A planning application has been submitted for new purpose-built accommodation which will significantly improve the quality of life for 14 adults with learning disabilities. The proposed La Vieille Plage development at L’Islet is a joint-venture between Health & Social Care, Employment & Social Security and the Guernsey Housing Association, which would enable high-quality supported living facilities to be delivered in a very cost-effective manner.
The proposal follows a similar public/private sector partnership having successfully delivered the specialist autism development known as Le Vieux Jardin in 2019. With this now considered the benchmark standard for HSC residential accommodation, it is hoped that further joint-venture developments will follow in coming years to ensure that all HSC residential service users have appropriate accommodation.
Deputy Al Brouard, President of HSC, said: ‘We are committed to bringing all our residential accommodation up to acceptable modern standards and have taken a creative and collaborative approach to funding this development, working alongside the Committee for Employment & Social Security and the Guernsey Housing Association in partnership. This is just the type of innovation we need to bring about timely improvements to these people’s lives.’
Pending planning permission, La Vieille Plage will provide accommodation for people with learning disabilities to live in their own self-contained one-bedroom flats, while having 2 access to 24/7 care and support. . The site will also have communal areas and a sensory room where people can socialise together or be involved in therapeutic activities. Service users are currently housed in a range of settings, including former private homes, an old hospital ward and a converted GP surgery. Physical layouts such as corridor widths and room sizes are no longer compatible with modern equipment needs. This new development will be purpose built to enable the appropriate levels of care and support to be supported safely and effectively, including access to manual handling equipment such as ceiling track hoists and level access throughout. It would also feature bespoke communal areas including outside spaces, designed to be accessible to all.
The GHA would own, develop and maintain the site, while HSC staff would provide care and support services. The GHA would receive a rental income from service users, funded via their ESS benefits.
Adult Disability service manager Mandy Mackelworth said: ‘The development at Le Vieux Jardin has been a resounding success for those who live there, their families and staff and we aspire to similar facilities for all those with learning disabilities and/or autism currently living in residential care. Developments such as this are all about supporting people to live as independently as possible . People will have privacy, choice and care in an environment tailored to meet their physical needs and facilitate individuality. They will have their own living spaces, that they may personalise as they like . They will be able to invite family and friends for a cup of tea in their own lounge and choose what they want to watch on TV. When they wish they can spend time in appropriately designed communal areas. These are basic needs which most of us take for granted but are presently limited due to the environment in which people are living.’
ESS President Deputy Peter Roffey said: ‘We very much welcome the further roll out of this tried and tested model which enables people to hold their own tenancy with a package of support from HSC or other care services. It is cost effective for the States and equally importantly gives these individuals more of a sense of control in where they live. The development shows that our partnership with the GHA goes wider than standard social housing, partial ownership and key worker accommodation. ESS takes its responsibility to those with special needs very seriously indeed which is why, despite the current shortage of general housing, we have agreed to prioritise the use of this site for this vital purpose ’.
GHA Chief Executive Steve Williams said: ‘We are delighted to be assisting the States to provide this much needed accommodation helping to improve people’s lives. In partnership we are all using our skills and experience to produce a great outcome for the island.’
The development has been designed to reduce the impact on the surrounding area. Ahead of the planning application being submitted, the GHA wrote to all immediate neighbours of the proposed site to advise of the plans, which includes vehicle access to the development being through the Sandy Hook Estate.
Pending planning permission, the GHA intends to go out to tender for the construction in the New Year with the aim of breaking ground by September 2022.