Published: 11/02/2017 07:30 - Updated: 10/02/2017 10:22

First step towards £3.2 million Haven Centre in Inverness

Written byNeil MacPhail

Elsie Normington and fundraising appeal chairman Andy Grzesinski with the plans.
Elsie Normington and fundraising appeal chairman Andy Grzesinski with the plans.

A DREAM of building a dedicated centre in Inverness for children and young people with multiple complex learning needs, made an important step forward yesterday.

The Haven Centre, a Scotland first, is the vision of Elsie Normington, and yesterday the foundation she formed launched the Haven Project Appeal to raise £3.2 million in 18 months.

The Haven will rise from the ashes of Culloden Court Nursing Home which was destroyed by fire in October 2010.  

The appeal was launched at Drummond School where many of the prospective users are currently cared for, and today a similar public event is at Smithton and Culloden Free Church between noon and 8pm.

The complex will have a specialist play centre, community cafe, an outdoor play centre, community garden and meeting rooms, and three respite apartments.  

Children from birth to 19 and young people up to 30 with high support needs will be catered for.

Highland Council has committed £250,000 and plans to build eight council homes on the site.  

Mrs Normington, a community development officer at Merkinch Community Centre who has a 32-year-old son Andrew with multiple complex needs, said: “I have had this dream for more than 20 years, and after I launched my book The Silent Doorbell about life with Andrew, it rekindled in me the need for a special play centre and respite facility.

“We can all be the agents for social change and it is sometimes just a matter of having the courage to be that person.”

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