Family-run care business opens its ‘happy place’ in Barnsley

Alison Little of Bridge Medical Solutions

A care company has moved to Barnsley and opened a new day centre to help young adults with disabilities live independent and fulfilling lives.

Bridge Medical Solutions provides care and support for adults with physical or learning disabilities, neurological disorders or acquired brain injuries.

Formerly based in Rotherham, it has taken on premises at Redbrook Business Park, Wilthorpe Road, in Barnsley for its office, as well as a new suite of recreation, education and therapy rooms, called ‘The Bridge’.

The care company has been helping people of all ages live independently in their own homes and communities since 2012, but this is the first time it has opened a day centre. The accessible new facility is particularly focused on supporting young adults by providing a place to socialise, develop their skills and get involved in running things too.

Founder and director Alison Little said: “We’ve only been open a couple of weeks and it is already a ‘happy place’. Our ethos is all about helping the people we support to follow their interests and reach their potential. We’re a family-run business and our staff, volunteers and clients are all part of that family. We’d love more people to join us.”

Alison founded her care business after struggling to find good support for her son James who is on the autistic spectrum and had complex needs as a young man. She set up the company to help him, and others like him, to live independent and fulfilling lives. James, now aged 28, works for Alison handling the company’s HR work.

Alison said: “I remember the stress of trying to find good support for James. I felt isolated and frustrated that I couldn’t find the opportunities I knew would help him reach his potential.

“We want to reach out to more people and families in that position now. Our day unit is a positive space where young people can come to get out of their own homes, socialise and achieve whatever it is they want to achieve.”

One client at The Bridge is developing his skills as a DJ, another is pursuing her modelling ambitions and a third plays an active role in running the service in ‘meet and greet’ and administration roles. South Yorkshire Police Service also regularly calls on the expertise of The Bridge’s service users to help officers understand better how to engage with people with physical or learning disabilities.

Alison, who previously worked in the prison service and women’s mental health services, said: “We want everyone who comes to the centre to feel comfortable, safe, confident and to go home feeling good about themselves.”

Full-time paid care jobs and volunteer opportunities are being created as part of the move. And, the company is seeking new referrals to The Bridge from social care professionals, care organisations and families.

Bridge Medical Services’ new centre includes craft and creativity facilities, social areas and private consultation rooms. A sensory relaxation room is also being developed. Regular events include karaoke, bingo and quizzes.

Cllr Tim Cheetham, Barnsley’s Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Bridge Medical Solutions to Barnsley. They provide such an excellent service to their clients and we hope their new day centre will enable more people to benefit from joining their team as employees, volunteers or service users.”

Enterprising Barnsley, the business support arm of Barnsley Council, aims to help businesses across the borough develop and expand; generating economic growth and creating jobs.

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