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The Haven Centre officially opened

Published: 30/08/2023

Scotland’s first multi-purpose centre for children and young adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities was officially opened on Friday 25 August.

The Haven Centre is comprised of three respite flats for young adults up to the age of 30, an indoor specialist play centre with childcare facilities, a community café, meeting spaces, and an outdoor garden.

HIE awarded £250,000 for the project, which is run by the Elsie Normington Foundation in partnership SNAP Inverness. The foundation was set up in May 2013 to raise funds to build The Haven Centre and deliver its vision of giving children and young adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities in the Highlands and Islands the opportunity to lead a rich social life, access facilities where their needs are met and make new friends.

The Haven Centre will provide an inclusive, community space, where children and young people have opportunities to have fun, socialise, grow in confidence and develop. There will also be opportunities for training, work experience and education and where families can connect and feel supported.

James Turner, head of strengthening communities for HIE’s Inner Moray Firth team, said:

“It’s fantastic that after ten years of raising a phenomenal amount of support, the Haven Centre has become a reality. The centre, with its specialised play area, respite facilities and community café all under one site sets it apart from others and will make a huge difference to hundreds of families across the Highlands.

“New jobs will be created at the centre and it will support training and volunteer roles for young people and those with multiple disabilities to give them experience and skills. We are delighted to support the Elsie Normington Foundation on their journey to make this happen.”

Chair and Founder, Elsie Normington said:

“It is a dream come true seeing the Haven Centre vision become a reality. Over the past ten years we have received such tremendous support and we want to thank and recognise all of our donors, fundraisers, the local community and grant funders who helped us reach this momentous milestone in the charity’s history.

“We look forward to seeing many children, young adults and their families visiting and enjoying the Haven centre for many years to come! We are a small charity with big ambitions and will continue to develop and deliver new projects in the Highlands which will support local children and young adults with learning disabilities, and their parents and carers."

The Haven Centre opening was officially opened by Kate Forbes MSP and was attended by key supporters including representatives of the local community, funders, local politicians and councillors, service delivery partners and Foundation trustees and staff.


Picture credit - Ewen Weatherspoon