Coronavirus: 'Paralympics birthplace' turned into care centre

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Stoke Mandeville StadiumImage source, Google
Image caption,
Stoke Mandeville Stadium hosted competitions that later became the Paralympic Games

A disability sports complex known as the birthplace of the Paralympic Games is to become a care centre during the coronavirus pandemic.

Parts of Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Buckinghamshire will be used to look after up to 240 vulnerable adults.

They will include hospital patients no longer needing acute care and people who can no longer be cared for at home.

Buckinghamshire Council said the centre would free up hospital beds for critically ill patients.

The centre will open on 6 April, having been transformed in three weeks.

On-site accommodation at the centre's Olympic Lodge has been converted, along with several other buildings.

'Safe place to go'

Angela Macpherson, the council's cabinet member for adult social care, said: "Not only are we freeing up beds in hospitals which can be used to care for critically ill patients, we are also ensuring that our most vulnerable residents have a safe place to go where they will be cared for.

"They will be away from the danger of infection in hospital and under the care and supervision of a team of specialist staff."

Visitors will not be allowed at the centre, which is appealing for volunteers with health and social care backgrounds to join its team.

Stoke Mandeville is known as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, as it was where neurologist Sir Ludwig Guttmann organised the first competition for patients with spinal injuries in 1948.

Four years later, competitors from Holland took part and the competition grew into the modern Paralympic Games.

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