A new £6.6million affordable extra care housing scheme for older people has been officially opened in Thirsk.
Meadowfields, a Housing & Care 21 scheme, was officially opened on Friday December 4 with a ceremony attended by children from nearby Sowerby Primary School and representatives from North Yorkshire County Council and Housing & Care 21.
The scheme, in Chapel Street, is comprised of 52 self-contained, one and two-bedroom apartments, with support and care services on site. The homes are available for affordable rent, shared ownership or outright sale.
Meadowfields was built on the site of the council’s Cherry Garth home for elderly people by developer Keepmoat on behalf of Housing & Care 21, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Hambleton District Council. North Yorkshire County Council contributed £345,000 towards the cost and the Homes and Communities Agency contributed £730,000.
The scheme, which recently featured in a BBC television documentary about adult social care, also has a restaurant, a hair and beauty salon and a shop, all of which are open to the public. There is a guest bedroom and a courtyard garden and the scheme is also the new home of Thirsk library after it was relocated from Finkle Street earlier this year. Initial figures show the library is more used than ever with an increase in both memberships and book loans.
“This is an exciting step forward for Thirsk and its surrounding communities,” said County Councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration. “Meadowfields has got off to a flying start, with all of the apartments now occupied and more people keen to move here.
“High-quality Extra Care provision, such as this, gives people what they say they want – to live independent lives in their own homes, with more choice and control over their support, so they can remain part of their local communities for longer.
“The County Council is planning an Extra Care scheme for every major town and village in North Yorkshire and will have supported the development of 19 schemes across the County by the end of this year.”
Kris Peach, director of extra care at Housing & Care 21, said: “We’re delighted to launch these new much-needed affordable homes in Thirsk.
“These extra care apartments allow older people to maintain their independence and enjoy happy lives into old age. Residents have the benefit of having their own home as well as the ability to socialise with others and be part of a community. A care team is based on-site 24 hours a day and that gives residents and their families the peace of mind of knowing that support is there should they need it.
“As well as providing homes for older people, Meadowfields was also designed with all of the residents of Thirsk in mind. That’s why facilities like the restaurant and salon are open to everyone. Hosting Thirsk library is something we are also extremely pleased to be able to do.”
Siobhan Moore, head of development at Housing & Care 21, said: “This is a fantastic scheme of high-quality affordable housing for older people.
“We have worked very closely with Keepmoat and the local authority to deliver more affordable housing for the area and we are delighted to officially mark the completion of this project.”
The expansion of the multi-million pound Extra Care programme is part of the County Council’s ambitions for 2020 and beyond. Following a procurement exercise earlier this year, six organisations have been chosen to work in partnership with the County Council to build new schemes across the county.
Nathan Brough, Regional Director at Keepmoat, said: “In the last few years alone, we have worked with Housing & Care 21 to create high-quality housing developments in six different locations.
“Meadowfields in Thirsk is a perfect example of where our partnership has created much-needed purpose-built homes for older people.
“Housing and Care 21 is an organisation with values that are consistent with those of Keepmoat. We find them to be extremely friendly and easy to work with. One of the main reasons our partnership is so successful is that we take a real team approach and ensure that we communicate openly and effectively. We have regular team meetings to enable us to share best practice.
“As an organisation, Housing and Care 21 are very proactive and always open to new ideas and suggestions. We are proud of our long-term partnership with Housing and Care 21, and we look forward to continuing our successful relationship into the future.”