McGimpsey Opens New Supported Housing Scheme For Elderely

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has officially opened Barn Halt Cottages – a new and innovative housing scheme for older people in Carrickfergus.

The scheme provides accommodation, care and support to frail and older people and can house up to 36 residents in 26 cottages. The cottages are designed to enable those with complex care and support needs to maintain their independence and keep links with the community.

On officially opening the cottages the Minister said: “Older people have the right to expect good quality care in an appropriate setting. They have told us they want to live independently and safely in their own homes for as long as possible. This scheme is about delivering on that legitimate aspiration. Traditional institutional models of care can no longer meet all the needs of older people in the 21st century.

“In Northern Ireland we have a proud record of supporting people at home. For many years we were the only part of the UK that provided personal care free of charge at home. We want to build on that record and ensure that our older people have the support they need to live independently with dignity and respect.

“Housing with Care schemes have a clear focus on promoting quality of life, providing real choice for people with care needs and encouraging independence, autonomy and social inclusion within the community.”

Barn Halt has been developed in partnership between the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Fold Housing Association and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) and has been funded by the Department for Social Development’s Capital Build Programme.

Jim Stewart, Chairman of the Northern Trust, said, “We hope Barn Halt will be the first of many such developments that will enable people to live at home in an environment that is flexible enough to adapt to an individual’s changing needs and with care and support services that focus on promoting independence rather than creating dependence.”

John McLean, Chief Executive of FoldHousing Association, expressed his delight that Fold have been able to work in partnership with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and Supporting People in such an innovative and creative project which is paving the way in the supported housing field. He said: “Barn Halt Cottages affords older people the opportunity to retain their independence in a supportive environment. Tenants can feel confident in the knowledge that flexible and responsive care and support services, backed up by Fold’s TeleCare, are available to them when required.”

Eligible applicants were identified from the Housing Executive’s Common Selection Scheme and selected by a multi-agency referrals panel.

The Chairman of the Housing Executive, Brian Rowntree said: “The cottages show just what can be achieved by working together and I want to thank all those who have worked hard to bring them to this stage. We all know how important it is to have a warm and comfortable home where we feel safe. But older people have complex needs and often housing, on its own, is not enough. Barn Halt Cottages has the vital ingredients of good quality housing and good quality care and support to make it a valuable asset for the people who live there. For its part, the Housing Executive will be providing £236,000 this year to help meet the needs of older people in the Carrickfergus area.”