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'Extra Care' housing projects given the 'green light'

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Wednesday 02 May 2012

The Housing and Health and Social Services Departments (HSSD) have been given final approval to work together with the Guernsey Housing Association (GHA) to build new purpose-built 'extra care' housing accommodation on the sites of Housing's current two residential care homes - Longue Rue House and Maison Maritaine.

This follows Treasury and Resources' consideration of a comprehensive business case outlining all the financial and other benefits of a change in the provision of accommodation and services for residents of existing care homes run by Housing and HSSD,

Announcing the approval, Housing Minister, Deputy Dave Jones, said:

"We are absolutely delighted that the projects have now been given the 'green light'. These proposals have been on the drawing board for a long time and it is fantastic finally to be able to get on with the job rather than just talk about what we intend to do. However, that we have been able to get to this stage has been down to meticulous planning and I want to thank everyone who's been involved. It's been a great team effort but now the really hard work begins."

The new 'extra care' housing will comprise of self-contained flats, communal lounges, a restaurant, activity rooms, hairdressing salon, and other complementary facilities on each site.

Health and Social Services Minister, Deputy Hunter Adam, said:

"These projects are fully in accord with our 2020 vision for the future of health and social care. We know the difference that 'extra care' housing can make to a person's health and well-being, and just like the Housing Department we want to move away from institutional models of care to more community-based housing with care and support options. These projects will therefore offer a real choice for many Islanders who would otherwise have to go into residential care homes, and translate into action our desire to promote independence and choice for all Islanders who require some level of care and support."

Phase 1 of the development on each site will include enough new flats to accommodate all the existing residents of Longue Rue House and Maison Maritaine. In addition, on the Maison Maritaine site there will be a Day Centre; and at the Longue Rue site 15 self-contained flats for people with a learning disability or other social care needs who are currently accommodated by HSSD.

Chief Executive of the GHA, Steve Williams, added:

"It's great news that these projects have been given the go-ahead, as we've spent hundreds of hours with our architects and Housing and HSSD staff ensuring that the new developments will meet all the needs of the people that will live in them.

It's now full steam ahead for us, especially as we've now got planning permission for both sites, the planning permission for the Longue Rue site having come through just a week or so ago. We've also just got back the tenders from potential contractors, so once we've analysed these in detail we'll be ready to get on with the building work."

Start on site on both sites is planned for Summer this year; both developments should be built and ready for occupation in 2014, whereupon the old residential homes will be closed and demolished. They will, however, remain fully operational during the building work.

Lois King, Director of Older People's Housing, Care and Support, is responsible for managing the transition from a residential care to an 'extra care' housing service and for preparing both residents and staff for the changes. She said:

"Ever since the States gave the projects 'in principle' approval last May, we've been meeting regularly with staff and residents to discuss what's involved, and to make sure everyone's ready as 2014 will be with us before we know it.

Also, we want the transition to be as smooth as possible and that means making changes now, so our residents can get used to living more independently and so our staff can get accustomed to helping people do things for themselves. This is all very different to what happens in a residential home, but both residents and staff are enthusiastic about the changes."

Both the accommodation and care services will be designed in such a way as to enable the existing residential home residents to receive the same level of care they are currently receiving, while at the same time being supported to live independently, if that is what they choose. The services will be delivered by the Housing Department's care staff, who are being retrained and reskilled to deliver a new kind of more personalised care and support service.


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