ARK had operated a care home in Arbroath for several years and during that time there had been significant progress in resettling people with learning disabilites from hospitals to accommodation in the community. There is now a need to focus on shifting the balance of care from care homes to supported, sheltered and mainstream accomodation. Alongside this, the need for residential care home placements for adults with learning disability has been diminishing. ARK had completed an options appraisal (through assessments with the tenants), which identified the possibility of restructuring the building to provide individual tenancies, that would increase tenants’ independence and the control individuals are able to exercise over their own lives.
ARK worked with architects, staff and tenants to develop a design for the refurbishment of the care home building, creating 10 tenancies within a larger communal property. Each tenant would have their own living area, a mini kitchen and en-suite facilities. In line with ARK’s asset management strategy, tenants and staff were consulted as the programme developed. The care home residents were decanted into alternative accommodation to allow the refurbishment to take place.
The refurbished building, completed in the summer of 2011, now provides core and cluster accommodation. Individuals with higher levels of support needs were offered tenancies within this new facility, with outreach support provided to a number of individuals living within a 10 to 15 minute walk. Those accessing care and support from the outreach service are also encouraged to become involved in tenant activities provided within the communal areas. There is a staff sleep-over room and on-call services are also available within this new supported accommodation. This type of core and cluster development is a new style of provision in Angus and will better meet the needs of people living in the wider community for social and emotional support, and should an emergency arise.
ARK funded the refurbishment of this former care home at a cost of around £500,000.
The refurbishment of the community house at Grangemouth had been planned for over a year, but had been on hold whilst ARK carried out discussions with the Local Authority regarding reconfiguration proposals. Unfortunately funding was not available to complete this more extensive capital programme and ARK took the decision to use its own reserves to improve the existing built environment.
In consultation with staff and tenants the general view was of an outdated feeling in terms of décor and atmosphere. There were also issues with access for wheelchair users and lighting levels. We agreed a programme of works to address all of these issues across all the communal areas.
The new eco-friendly LED lights that were installed provide a brighter, more even light and are also much cheaper to run. Widening the communal ground floor doors improved wheelchair access hugely and the new floor coverings, painting and furnishings have absolutely transformed the place and it now looks and feels more welcoming and homely.
A post works survey confirmed the improvements and how living conditions have improved for both tenants and staff. Not only did this meet the objectives of our Asset Management Strategy but everybody has benefitted in ways that are difficult to put a cash value on – quality of life! This exercise has been a great success and will contribute to our ‘impact of the built environment on care’ research we are carrying out currently.
West Adam Street, Edinburgh – a collaboration with Telford College
ARK wanted to provide a professional interior design service to the tenants of West Adam Street and to upgrade the interiors of the West Adam Street property. Click here to read how we achieved that in collaboration with interior design students from Telford College.
Our most recent project at Southhouse has been the creation of a sensory garden. We also installed french doors in each tenant’s bedroom to improve access to the garden and to encourage tenant independence. Click here for more information about Southhouse.