PLANS to create 1,800 new specialist homes for local older people with a care need in the county have won national praise. Essex County Council’s Independent Living programme was commended in the Local Government Association’s Housing our Ageing Population report, published this autumn.
The report sets out what is required to meet the housing needs and aspirations of the ageing population nationally. In particular, Essex was commended for:
Having a clear vision, promoting awareness and changing attitudes towards housing in later life
Planning for its ageing population
Delivering and enabling new housing for older people
Promoting a combined approach towards housing, care and health.
Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Adult Health & Social Care, ECC, said: “Our ambition is to provide the maximum help we can so that everyone can have somewhere safe, pleasant and supportive to live in later life. It’s heartening that our approach in Essex has been recognised as an example for other local authorities around the country to follow.”
The council’s Independent Living programme will see £27.7 million invested between now and 2022 to help the development of new, self-contained homes for the counties ageing population. The investment will enable many more older people in Essex – who would otherwise live in residential care or a home of their own that may no longer meets their needs – to live independently.
The first two new Independent Living housing schemes for older people in Essex, Rosebank Park in Harwich, and Beaumont House in Walton, opened in 2017. A third new scheme, Cornell Court in Saffron Walden, is due to open in summer 2018. Construction will also begin on new schemes in the Braintree, Colchester, Epping Forest, Harlow and Rochford districts during 2018.
The LGA is the national voice of local government, working with councils to support, promote and improve local government. In addition to Essex, its report also identified Birmingham City Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Mansfield District Council, Newcastle City Council, North Somerset, Bristol, Bath and North-East Somerset Councils, and Worcestershire County Council as demonstrating good practice.
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