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Formal opening of new Family Assessment Centre at Willowdene Rehabilitation

Written by:
Alex Garmston
Posted On:
29th March 2021

Aico were delighted to formally open the brand-new Family Assessment Centre at Willowdene Rehabilitation on Thursday 25th March.


Managing Director for Aico, Neal Hooper, who sponsored the construction of the new centre, declared it open alongside Willowdene Rehabilitation Director Dr Matthew Home and High Sheriff of Shropshire Mrs Dean Harris, in an event streamed live through Aico TV.


Aico are proud to have supported Willowdene through their sponsorship of the development of the Family Assessment Centre, which features an activity area for families to spend time together, an assessment hub, meeting room and conference room, as well as a kitchen area. Neal comments “To be able to support such an inspiring organisation such as Willowdene in this way is a real privilege. It is vitally important to be giving back and doing good in the community, this centre will give mothers the opportunity to recommence relationships with their children.”


Dean Harris, High Sheriff of Shropshire, has been Aico’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partner throughout the last year and introduced Aico to Willowdene. She said “The work undertaken at Willowdene is simply exceptional, so to have an outstanding corporate partner like Aico working with them is really a win/win. The brilliant professional relationship which has blossomed has resulted in the building of this amazing facility, which will no doubt provide the ideal environment for positive family relationships to be nurtured. Attending the opening was definitely one of the highlights of my time as High Sheriff of Shropshire – I am very proud to be a part of it.”


Situated in the heart of West Mercia, Willowdene Rehabilitation provides an opportunity for lasting life transformation through a proven approach to rehabilitation that includes trauma-informed therapy, training, work experience and resettlement. At the heart of Willowdene’s mission is a commitment to ensure that students have access to interventions that will enable them to step into the life they were made for.


The Family Assessment Centre comes as the culmination of a number of years’ work for Willowdene; a high proportion of the women at Willowdene have children, but less than 2% have their children in their care, meaning most are in the social care system. With recognising how traumatic and painful this is for both mothers and children, the aim of the Family Assessment Centre is intervention and preventing generational cycles, to enable the cultivation and support of family relationships with the students of Willowdene. The new Family Assessment Centre will provide a warm, nurturing environment for contact visits, family therapy and help relationships to flourish.


Dr Matthew Home, Director of Willowdene Rehabilitation comments “Aico’s commitment to Willowdene has developed the organisation and enabled us to focus on delivering the much-needed interventions across the region. I believe Aico has been the springboard for Willowdene not only bringing it into the 21st century but strengthening the foundations for the future. The assessment centre will enable us to provide family and relationship programmes that provide solutions in the here and now and more importantly will enable us to break the generational effects associated with trauma, substance misuse and the criminal justice system.”


Aico pledged their support to Willowdene through their Corporate Social Responsibility programme and colleagues from across the UK have undertaken multiple volunteering days at Willowdene, assisting with a range of social enterprise activities including, landscaping, outdoor maintenance, resurfacing and painting and decorating at the 200-acre site.

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