Pioneering new service in Birmingham to officially open

TouchBase Pears, the new £14 million building in Selly Oak, will have its official opening on Monday 9 July, when it is visited by The Princess Royal, it was announced today.

Developed by the national disability charity, Sense, TouchBase Pears will provide specialist provision for people with complex disabilities, including deafblindness, as well as well as services for the wider community.

The charity’s Royal Patron will be special guest at the opening ceremony on Monday, also attended by supporters, business leaders and members of the public, taking a tour of the centre, and meeting those responsible its successful development.

The project, which took 18 months to complete, is considered a key part of the regeneration of Selly Oak. In addition to creating over a hundred jobs in the local area, it also provides a welcoming hub for wider community services, such as a café, arts and performance area, sensory garden and gallery.

The building’s fully-accessible design has been developed in consultation with children and adults with a wide range of disabilities to ensure it meets their needs. Sense will use the centre to run a number of specialist services, supporting people with complex disabilities to learn new skills, build their confidence, develop communication skills and take part in community-based activities.

The centre cost £14 million to build, with investment from various trusts and foundations, including over 700k from the Pears Foundation and £2.1m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund - a scheme to create sustainable employment across England.

Sense Chief Executive, Gill Morbey, said:

“TouchBase Pears is a new way of delivering social care services, leading the way for the rest of the voluntary sector and beyond.

With its focus not just on services, but arts and wellbeing, office space, library, café and rooted in the heart of the community, it shows Sense can work beyond the boundaries of social care.

TouchBase Pears is bringing people together and demonstrating how integration and inclusion can work in Birmingham, but its reach and impact will be much wider.”

TouchBase Pears Manager, Laura Benson, said:

“TouchBase Pears is quickly becoming an important community hub, with so much going on, including arts and sport, children’s library and a buzzing café.
We’re delighted to welcome The Princess Royal, this Monday.”

To find out more about the TouchBase Pears centre please visit: www.touchbasepears.org.uk