WORK on building the new Eric Gray Resource Centre got under way on Monday as council representatives, current users and contractors DITT met at Lerwick’s Seafield for the ceremonial turf cutting.
Shetland islands Council is investing £6 million to provide a purpose built hub designed to cater for the needs of people with a wide range of learning disability, autistic spectrum conditions and complex support needs.
There was widespread relief on Monday that work on the long awaited replacement resource centre was finally getting under way.
The council’s depute convener Cecil Smith, who also chairs the integration joint board, described it as „fantastic” to see the project finally moving ahead.
„It’s been an aspiration of the council for many years now to replace the existing Eric Gray Centre with a more flexible, comfortable facility, and I’m very pleased the project has got to this stage,” he said.
He said individual needs of clients had been incorporated into the design of the new facility.
Different parts of the building can be used separately to ensure that people accessing services are able to mix and take part in activities with an appropriate peer group.
His delight was shared by parent carer Leslie Smith who said he was relieved to see this project getting started.
“This fit for purpose building will give a permanent place for young adults to transfer to from school, and be assessed and supported for their future needs.
“The location is safe and easy to access, and will allow carers to expand their daily routines, but, more importantly, give them peace of mind.”
The replacement Eric Gray Centre has been designed by Richard Gibson Architects.
The building will be single storey with a timber framed construction, with a mixture of larch and fibre cement cladding to the walls, and natural slate and polymeric membrane to the roof.
Contractor DITT has expects construction of the 1,770 squaremetre building to last 24 months.
Company director Peter Tait said: „We look forward to working closely with the architects, Shetland Islands Council and the staff of the Eric Gray Resource Centre to produce a facility that will bring a tangible benefit to the users.”