Today (Friday) marks 25 years of service at Shinwater Court – which was formally opened by Princess Diana on May 30 1989.
The opening of Shinewater Court in Eastbourne was a very important landmark in The Disabilities Trust’s history. It was the second purpose-built service commissioned by The Trust, developed to meet increasing demand for provision for people with severe, multiple and complex disabilities.
Work started on Shinewater Court in 1986. The development was built as a quadrangle and comprised bungalows, flats and bed-sitting rooms for up to 30 adults, and had been made possible by the generous support of the Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust.
Progress was unexpectedly hampered by the great storm of 1987 when the roof was about to be placed on. So great was the demand for the service that the staff had to sift through more than 300 applications for residency at the service in order to select the 30 service users.
Princess Diana was given a full tour of Shinewater Court when she opened it and met with many service users and members of staff, as well as visiting the flats and treatment rooms. Twenty-five years later Shinewater Court continues to support people with severe, multiple and complex disabilities. Some of the greatest changes over the years have been the introduction of assistive technology and communications, enabling service users to live as independent a lifestyle as possible. All rooms have an intercom system, digital televisions, profiling beds and overhead electronic hoists. There is also eye tracking computer equipment as well as the latest WiFi networking hardware. This promotes independence, maximises individual choice and aids communications.