The Guernsey Housing Association’s (GHA) latest development, Le Vieux Jardin, is complete and ready for residents to move in. Twenty flats have been provided for rent and partial ownership and eight bungalows have been designed for people with autism. This means that a number of local people who were accommodated in the UK are able to return to the island, and live independently, close to their family and friends.
Located opposite the Vale Douzaine Hall, the project is a partnership between the GHA, the States of Guernsey’s Committee for Health and Social Care (HSC) and the Committee for Employment and Social Security (ESS).
All the properties are built to a high energy efficiency to reduce heating costs and the bungalows have even higher levels of sound insulation to create calmer surroundings. The properties for people with autism have been specifically designed to look and feel like normal domestic properties but with design features that will make life easier or less stressful for those with autism. From externally accessible utilities to prevent disturbance of tenants to assistive technology to keep people safe. There is a sensory garden and sensory gym on site to provide stimulation and activity, and robust or low impact design features inside the bungalows, all details that appear small but will have a huge impact on those living at Le Vieux Jardin.
Steve Williams, chief executive of the GHA, said: “The GHA worked closely with HSC and ESS to come up with a design to meet the accommodation needs of people on the autism spectrum.’’
“We involved local architects, Create, who took to the challenge enthusiastically and, following research of autism accommodation elsewhere, we are delighted with the outcome.’’
Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care said, ‘This is the first development of its kind in Guernsey and I am really impressed with the thought that has gone into the design which puts the needs of service users to the fore. The Committee is delighted that, with the completion of the build, we are now able to bring back those of our community who have been living off-island for several years as we have not had the facilities to care for them here. This not only saves money, but more importantly, means they can be closer to their families and be part of Island life. The provision of space for Health & Care staff also means that we can provide out-reach support from the hub and so will have an important role to play in expanding our care in the community, which is a key principle of our new model of health and care – the Partnership of Purpose.’
The project has been supported financially by ESS with land and some grant, with the remaining funding from a long term loan taken out by GHA and paid off from the rental income. The construction of 28 properties and care staff accommodation has cost just over £5M to build. GHA will manage and maintain the buildings and HSC will provide the care staff service and provide an outreach staff support service to the surrounding community.
Michelle Le Clerc, President of the Committee for Employment and Social Security said ‘“We are thrilled to support this much-needed housing development with HSC and the GHA.
“It is a development which provides affordable housing solutions for local people and actively improves the lives of people with autism and their families.”