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High hopes for success at UK Housing Awards

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High hopes for success at UK Housing Awards

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Published by Sam Platt for Curo in Housing and also in Care and Support

The Bath Riverside scheme in Bath The Bath Riverside scheme in Bath

A sensitively-designed supported housing scheme for people with autism, and affordable homes at one of Bath’s biggest developments, have both reached the finals of the prestigious UK Housing Awards (UKHA).

The high-profile Bath Riverside development, which includes 121 new affordable Curo homes, is shortlisted for the Large Development of the Year category of the national awards, run by the Chartered Institute of Housing and Inside Housing magazine.

Meanwhile, Curo’s Willow House development in Midsomer Norton – a bespoke new-build scheme for young adults with autism and Asperger syndrome – is one of only a handful of schemes across the UK to make the finals of the Small Development of the Year category.

Curo colleagues are also celebrating reaching the finals in a third UKHA category – Business Transformation of the Year – which is awarded to organisations that are leading the way in responding to current challenges by transforming the way they are run.

Donna Baddeley, Curo’s Executive Director for Transformation & Business Improvement, said: “At Curo we have driven a massive programme of change and transformation through every part of our business. These changes are helping us to continue to build affordable homes like those at Bath Riverside and Willow House, and to extend our award-winning support services despite reduced external funding. These awards are like the Oscars for us, so making the finals in three categories is fantastic news.”

The affordable homes at the Bath Riverside development have been provided by Curo, developer Crest Nicholson, Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) Council and the Homes and Communities Agency. This successful partnership recently achieved silver in the What House? Awards’ Best Partnership category.

Curo has already invested £9.6m in Bath Riverside development, helping to tackle the serious shortage of affordable housing in the city. Curo has committed an additional £6.5m to the scheme with a further 55 affordable homes due for completion in this autumn.

Debbie Aplin, Managing Director of Crest Nicholson Regeneration said: “The Bath Riverside development is a really positive example of organisations working effectively together in what has been a difficult economic climate to create a new residential quarter which is providing homes for all sectors of the community. Curo and Crest Nicholson work closely with B&NES Council and local interest groups and the community in Bath to bring forward a fantastic scheme for the local area.”

At the other end of the scale, Willow House is the result of an innovative partnership between Curo, B&NES Council's Learning Difficulties Team and the National Autistic Society (NAS). The development consists of five individual one-bedroom flats, a communal lounge, and supported accommodation. The concept behind the scheme is to allow individuals with similar needs to live independently with a flexible support package.

Willow House residents say how much they enjoy having their own space and independence, with one young person commenting: “Living at Willow House gives me new experiences and more independence.”

Curo, architects Ingeniem, the NAS and the residents of Willow House all worked closely to design a building that is autism-friendly, with particular attention paid to aspects like lighting, noise and colour.

CIH chief executive Grainia Long said: “As ever, the quality of the entries we received this year is evident from the fantastic standard of the finalists.  I’d like to congratulate all of the organisations that have been shortlisted and wish them best of luck for the ceremony – win or lose their work will help inspire us all to improve‎."‎

Stuart Macdonald, Editor of Inside Housing, said: “The quality of the entries rose again this year so even to get this far is an amazing achievement. In the face of some really stiff competition, Curo has shown it is performing at the highest level - well done!”

The winners will be revealed at a ceremony at the Lancaster London Hotel on 29 April. The awards are sponsored by Campbell Tickell, H + H and Higgins.

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