New supported living accommodation proposed for Greenacres Farm in Walford Heath
A proposal for a new supported living accommodation for adults with highly complex needs will be put to Full Council later this week (on Thursday 24 September 2020).
The state of the art accommodation will be the first of its kind for Shropshire, and will be offered to people with a learning disability, autism and/or mental health needs.
Current specialist provision of this nature is not available in Shropshire and has resulted in, and continues to result in, individuals leaving Shropshire to live in residential settings or single occupancy homes away from Shropshire, especially those with complex needs that can result in people feeling isolated and lonely and away from their family support.
The accommodation will be built on land that is currently part of Greenacres Farm in Walford Heath, and will comprise of eight PassivHaus standard, single-storey supported living apartments, a communal shared area, internal courtyard and outdoor spaces.
Designed to help people to develop their independent living skills, each self-contained apartment will have its own lounge, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen area.
The service will include an on-site office and a team of around 20 staff providing 24-hour care support, which will be a mixture of shared support between individuals and 1:1 support when needed. Greenacres Farm already provides a range of day opportunities to vulnerable people in Shropshire.
The cost of the development will be around £3.125m, which will come from the capital budget and be paid back through income generated by leasing the accommodation.
Aims of the project
The primary aims of the project are to support and enhance the independence of vulnerable people, create new jobs for the local community and provide significant savings on care packages. This is particularly prevalent for care packages for individuals in placements outside the county, which are amongst the most expensive care packages Shropshire Council are responsible for.
The Greenacres development also supports the council’s bigger project initiative to develop new and innovative models of accommodation to respond to and support the demographic demands of the county.
Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said:
“We know there is a real need for specialist good quality homes for highly complex and vulnerable people, that are not currently available in our county.
“Due to the shortage of suitable accommodation we are proposing to build bespoke accommodation, designed to help people to develop their independent living skills within a community setting.
“I am fully supportive of this innovative project as, not only will it support the health and wellbeing and skills of our most vulnerable, but it will also help increase the supply of affordable and social housing. This in turn will bring economic benefits within Shropshire’s economy, and provide a range of financial opportunities to the council in respect of the current housing stock for some of the most vulnerable people adult social care supports.”
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Social care savings
The cost of individual care packages can be reduced through shared carers as a result of housing multiple individuals at the same property, whilst still within their own individual apartments.
It will also reduce the need for Shropshire Council to place individuals in placements outside of the county. These placements are amongst the most expensive individual care packages that the council are responsible for, ranging from £90,000 to £320,000, and a number of these individuals have been earmarked as suitable occupants of the proposed supported living arrangements
Why Greenacres Farm?
After research into a range of other locations and supported living schemes, the rural location of Greenacres was chosen to deliver this specialised housing as it was favourable over more urban locations due to the risk urban locations may pose to individuals with complex needs, for example road awareness and increased risk of harm and abuse.
Greenacres already has an existing facility that provides a range of facilities and day care opportunities to vulnerable people. The day services facility will provide opportunities and support to the new proposed residents of the apartments.
In addition to this, the empty house at Greenacres will be converted to incorporate a variety of uses to suit the needs of the residents living in the apartments, along with the public. Combining the three services on one site will allow them to complement each other and provide a range of opportunities, mutual benefits and activities that promotes independent living, to not only the residents living in Greenacres apartments but the wider community.