A health chief has hailed plans to build a new children’s centre in Inverness – as he revealed his own mother was in a care home on the same site when it burned down.
David Alston, chairman of NHS Highland, said his late mother Margaret was one of the 59 residents and 12 staff who were safely evacuated in 2010 from Culloden Court Nursing Home.
The site at Murray Road in Smithton has lain derelict since the blaze, but has now been earmarked by the Elsie Normington Foundation for a unique facility for children with multiple complex needs.
Mr Alston said it was “inspiring” to see the planned Haven Centre “emerge from the ashes as a beacon for the future provision of compassionate care in the Highlands”.
The Press and Journal revealed on Monday that a major new fundraising drive was being launched to raise £3.2million for the project over the next 18 months.
Details of the vision went on display for parents and professionals at a drop-in exhibition at Drummond School yesterday, with members of the public invited to view them at Smithton Free Church today.
The project has long been the dream of Elsie Normington, who is based at the Merkinch Community Centre and is chairman of the foundation.
She has a 32-year-old son, Andrew, who has multiple complex needs.
The Haven Centre will feature a specialist play centre, and it will be linked to a community cafe, as well as an outdoor play centre, garden, and office space.
Mr Alston said: “The Haven Centre is a shining example of the passion there is in our communities to provide support for all Highland children and their families.
“On a personal note, my mother was a resident of Culloden Court Nursing Home when it burned down and it is inspiring to see the Haven Centre emerge from the ashes as a beacon for the future provision of compassionate care in the Highlands.”