'One of a kind' facility for over-55s officially opens in Preston
Preston's largest social housing landlord has opened a new extra care scheme of 60 high-spec apartments aimed at tackling social isolation.
The Courtyards, built by Community Gateway Association in Ingol, is described as "a one-of a-kind" in the city, offering independent living for over-50s in a community setting.
The Mayor of Preston, Coun Javed Iqbal carried out the opening along with CGA chief executive Rob Wakefield, unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion.
"Gateway is a real success story in Preston, with a track record of working with local people," saId the Mayor.
"This is another fine example. Places like this are desperately needed in the community.”
The purpose-built scheme on Dovedale Avenue offers 60 spacious apartments, a bistro, hair and beauty salon, communal lounge, consultation and activity rooms, supplemented with 24-hour care provision for residents if required. All facilities, including the stunning, landscaped gardens, are fully accessible and open to the public.
"This was a flagship project for us, so of particular significance to us and the city and it underpins our commitment to tackling social isolation," said Mr Wakefield.
"It is a unique facility and, in true Gateway style, the concept started with our tenants. Some years ago, a few of our local sheltered scheme residents lobbied senior staff and our board to build a place just like this; it was their persistence that took us on this journey, working alongside us to design somewhere that would meet the needs of those in later life.
“What matters though is ‘does it work for the people who live here and call it home?’ The answer is an emphatic 'yes.'
"One resident told me ‘I feel like every day is a holiday.’ Another said ‘I cried tears of joy when I moved here.’
"We’re especially pleased to work in conjunction with Guardian Homecare, who have just received an excellent regulatory judgment from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).”
Fiona Fisher, CGA's head of housing services, added: “The Courtyards is such a vibrant and welcoming building, which when you look round almost invites you to pick your own apartment. Each has dual aspects and outdoor space, so is light and airy.
"Since opening earlier this year, we have let 50 apartments and it makes me smile to see how residents have quickly put their individual stamp on each one.
"It’s said that moving home is one of the most stressful times in life, but our residents have risen beautifully to the challenge and breathed life and laughter into our wonderful building.”
County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult social care, said: "We know that people want to continue to live independently and have their own space as they get older.
"The Courtyards is a great way for people in Preston to do this. It has a really good range of on-site facilities, modern living accommodation, support workers available 24/7 and residents have their own front doors for their independence. Facilities like this are truly part of the local community.
"Extra care helps people to enjoy a more active lifestyle and evidence shows that this benefits not just the individuals who live there, but also reduces pressures for admissions into hospital and residential care.”
To find out more about The Courtyards and how to apply, visit www.communitygateway.co.uk or call 0800 953 0213.