Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham MP joined City West Housing Trust in launching a new extra care facility that will change the way health and housing services are delivered to vulnerable people in Salford.
Mr Burnham joined staff and customers from the landlord at the official launch of the Amblecote Gardens facility in Little Hulton, which has been designed to help to build better relationships between vulnerable residents, essential care and wellbeing services and the wider community.
The facility is the first extra care scheme to be built in Salford since 2009, and is the first in the country to be developed using the new Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund – which was established to encourage the construction of more facilities for vulnerable people.
"Amblecote Gardens is a great example of the kind of facilities that we need to deliver so we can continue to provide first-class care and support for people living in communities across the country,” said Mr Burnham, who planted a tree to mark the launch of the facility.
“By improving links between health services and housing provision we can ease the pressure on the NHS and local care providers, and help people live independent lives for longer.
“Housing associations, like City West, are playing a major role in delivering a new approach to housing for elderly and vulnerable people that will have a lasting impact on their health.”
Amblecote Gardens will provide 66 state-of-the-art apartments for customers in need of an easy-to-manage and secure home, and has been built using £1.45 million of funding from the Department of Health and the Homes and Communities Agency.
With £4.7 million of cuts to be made to adult services in Salford, City West hopes the facility will provide a lifeline for an increasing number of people, and their families, forced to spend weeks in hospital because they are no longer able to live independently in their own homes.
Dorothy Worthington, from Walkden, will be amongst the first residents to move into the new centre.
The 84-year-old, who has diabetes and struggles with mobility issues, has lived in supported accommodation for 20 years since her husband passed away, and is looking forward to life in her new home.
Dorothy’s daughter Jean Kelly, 58, says care homes like Amblecote Gardens are essential to support people as they get older.
She said: “Most people want to stay in their own home for as long as they can, but there comes a time when that is no longer possible.
“We need more schemes like this to make sure that older generations have a secure place to live.
“My sister and I both work, so we can’t be around 24/7 to look after our mum. Knowing that she is in a place where she can maintain her independence, but also provides access to support whenever she needs it is really important to us.
“She says the care home is like a five star hotel, and I know that she is looking forward to having her meals cooked on site by a chef.”
City West spent three years developing its plans for Amblecote Gardens, and has based the design on the principals of Intentional Communities – which has seen the extra care scheme integrated into the surrounding neighbourhood.
The facility will be surrounded by a mix of more than 100 new family homes, putting it at the heart of a newly created community and giving residents easy access to key facilities such as shops, a library, GP services, and a pharmacy, while also ensuring they can draw on the support of neighbours when necessary.
The scheme will also have its own hairdressers and café, both of which will be open to the public encouraging more interaction between residents and their neighbours.
Colette McKune, Deputy Chief Executive at City West, said: “With an aging population and health and support services already stretched, facilities like Amblecote Gardens will be essential in ensuring that we can help our most vulnerable customers maintain independent and happy lives.
"The scheme will sit right at the heart of our brand new community, and will help break down barriers between the residents at the facility and their neighbours.
“As more people are cut off from their families in their old age, we are asking the community to join us in stepping in and filling that gap, offering help and support to those who need it, and making the residents of Amblecote Gardens an integral part of the neighbourhood.
“By helping tackle major issues such as isolation and loneliness we can relieve pressure on the NHS and services provided by the local authority.”
Amblecote Gardens has been built for 21st Century living and offers round-the-clock tailored support, a team of chefs providing healthy and delicious meals prepared at the facility and on-site security to ensure peace of mind for both residents and their families.
The care home will boast a number of features specifically included to support residents with dementia, such as a specially designed colour and artwork scheme that will help residents find their way around the building and identify their apartments.
A sensory garden featuring noise-producing water fountains and specially scented flowers is also being built to encourage regular sleep patterns and reduce depression and anxiety by providing a calming environment.