Headlines: February 24th, 2005

Projects chosen as winning bids for the forty million pounds in the Extra Care Housing Fund this year will provide more than nine hundred new homes for older people and adults with learning disabilities across England, the Community Care Minister Stephen Ladyman has announced.A scheme in Hartlepool is the biggest winner under the scheme but in all there were 21 successful bids. For three of them the Housing Corporation has committed an additional 4,623,185 pounds in match funding. Fourteen bids will together provide 979 units of extra care housing in the council areas of Darwen, West Sussex, Wakefield, Cheshire, Bradford, Hartlepool, Darlington, North Yorkshire, Ealing, Derbyshire, Rotherham, Leicester and Plymouth. The other seven successful bids will improve communal facilities in existing sheltered housing and care homes so they can qualify as extra care housing. In all they will provide 259 extra care housing units.

Extra care housing supports independent living by providing older people with their own homes and with the care and support they need to meet their individual needs. The Extra Care schemes can provide 24-hour support, meals, domestic help and leisure and recreation facilities as well as a secure environment.

The largest award of 9.8 million pounds has gone to an Extra Care Retirement Village in Middle Warren, Hartlepool. It will include innovative features such as a neighbourhood park and a healthy living suite. The village will offer a mix of tenures, including rent, shared ownership and outright sale. The plan has been developed by Hartlepool Council, with the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, Hartlepool Primary Care Trust, North Tees Hospital Trust, and the Tees and North East Yorkshire Hospital Trust. The developers have involved older people in the planning and the project has been integrated with Hartlepool’s regeneration plans.

Stephen Ladyman said he wanted to see more schemes of the sort that had been successful in bidding for the Extra Care Housing fund. “I want to see councils working with health, and other partners, including the private sector, in promoting public health and working towards the well-being and inclusion of all citizens. I want to see more older and disabled adults enabled to contribute to and participate in their communities,” he said.

Councillor Robbie Payne, Hartlepool Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said the Middle Warren scheme would set a new standard for helping older people to lead independent lives in their own homes. The success of the bid was an exciting and important chapter in Hartlepool’s history of partnership-working.

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