Six councils awarded extra care housing grants

The rise in residential developments that offer healthcare facilities for older people was given another boost today with £80m of Government grants awarded to 25 local authority schemes.

Health and care minister Ivan Lewis announced the latest round of funding to build extra care housing, enabling more older people and those with dementia and long-term conditions to live in a home of their own. Extra care housing gives people a home of their own where wide ranges of care and support services are provided on site. Tenants enjoy greater privacy, dignity and independence, couples can stay together, and social and leisure opportunities can be enjoyed at the resident's convenience. In addition, homeowners may be able to keep some of the equity in their property.

The six successful schemes in the North West were:

  • Kingsway, Blackburn, £4.1m
  • Brookside, Lancashire, £7.325m
  • Carlisle, £4.74m
  • Whitebeck Court, Manchester, £6.546m
  • Newbury Court, Trafford, £1.93m
  • Mendell Lodge, Wirral, £2,73m

Developers are looking increasingly at this market not only because it is offers higher margins but also because local planners often view applications as health-related rather than residential and therefore not constrained by housing quotas and moratoria. Cheshire was among the first boroughs to buy into extra care; the county council signed a private finance initiative last year with Avantage, a joint venture of Harvest Housing, Gleeson Construction and Nationwide Building Society to build five developments of extra care homes.

Today, health minister Ivan Lewis said: "Extra care housing is about offering people a choice. Too often I hear of cases where a couple who have been together for over 50 years are forced apart because one requires care and has no choice but to enter residential or nursing care leaving their partner at home. I want to change that. Extra care housing will give people a choice about how and where they choose to spend their later life."

The Department of Health has already allocated £147m to local authorities for extra care housing between 2004 and 2008. This further £80m will be allocated over the next two years to the 25 successful schemes.

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