Pioneering new service to open by disability charity Sense

  • Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, visits £14 million ‘TouchBase Pears’ centre
  • Developed by the disability charity, Sense, the centre offers specialist services for people with complex disabilities and facilities for the wider community, including library and café
  • Inclusive centre is contributing to the regeneration of Selly Oak, creating over a hundred jobs and offering innovative solutions to social care

Developed by the national disability charity, Sense, TouchBase Pears will provide specialist provision for people with complex disabilities, including deafblindness, 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 for its development.

The project, planned since 2013, is considered a key part of the regeneration of Selly Oak. In addition to creating jobs and volunteering opportunities in the local area, it also provides a welcoming hub for wider community services, such as a café, arts and performance area, garden, office space 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 people’s needs. Sense will use the centre to run a number of specialist services, supporting people with complex disabilities to learn new skills, build confidence, develop communication skills and take part in community-based activities.

The centre cost £14 million to build, with investment from trusts and foundations, including the Pears Foundation and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

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 our Patron The Princess Royal.”

To find out more about the TouchBase Pears centre please visit: