Celebrations as the Elsie Normington Foundation awards contract to build pioneering Haven Center for youth with complex needs in the Highlands; Compass Building and Construction Services will start work next month

Elsie Normington (right) celebrates with families and the entrepreneur at the Smithton site. Photo: Gary Anthony.

Christmas has come early for supporters of an ambitious plan to develop Scotland’s first multi-purpose center for young people with learning disabilities and complex needs.

The contract for the construction of the long-awaited Haven Center in Inverness has now been awarded, paving the way for work to start on the site in January.

Compass Building and Construction Services has been appointed by the Elsie Normington Foundation to lead the £ 4.1million project at a site in Murray Road, Smithton.

Construction is expected to take about a year.

When complete, the center will include three two-bedroom respite apartments for young adults up to age 30, a specialized indoor play center with babysitting services, a community cafe, meeting spaces and an outdoor garden. .

Elsie Normington with Julia Jorge.
Elsie Normington with Julia Jorge.

Elsie Normington, President of the Elsie Normington Foundation, was delighted to have taken a significant step forward in the project after eight long years of fundraising.

“At the start of this year our hopes were positive to reach this stage, so finishing the year at this level is just a dream come true,” she said.

“Awarding this contract marks an important step in our journey to build the Haven Center, which is not only indispensable but will change the lives of children and young adults with severe learning disabilities and their families.

“This would not have been possible without the support of our generous fundraisers and donors, and I personally want to thank everyone who has helped us on our journey so far.

“We are excited to start on site and look forward to working with Compass Building and Construction Services on this innovative project in the New Year. “

Thom Macleod, of Compass.
Thom Macleod, of Compass.

A delighted Thom Macleod, managing director of Compass Building and Construction Services, said that as a local independent contractor, this is a significant award that will support local jobs and apprenticeships.

“We are well aware of the hard work that has been invested by the various members of the board of directors and trustees over the years since the founding of the foundation through site identification, land assembly and fundraising efforts, ”he said.

“The start of construction is just another important step on the road to achieving what will be a modern, industry-leading development that will change the lives of all users of the facility.

“Not only will the Haven Center be a great facility for daytime use, but the provision of the respite housing element is a fantastic asset to the individuals, families and caregivers who will benefit from its construction.

“As a Highland-centric company, our involvement in the project fits well with our strong sense of corporate social responsibility, and we look forward to working closely with the foundation and their designers to play our role. in achieving goals and aspirations. of the client, its design team and other associated stakeholders.

He said it was the latest in a series of awards strengthening the company’s association with the third sector through charitable and community projects.

He added: “However, the positive contribution that the construction of buildings will make for the local community and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland at large is greater.”

Thom MacLeod of Compass shares the good news with Ellis Tattersall.
Thom MacLeod of Compass shares the good news with Ellis Tattersall.

The project will support around 50 jobs during the construction phase.

The Elsie Normington Foundation was established as a charity in May 2013 to raise funds to build the Haven Center and earlier this year achieved its fundraising target of £ 4million.

The project has received support from the Scottish Government, the Big Lottery Fund and the Highland Council.

Ongoing fundraising continues through the Elsie Normington Foundation to support operational costs and improve services at the Haven Center, which will help address a shortage of respite and accessible services for children and youth adults with severe, profound and multiple learning disabilities and complex needs in the Highlands and Islands.

Scottish government approves £ 1.75million funding for new center

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