LMH completes homeless family centre

A former Victorian convent in Toxteth has been renovated into a £3.6m homeless centre by Liverpool Mutual Homes and Liverpool City Council.

Belvidere Family Centre in Belvidere Road will operate as a safe haven for people in need of emergency accommodation. The façade of the 1870s properties, including marble pillars and intricate window tracery, was retained and attached to a new side wing and rear extension.

Belvidere centreThe project was designed by John McCall Architects. There are 16 apartments for families who will be supported by homeless organisation SHAP in partnership with homeless and housing charity the Whitechapel Centre on behalf of Liverpool City Council.

The remodelled centre is sub-divided into private, self-contained apartments including a kitchen, dining and living rooms, with en-suite bathrooms featuring luxury Porcelanosa tiles, Grohe pottery and wet room style showers.

Numerous units can interconnect, allowing families of up to eight people to be accommodated so they can live together.

Family lounges, facilities for children, a playground, laundry, offices, meeting and training rooms, and areas for staff sleeping and storage have been built.

There is a green sedum living roof, photovoltaic solar cells, flat-plate solar collectors and heat pumps converting hot air into energy and to provide hot water. Thermostats fitted to each room regulate temperatures and a centralised thermal store distributes energy from heat pumps, boilers and solar systems.

Steve Coffey, chief executive of LMH, said: "This scheme addresses many of our key priorities as a social landlord: homelessness, supporting people, regeneration and sustainability.

"The building was dark and desperately in need of modernising. People using the centre now have self-contained apartments with private bathrooms and kitchens and a wide range of communal facilities to help them rebuild their lives. The scale of the project was enormous. It took three months to demolish and clear the internal structures and attach the original building to the new extension while the 140-year-old shell was retained.

"This allowed us to install some of the most innovative green technology available so the centre is sustainable and has a light, airy ambience that is uplifting with a very modern feel.

"We have also insulated the building, replaced all the windows and roofs and replaced the heating, boiler and electrical systems."

Cllr Roz Gladden, Liverpool City Council's assistant mayor and Cabinet member for social care and health, said: "People who use this building are often at their lowest ebb and it is absolutely vital that we house them in good quality facilities. The investment we have made in partnership with LMH means we are able to offer them excellent temporary accommodation while we put into place the necessary support and help to live independently again."

The main contractor was Bardsley Construction.

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