Affordable homes for people with learning disabilities start on site

70 specialist homes over four sites across Manchester will be created to help support people with learning disabilities live more independently.

More than £3million in grant funding has been provided by Homes England under their Shared Ownership and Affordable Housing Programme, along with investment through three partner housing providers – Great Places, Mosscare St Vincent’s and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group – to deliver the £12m development programme, which includes £3m capital investment by Manchester City Council. The registered providers will also manage the four schemes.

The project will provide 70 one-bed, self-contained apartments along with communal areas, sensory rooms, sensory gardens and a seven day-a-week on-site support team, and will be available to Manchester residents who have assessed support needs.

The high-quality developments will be wheelchair accessible and the accommodation will be easily adapted to meet a wide range of needs that may change over time.

This includes ‘knock through’ panels so hoists can be easily installed, wet rooms and assistive technology throughout, which can be easily changed depending on the needs of the resident. For example, this could include epilepsy sensors to trigger an alarm if a resident is fitting, or sensors to stop water if a shower or tap is left running.

Two of the sites (Northfield Road and Scout Drive) will provide replacement accommodation for a number of existing Council-owned learning disability properties, allowing people to move from their current shared housing – which doesn’t always meet their needs –  to the new independent living homes, with 24 hour support.

The first apartments will be available by summer 2019.

Cllr Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This is another success in our bids to access as much affordable homes funding from Homes England as possible, and will provide much-needed specialist accommodation that people with learning disabilities can access easily and afford. Government funding can be scarce for such properties but these new homes will make a real difference to people’s lives. “

Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester City Council’s executive member for adult health and wellbeing, said: “Too often people with learning disability needs find it difficult to access support accommodation – with the support they need on-site – close to their close family and friendship groups. This new accommodation offer is much needed additional capacity and an absolute priority for us to deliver and will provide the right type of  living space adapted to the needs of the individual.

“Spreading this new accommodation across the city will give people the opportunity to not only live more independently, safe in the knowledge that their support needs can be met close-by should they need help, but also close to their personal support networks – their family and friends.”

Matt Harrison, Chief Executive of Great Places, said: “Great Places Housing Group are thrilled to be part of a pioneering scheme working in partnership with two other Manchester based RP’s to provide much needed purpose built accommodation for adults with support needs across  Manchester. We are extremely pleased to have reached this pinnacle point of starting the construction of the schemes, which has demonstrated excellent partnership working between the RPs and the Council with the support of Homes England.”

Wythenshawe Community Housing Groups, Group Chief Executive Nigel Wilson said, “This is a great opportunity to address the gap in providing specialist accommodation for those most in need which as a result might become one of the hardest to reach groups due to lack of provision. These new bespoke built homes will provide much needed tailored accommodation for people with learning disabilities providing the first steps towards independence and enabling them to stay connected to family networks.  We are delighted to be working alongside and in partnership with Manchester City Council, Great Places and Mosscare St Vincent’s, in our common goal to provide affordable accessible housing working towards ending the housing crisis.”

Mosscare St Vincent’s Chief Executive, Charlie Norman, said: This type of development is exactly what is needed to overcome the lack of suitable homes for people with learning disabilities.  It means people can live independently in high quality accommodation with the support they need. I’m very happy Mosscare St Vincent’s is involved in this partnership with Manchester City Council, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Great Places; we all share similar values and ambitions; to serve our communities and deliver modern solutions to tackle housing shortages head-on.”

© Mike Poloway/+44(0)1618503338 / WCHG.  Project Launch, New Moston 190318