcomed.
A total of £38,000 has been pumped into revamping the Hartlepool Borough Council-run Warren Road Day Centre over the past year.
The work has seen the creation of a sensory garden and major revamps of the light and sound room and spa pool.
The transformation was the idea of centre users and staff who are members of the centre’s Friends of the Sunflower Lounge organising committee.
It has been paid for through charity grants, private donations and fundraising events.
Pat Sprintall, community worker and Sunflower Lounge committee member, said: “We set out to make the centre a better, more attractive place for the people who use it and to give them a wider choice of facilities.
“We’re over the moon to see the project become reality.
“A lot of hard work has gone into it from the centre users and from the staff, who have put a lot of effort into fundraising and taken time out at weekends to paint and redecorate rooms.
“We are especially grateful to the organisations and individuals whose wonderful donations have enabled us to reach our goal.”
The new sensory garden has turned an overgrown area in the building’s central quadrangle into a haven of tranquillity.
There are raised planting beds for herbs and scented flowers, a fountain, a gazebo and seating, plus a large panel decorated with the handprints of the centre users.
Inside the centre the hydrotherapy pool has been renamed the Eden Spa and has been renovated and redecorated with a Buddhist theme, symbolising contemplation and serenity.
Meanwhile, a space next to the spa has been turned into an area for relaxation massages and therapies.
The centre already had a sound and light therapy room, but now it has been substantially enhanced to include fibre-optic lighting, a bubble tube and a sound system.
There is also a large cinema screen for film screenings, with surround sound and Wii connections.
A £7,000 donation to kick start the project came from Hartlepool businessmen Harry Peek, Steve Winspear, Paul Wilson, Dave Garside and the late Derek Leighton.
A further £20,000 came from the Hartlepool Partners community group and £5,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
Staff and centre users raised £6,000 themselves through fundraising events, Hartlepool firm Exclusive Garden Features donated the Buddha water feature and Borthwick Marble and Granite gave a piece of granite for the garden, inscribed in memory of absent friends.