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States and GHA plan for more supported living facilities

States and GHA plan for more supported living facilities

Wednesday 15 December 2021

States and GHA plan for more supported living facilities

Wednesday 15 December 2021

There are plans for another housing development dedicated to adults with learning difficulties who want to live more independently.

The Guernsey Housing Association and two States' committees - Health & Social Care and Employment & Social Security - will jointly fund the development at L'Islet in St. Sampson's.

If the Development & Planning Authority gives permission, the new site - called La Vieille Plage - will provide accommodation for 14 adults. 

Sandy hook map

Pictured: The proposed new development would be at Sandy Hook at L'Islet. 

Those behind the plans say they are vital to "enable high-quality supported living facilities to be delivered in a very cost-effective manner".

The project is based on a previous development near the Vale Douzaine known as Le Vieux Jardin. Alongside La Nouvelle Maraitaine, it is part of a network of housing and small businesses created as a community for older adults and those who need some support to live independently. 

That was a public/private sector partnership designed for adults with autism. Proposers of the new project say that the previous project is considered "the benchmark standard for health and social care residential accommodation". They also hope there will be other similar joint-venture developments over the coming years to satisfy the demand for such accommodation. 

Mandy Mackelworth, Adult Disability Service Manager, says she has seen first-hand the success of the original development.  

Les Vieux Jardin

Pictured: Les Vieux Jardin, at La Nouvelle Maraitaine, was the first development in the island offering independent living for adults with learning difficulties. 

"The development at Le Vieux Jardin has been a resounding success for those who live there, their families and staff and we aspire to similar facilities for all those with learning disabilities and/or autism currently living in residential care," said Mrs Mackelworth. 

"Developments such as this are all about supporting people to live as independently as possible. People will have privacy, choice and care in an environment tailored to meet their physical needs and facilitate individuality.

"They will have their own living spaces that they may personalise as they like. They will be able to invite family and friends for a cup of tea in their own lounge and choose what they want to watch on TV. When they wish, they can spend time in appropriately-designed communal areas.

"These are basic needs which most of us take for granted but are presently limited due to the environment in which people are living."

Prospective future residents of the proposed development at Sandy Hook and similar potential projects currently live in a range of settings, including former private homes, an old hospital ward and a converted GP surgery. Physical layouts such as corridor widths and room sizes are incompatible with modern equipment needs.

The Committee for Health & Social Care says the proposed new development would be purpose-built to allow safe and effective levels of care, including access to manual handling equipment such as ceiling track hoists, and there would be level access throughout. It would also feature communal areas, including outside spaces, designed to be accessible to all.

Deputy Al Brouard, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care, said the proposed accommodation would improve many people's lives.

"We are committed to bringing all our residential accommodation up to acceptable modern standards and have taken a creative and collaborative approach to funding this development, working alongside the Committee for Employment & Social Security and the Guernsey Housing Association," said Deputy Brouard.

"This is just the type of innovation we need to bring about timely improvements to these people’s lives."

The Guernsey Housing Association would own, develop and maintain the site. Health and social care staff would provide care and support. The Association would receive a rental income from residents, funded through their entitlement to financial assistance provided by the Committee for Employment & Social Security.

Al Brouard Peter Roffey

Pictured: Deputy Al Brouard (left) and Deputy Peter Roffey (right) and their Committees - Health & Social Care and Employment & Social Security - have worked together and in partnership with the Guernsey Housing Association to develop the proposals for more supported living accommodation.

Deputy Peter Roffey, President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, said: "We very much welcome the further roll-out of this tried and tested model which enables people to hold their own tenancy with a package of support from Health and Social Care or other care services.

"It is cost-effective for the States and equally importantly gives these individuals more of a sense of control in where they live. 

"The development shows that our partnership with the Guernsey Housing Association goes wider than standard social housing, partial ownership and key worker accommodation. The Committee for Employment & Social Security takes its responsibility to those with special needs very seriously indeed, which is why, despite the current shortage of general housing, we have agreed to prioritise the use of this site for this vital purpose."

Steve Williams, Chief Executive of the Guernsey Housing Association, said the Association is pleased "to be assisting the States to provide this much-needed accommodation helping to improve people’s lives".

"In partnership we are all using our skills and experience to produce a great outcome for the island," he said.

The planning application for the development states that it would "significantly improve the quality of life for 14 adults with learning disabilities". 

"The new development has been designed to reduce the impact on the surrounding area. If planning permission is granted, work will start to build a number of self-contained one-bedroom flats. Everyone living there will have access to care and support all day and all night. The site will also have communal areas and a sensory room where people can socialise together or be involved in therapeutic activities."

The Association intends to go out to tender for the construction of the development in the New Year and, if planners approve the application, aims to break ground by September 2022.

Pictured (top): An impression of the proposed new development at Sandy Hook at L'Islet.

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