Lord Best visits Knowsley extra care schemes

Simon Donohue

A leading figure in British social housing visited Knowsley to see how three flagship housing projects are helping older and vulnerable people live safely and independently in their own homes.

Lord Richard Best OBE, president of the Local Government Association, saw the Centre of Independent Living and two new build extra care housing developments led by Knowsley Housing Trust, part of the First Ark Group.

The former chief executive of the National Housing Federation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation was shown how the Centre of Independent Living, Huyton, is providing a place where local people with disabilities or mobility issues can receive advice and support to live more independently.

The project, opened in April 2011, is run in partnership between KHT, Knowsley Council, the Voluntary Sector and NHS Knowsley.

Lord Best was then taken to the site of KHT's £11m project to revitalise a historic factory, on Albany Road, in Prescot, into 70 new much-needed homes supporting older people in the area as part of an extra care scheme, in partnership with Knowsley Council.

The project will include 54 apartments in the Grade II listed factory building and 16 bungalows, of which six will be available for shared ownership. The development will also include security, communal gardens, a restaurant, hairdresser and social rooms.

The last visit on the tour was to KHT's £14.4m project where 122 new homes for over 55s that need extra care and support to live independently are being built, at Bluebell Park, in Huyton.

Work on the development, also being built in partnership with Knowsley Council, was launched n April.

Lord Best said: "I am extremely impressed by the work being carried out by Knowsley Housing Trust. The projects I have seen during my visit are a tremendous example of how a housing association can work with its partners to address the pressing housing issues in the local community."

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