IRO heat enhanced architectural timber, developed by BSW Timber, was used to supply a ‘care cabin’ enabling a family to stay in their own home environment, avoiding the unnecessary stress of travelling to and from hospital, with their terminally ill son.

The bespoke pod came about following an appeal for help from Donna Mitchell, who reached out to local companies for support to create an appropriate care and respite space for her 6-year-old son, Reece, in which he could continue to receive the care he needs, at home.

Reece Mitchell from Inverness was diagnosed with a rare case of Batten disease, possibly the only case in the Highlands of Scotland.

Batten disease is a neurogenerative condition and there is currently no cure for the disease and therefore specialist symptom management and therapy are essential to assist in maintaining a good quality of life for children and their families.

Donna knew that their family home would soon not be suitable for Reece’s ongoing care. The need for an easily accessible space, which offered plenty of room to care for Reece and hold all of his belongings, became increasingly apparent.

She said: “It started as a pipe dream at first about having a purpose-built pod in the garden to care for Reece, but I went on the internet and contacted lots of companies and the only one who came back to me was Carbon Dynamic in Invergordon.

“Matt from Carbon Dynamic came out and drew up plans for a cabin connecting onto the house and designed it to take into account all the specialist equipment that we’ll need.”

Matt Stevenson, director at Carbon Dynamic, commented: “Donna contacted us, and we were eager to get involved. This project had a purpose and that was to help Reece.”

Forestry Journal:

Carbon Dynamic design and manufacture timber modular buildings using locally sourced and sustainable materials.

Matt added: “When designing the pod, we looked at all the different design aspects and wanted to source a material that was high quality, low maintenance and easy to maintain but also striking. IRO Timber was the perfect product for the job.”

Carbon Dynamic contacted IRO Timber to ask if they could collaborate and contribute in any way possible to this worthy project.

James Brennan, marketing manager at IRO Timber, said: “This was a great project for IRO to get involved with. It’s a heart-warming project and we are happy we could help and give back to such a brave and deserving young boy.

“Using IRO in build projects offers an added level of protection via its different surface treatments, and also aids the finished look with a beautiful enhanced grain appearance. We are delighted that this mix of practicalities and aesthetic enhancements could bring joy and support to a local family.”

Donna said: “As Reece’s mum my biggest fear is that I don’t want Reece to die in hospital, I want him to be at home where he should be.

“With the help of Highland Hospice and the community nurses, it means I will be able to care for Reece at home.”

The pod was delivered to the Mitchell household in late February and Donna said they were “over the moon to finally have a dedicated area for Reece’s belongings”.

The family hope that the care cabin, which has a shelf-life of up to 100 years, could be used by others in the future; offering an opportunity to other families, like the Mitchells, to avoid lengthy hospital commutes and provide the most comfortable environment for a loved one, at their own home.