Case Study: Omega Elifar, Young Adult Learning Difficulties


Empowerment is at the heart of Elifar’s ethos. When they needed a new kitchen, they wanted a space that could be accessible to everyone. Steelplan had the solution.

Empowerment is at the heart of Elifar’s ethos as a care home for young adults with learning difficulties. When the management team started looking for a new kitchen for their Forest Road premises, they knew they wanted a space that could go above and beyond the usual capabilities of a care home kitchen. They needed a kitchen where residents could get involved and safely take part in kitchen activities: an inclusive space that empowered the people in their care.

They turned to Steelplan Kitchens to create a safe, hard-wearing space that felt welcoming to residents and workers alike. Vanessa Read tells us about the results.

The brief
The kitchen at Omega Elifar Forest Road is used to prepare all of the food for residents, but is also used by residents as a space to learn cookery and home-living skills. Although the kitchen is a controlled space, it still needed to meet safety and accessibility requirements to be an inclusive area.

“All of our residents are young people with learning difficulties, in their late teens and early twenties. They can put the kitchen through some heavy use sometimes!” explains Vanessa. “I was looking for a robust kitchen, with lockable cupboards, but I didn’t want a clinical looking commercial model. It had to look like a kitchen you or I would have at home – because this is home for everyone here – but it did still need to be able to take more wear and tear than your average B&Q build.”

Steelplan solution
As with any care home kitchen, safety is a priority. “It’s not an ‘open’ kitchen, it’s very much controlled, but we do a lot of activities there with our residents,” says Vanessa. “Chris King [the Steelplan designer who worked on the project] was very helpful in this respect, especially when it came to choosing what appliances and doors would work for us.”

End result
"The kitchen we have now is virtually indestructible, and more cheerful than your average commercial kitchen," says Vanessa. "We actually have quite a few more Steelplan Kitchens lined up to install in our other residential homes and communal kitchens at our independent living blocks."

Vanessa and the staff at Elifar feel that a kitchen can really be the heart of a care home, and having a space that can be used by everyone is hugely beneficial. “We do a lot of kitchen activities and cooking sessions with our residents. It’s something that a lot of care providers are trying to do more of.

"I would say that the more kitchens in care homes are fit for the purpose of the people using them, the more homes will encourage everyone to get involved in the kitchen without worrying about wear and tear."

We offer a free kitchen consultation to care home managers. To find out how Steelplan can help you create a safe but inclusive kitchen environment in your care home, call us on 0844 809 9186.


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