Cumbria's unique extra care scheme officailly opened
Published by 24publishing for Eden Housing Association Limited in Housing and also in Communities, Education, Environment, Health, Local Government
celebrating the official opening
Wednesday 11th July at 1.30pm was the official opening of the unique Extra Care Scheme in Carlisle which was built at a cost of £9+ million. Guests included development partners and residents who have now moved in to the scheme, as well as the Mayor of Carlisle Cllr David Wilson. It was officially opened by Chris and Charm Robson – a couple from St Bees who ran the London Marathon for their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
The scheme named Heysham Gardens and Heysham Meadows, is the first of its kind in the county and saw over £9 million of investment in Carlisle’s Belle Vue ward situated in the west of the City. Spearheaded by developers Eden Housing Association, Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council and NHS Cumbria, there are now 60 new homes - almost all the properties are occupied or recently sold – leaving only four houses for sale and rent.
Heysham Gardens and Heysham Meadows is now a vibrant and active community that promotes choice and independence for older people, and those with a disability or support need. The communal facilities include a library, café, computer facilities, therapy areas, activity rooms and communal gardens. The Eden Housing Association community development team works closely with residents who have regular events and outings.
The project, backed by £4.7m Department of Health funding is described as a jewel in the crown for Cumbria. Its success so far can be measured by the residents living here and it has already courted attention from a health select committee at Westminster as efforts nationally focus on older people in their own homes.
Henry Barker, Chair of Eden Housing Association said “We believe firmly that people should be entitled to live their lives as independently as possible, with their own front door and discreet care services available when needed. This scheme delivers just that and it is the grant funding from the department of Health and our partnership with Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council, Cumbria NHS and our construction team that has made this happen. We are proud of this innovative scheme which embraces numerous environmental features including a ground source heat pump, solar power and a sedum roof - but the focus throughout the process has always been on the needs of our future residents.
It is now a year since residents first started moving in and we have a strong community spirit and lots of example of how the scheme has improved their quality of life. The official opening gives our partners the opportunity to see the finished scheme and meet the people who live here.”
Cllr James Airey, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet member for adult social care, said: "Heysham Gardens is a key part of our aspiration to support the development of high quality and well designed accommodation which allows older people to live independently in local communities for longer. People are telling us that they want to continue to live independently for as long as possible as they get older, and this development is a great example how we can support people to do this."
The Mayor of Carlisle, Councillor David Wilson, said “We are delighted that Heysham Gardens is ready for new residents, creating unique homes set in a caring community. The partnership has turned the concept of Extra Care Housing into a reality and we should all be very proud of this regeneration success. It is the way forward for us.”
Speaking on behalf of the residents, Edna Kane, Chair of the Residents Association said “We love life here and are proud to show people around our community. Some of us have more independence now than we have had for years and it is reassuring to know there is a great team on hand when we need a bit of help. Companionship is very important and the café has become a great hub for meeting up and for social events.”
The scheme was officially opened by Chris and Charm Robson who ran the London marathon to raise money for Alzheimers Research for their Golden Wedding Anniversary. They said “Looking round this morning at the finished project, we are struck by the quality of the building, the clever use of space and the way that the gardens add to the enjoyment of those lucky enough to be living here. We now look to the residents of the future, couples looking for somewhere that they can be together rather than being forced apart, children looking for somewhere that Mum can get the support that will keep her in her own home. They are not here today, so we stand in their shoes to say to the thinkers and the planners and the doers who have worked to make this day possible…thank you all.”
To mark the occasion Chris and Charm were presented with a cheque for their chosen charity by Eden Housing Association and the residents organised a tombola to raise even more funds for the couples chosen charity. Residents also presented with a gift from Eden Housing Association – a sun dial for their communal gardens. The ceremony was followed by a tour of resident’s homes and the facilities and concluded with afternoon tea in the café.
Key facts: The flagship scheme incorporates many environmental features and high-spec communal facilities, serving as a real community hub. The development has 60 new homes for outright sale, shared ownership and rent and are all designed to accommodate flexible care needs.
- Work started on site 10th August 2009 to build 40 apartments & 20 bungalows/houses
- Designed as “Lifetime Homes” allowing them to be easily adapted to reflect the current or changing needs of the occupier.
- Built to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3
- The scheme includes large attenuation tanks, timber frames, a ground source heat pump, solar panels highly efficient heating systems and a sedum roof
- The first residents started moving in 18th July last year
- There are now only one or two properties left for sale. (With difficult economy the success of the sales has been remarkable – highlighting the need for extra care accommodation in the area.)
- Communal gardens encourage local wildlife, native plants and sensory features: residents can touch, smell, feel and hear as well as enjoy looking at the gardens.
- Heysham Café provides meals all day every day and is open to the public
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