We’ve renovated and refurbished a £1.8 million former Convent of the Holy Name completely transforming it into a state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility in Oakwood, Derby.

The Georgian building’s interior has a new wing of en suite bedrooms, a modern kitchen for residents, and the chapel has been repurposed into a discussion and break-out room.  

The centre, due to open at the end of October, will be run by the charity and housing association Phoenix Futures, which helps vulnerable individuals recover from drug and alcohol addiction. 

The nuns who previously inhabited the convent left in May last year for a new home in Yorkshire. The community had been in the Derby suburb for more than 30 years.  

Trish Topliss, one of our associate directors, worked closely with Phoenix Futures and a number of stakeholders, including health commissioning teams and service users, on the refurbishment - her first completed project since joining the agency’s building consultancy team earlier this year. 

Trish said: “It’s been exciting to see this beautiful building develop and take shape over the last few months. The fact that it is around 300 years old means there were some unique obstacles to overcome in dealing with the Georgian architecture. Some modern installations, such as the electrics, had to be approached with extra care. 

“Our team of experts worked diligently to ensure the project was delivered on time and to the highest standard. I’m so glad we’ve been able to step in and help stop it from falling into disrepair after its previous tenants sadly left last year. 

“I think that the nuns from the Community of the Holy Name would be glad to see that their home has had its life extended and has been converted into a place for healing.” 

The new rehabilitation centre has 38 private rooms, with a team of staff supporting residents with their psychological and social needs, said James Armstrong, Phoenix Futures’ director of marketing and innovation. 

James said: “Everyone has potential to make change. This residential service is designed for people who have struggled to access treatment and make the changes they desire in the community. It is one of the only residential facilities to offer support for drug, alcohol and mental health needs on one site.

“For the last decade residential treatment services have been closing due to lack of funding. This will be the first since the new drug strategy was introduced last year to address the inequality of access for people with more complex needs.  

“We will work with partners to provide therapeutic support on a one-to-one and group basis, with professional support workers, to help reduce the blame and shame there can be around addiction.  

“Residents will be encouraged to support each other and to develop their living skills by being involved in running some aspects of the building, working together as a self-supported community to achieve positive results.” 

James added: “The building had lots about it that was really promising and it had previously been used as a care facility - but it still needed work. 

“We are grateful to Innes England’s careful work on the project. Everything has been designed with residents in mind - it includes a psychologically-informed layout and awareness of accessibility needs as well as separate male and female areas.  

“We are now planning the final preparations to offer an outstanding quality of service so that the people who come here can go on to have happy, healthy lives.”