Family, friends and project partners gathered today to celebrate the official opening of Grimsby's second purpose-built development designed for adults with a learning and physical disability to live independently.
Willow House and Willow Mews, off Crosland Road, is a £2.5 million development consisting of 16 apartments and four bungalows which has been designed in partnership by North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Inclusion Housing, delivered by HB Villages.
The new development will provide a safe environment for local vulnerable adults in Grimsby with learning and physical disabilities. It will allow them to live as independent a life as possible and give them the freedom to manage their own home, budgets and lifestyle with support where needed.
The progressive scheme was officially opened by The Deputy Mayor of the Borough of North East Lincolnshire, Cllr Clifford Barber.
Grimsby is leading the way for supported living in the UK. Willow House and Willow Mews is the second specialised development to be built. In March 2014, Ropewalk Gardens on Heneage Road opened and was hailed as a leading example for supported living which local authorities across the UK needed to follow. These schemes were developed in response to what adults with a learning and physical disability and their families outlined they wanted in the area.
Mark Webb, Chair of the North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, commented: "I'm delighted to be here for the opening of Willow House and Willow Mews. This is a fantastic initiative that offers adults with a learning and physical disability and the opportunity to live on an ordinary street, in an ordinary house, just like everyone else. There are huge benefits in making this happen. Helping people to become independent enables them to have a real choice about where they live and what sort of support they receive. But most importantly the adults we're supporting here now have the opportunity to live in and contribute to their community. They can meet neighbours, make friends and take an active part in local life."
David de Silva, Chief Executive of Inclusion Housing, said: "Today is a day for celebration and on behalf of Inclusion Housing; I have the pleasure of thanking all those people who have worked so hard to deliver Willow House and Willow Mews. It is only by working in partnership that the vision of supported living, within the heart of the community, can become a reality."
Alastair Sheehan, Development Director of HB Villages, said: "It is fantastic to be joining the tenants of Willow House and Willow Mews to celebrate their new homes. The vision behind the scheme is to give local adults with learning and physical disabilities the choice to live where they choose, independently in a safe environment and designed on a bespoke basis, tailored to the needs of the tenants. It is so gratifying for our team to be able to build them a special place which they can call home and for us to see the wonderful outcomes in person. Our core philosophy is centred on creating the flexibility for the tenants to be able to organise support around one's life, rather than having to adapt one's life around support. Willow House and Mews is a classic example of this outcome."
The on-site support providers for Willow House and Willows Mews are Creative Support, Aspects Care and Care UK.
Debbie Craddock, Service Director at Creative Support, said: "Creative Support is excited to part of this innovative partnership, which through the provision of structured and outcome-focused support is enabling our clients to develop new skills, greater confidence and forge meaningful, long-lasting friendships. We are proud to support our clients through their journey to greater independence, and look forward to working closely with our partners in delivering a service which is truly person-centred."
Tenants moved into their new homes at Willow House and Willow Mews in the summer, and since then the scheme has built a caring community which has not only changed the lives of tenants, but also their families and carers. In the few months the tenants have lived in their new homes they have developed new independence, allowing elderly relatives, who have been long-term carers, retire in the knowledge that their loved ones are living a happy and independent life.
HB Villages was formed in May 2012 in order to deliver a pipeline of bespoke new build supported living accommodation throughout the UK. Inclusion Housing CIC presented the proposed model of supported living. Together with additional input from commissioners and care partners, the early designs have been further developed to demonstrate an innovative and commercial approach to supported living which can be replicated nationally without any need for housing subsidy.