Guild Care’s dementia home and centre celebrates ‘topping out’

PUBLISHED: 10:30 30 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:30 30 April 2014


Guild Care have celebrated a key milestone in the build of their new 60 bedroom dementia care home and wellbeing centre with an English twist on the traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony for St George’s Day.

The history of ‘topping out’ a new building can be traced back to the ancient Scandinavians, when the practice of placing a tree at the top of a new building would symbolise growth and good luck.

As the final beam was placed on the structure a few days earlier, Guild Care brought the celebrations down to earth in the grounds of the new home. Taking inspiration from St George’s Day, a Cox’s Orange Pippin tree, kindly donated by the local Haskins Garden Centre, was selected as a symbol of hope for people in our community to live well with dementia. The tree will be planted in the specially designed dementia-friendly gardens, delighting residents with blossom in the spring and delicious home-grown apples in the autumn. As part of the ceremony, the tree’s branches were dressed with wishes and happy memories from residents with dementia and those who attend Guild Care’s day services.

Worthing’s Mayor, Bob Smytherman, joined Guild Care’s directors, trustees and fundraisers to celebrate this important development in the campaign to make Worthing more dementia friendly. The event was also attended by Guild Care’s ‘Building a Home to Remember’ appeal patron Major Tom Wye and Jane Haviland-Webster, granddaughter of Guild Care’s founder, Edmund Haviland, whose name was chosen for the new home.

Guild Care’s Chief Executive, Suzanne Millard, said: ‘We are looking forward to launching Haviland House, our much-needed dementia care home and wellbeing centre in Durrington later this year. A great deal of work still lies ahead for all of us, but this is a key moment for the community to see how far we have come.’

Brian Bullock, Director of Building Construction Partnership said: ‘I would like to thank everyone at Guild Care for their approach to the design and development of Haviland House. It is rare that we are given the opportunity to bring together so many excellent features in one home.

The needs of people with dementia and their future care have been at the forefront of every decision and have allowed us to produce a design that not only exceeds all current expectations but is fully adaptable for the future care of people in Worthing. The long term value of the home will far exceed the current investment.’

Haviland House is a significant building which will be home to 60 residents and support hundreds more throughout their dementia journey. The £7.5 million project will herald a new era for dementia care in Worthing, encouraging those with dementia to live well in the community for as long as they are able, and offer a lifeline for carers and families with advice, guidance and support. The centre will provide opportunities to develop new partnerships, projects and services, as well as offering new job vacancies for those seeking a career in care.

Guild Care would like to thank BCP Contractors, McConvilles and all of the workers and tradespeople that are bringing the plans for Haviland House to life. Thanks to their hard work, the project is currently on schedule and is due to open towards the end of 2014.

To donate to the Building a Home to Remember Appeal, please visit

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