First Minister opens innovative learning centre designed for care users



The First Minister was joined by Glasgow Housing Association chair Gordon Sloan (left) and Loretto Care chair James Muir (right)
The First Minister was joined by Glasgow Housing Association chair Gordon Sloan (left) and Loretto Care chair James Muir (right)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has officially opened an innovative new learning centre designed to support people receiving care and support.

The Glasgow Southside MSP was given a guided tour of the Gorbals-based Academy and saw for herself how the facility’s special features encourage learning and discussion among staff at Loretto Care and the people they work for.

Loretto Care, part of Wheatley Group, provides personalised care and support to more than 2000 people each week, many of whom have particular learning and development needs.

The First Minister addresses attendees to officially open The Academy email: info@billflemingphotography.com mobile 07836 632 704
Ms Sturgeon addresses attendees to officially open The Academy

With a capacity to host up to 100 people, as well as much smaller groups, the Academy is made up of different learning zones which have been designed to give a relaxed and welcoming feel. It also has features such as special sensory lighting for people who are visually impaired, wide spaces for wheelchair users and a dementia-friendly colour scheme.

The learning zones, which can be taken apart or moved around to give maximum flexibility, include:

  • a horse-shoe shaped pod for presentations;
  • a standing pod where people can draw their thoughts and ideas on white walls;
  • an online learning suite;
  • two sound-proof circular meeting spaces; and
  • a corner break out area designed like a comfortable living room.

Ms Sturgeon enjoys the morning’s events at The Academy at Lipton House
The Glasgow Southside MSP enjoys the morning’s events at Lipton House

The new Academy in the Gorbals adds to Wheatley Group’s training and conference facilities which include the flagship Academy at Wheatley House in Glasgow city centre and smaller Academies in Bathgate and Dumbarton.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “I was delighted to be asked to open this fantastic facility and to meet some of the staff and the people they work for. This is an inspirational project and I was very impressed with the artwork, poetry and music which has already been created in this space.”

Wheatley Group’s modern apprentices convinced the First Minister to take a celebratory selfie
Wheatley Group’s modern apprentices convinced the First Minister to take a celebratory selfie

Loretto Care director Cathy Fallon said: “At Loretto we are all about supporting the people we work for to get the most out of their lives. The new Academy with its different areas and features creates a really informal and relaxing environment for people to engage in a wide range of activities, workshops and learning opportunities.

“The flexibility of the space means it is also ideal for training staff on a wide range of issues and for events with partners and stakeholders in the care sector. Board members will also be able to make use of the facility for their own continued professional development and for wider engagement with staff and the people we work for within the organisation. We look forward to welcoming all of these people to the Academy over the coming years and to having discussions with our local community regarding how they too can make use of the facility.”



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