New homes will meet the needs of an ageing population
"This will be a place where people will want to live."
Chan Kataria, emh group Chief Executive
Work has started on a new housing scheme that will combine quality self-contained homes with on site care and support for older people in Blaby.
The £7.8 million scheme, named Oak Court, is being developed by emh group, an affordable housing provider in the area, and built by Westleigh in partnership with Leicestershire County Council and Blaby District Council.
It includes fifty one- and two-bedroomed flats and a range of communal spaces and facilities where tenants can interact with one another and with the wider community. There will be a hairdressers, café, cinema room, ‘spa’, library, and arts and crafts spaces.
The flats will be spacious and flexible, so they can adapt to residents’ changing needs, and the design includes a generous amount of semi-private and communal outdoor space. Crucially, residents who require extra care will have 24 hour access to a team of on-site care professionals.
Chan Kataria, Chief Executive of emh group said:
“People’s attitudes to the kind of homes they want to live in in older age have changed. Unfortunately, housing that caters for this age group has remained fairly static and we now have many outdated, inappropriate housing schemes in the region that older people just don’t want to live in.
“Oak Court is an exemplary partnership project that will integrate housing, health and care to improve quality of life for people over 55. It will be a place where people will want to live. Where residents can maintain their independence, safe in the knowledge that help is available if and when they need it.”
The scheme comes on the back of a national drive to integrate housing, health and care to better meet the needs of an ageing population. In Leicestershire, where there is a shortage of this kind of accommodation, the number of people over 65 and living alone is expected to rise from 43,300 in 2011 to 76,600 by 2030 - a 63% increase in under 20 years.
Mr Kataria went on to explain: “We need up-front investment in schemes like this if we are to meet the needs of our ageing population. And we know this kind of investment has wider pay-offs, including savings in public expenditure. Appropriate housing with support is shown to cut down on hospital admissions and reduce visits to GP surgeries, for example. We hope this is the first of many for the region.”
Gary Turner, Head of Investment and Partnerships at Westleigh, commented: “We are very proud to be part of this innovative and important project which will provide high quality housing to support the ongoing needs of older people in the Blaby area.
“We have worked hard to provide an excellent quality build, ensuring that the project has been built to Lifetime Homes standards and that it adheres to industry guidelines. The facilities are also being built using our own eco-friendly timber frame, called Westframe, which is a highly energy efficient product.
The scheme constitutes a wider investment into the Blaby community. Local labour is being used for the project and Westleigh will be providing on-site training opportunities, including hands-on experience, for four apprentices, as well as a trainee surveyor.”
Dave Houseman, Leicestershire County Council’s Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, said:
“We are very pleased that this new purpose-built Extra Care scheme is being built in the county and will provide homes with care and support for some of the older members of our community. There has been some excellent partnership working to reach this stage and we are committed to continuing this in the future.”
Leader of Blaby District Council Ernie White said:
“This scheme is the result of some excellent partnership work between emh group, Westleigh Developments, the County Council, and ourselves. We are extremely happy that this new Extra Care scheme will be built within our district, providing much needed independence, care and support for our ageing population.”
The extra care scheme forms part of a larger project of 96 homes being built by Westleigh for emh group in Winchester Road, Blaby, and will be completed in Spring 2015.