Supported Housing Opens In Antrim

A specialist supported living scheme has been officially opened this week in Antrim.

Provided as part of the Department for Social Development New Housing Agenda by Helm Housing, the Pines scheme is jointly managed by Helm Housing and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

The new £1.5m single story building, located in the hospital grounds of Holywell Hospital provides high quality accommodation for 10 people with a mental illness.

The revenue costs for this 24/7 supported living scheme is funded by the Trust and the Housing Executive’s Supporting People Programme, and provides care and support to tenants in a homely environment.

Speaking at the launch, NI Minister for Social Development Alex Attwood said: “This will make a real difference to the lives of these new tenants at the Pines. This state of the art building will allow residents to live more independently, whilst being fully supported by caring, qualified staff.

“The provision of a decent home for everyone is at the core of my endeavours. Those who need help to live a full life should be able to enjoy the same opportunities as everyone else. I shall continue, through the Social Housing Development Programme, to ensure the fullest range possible of accommodation to meet the diverse needs of all our citizens.”

Jean Fulton, Group Chief Executive at Helm Housing explains how the project evolved: “Ten people with mental illnesses were living in accommodation at the hospital at Holywell, which no longer met the required building standards.”

“The Northern Health and Social Care Trust and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive Supporting People team worked with Helm Housing to develop proposals for a replacement scheme designed to improve the quality of life and promote independence for residents at the Pines.

“Feasibility studies were carried out and through this process a green field site was identified adjacent to the existing buildings.

“Helm Housing agreed to provide new purpose-built accommodation and to develop a Joint Management agreement with the Trust.

“Throughout the design process, the short, medium and long-term requirements of the tenants have been to the fore. This ethos is reflected in the layout of the building and the materials and finishes that have been utilised,” she said.

The Pines is a single story building, with disabled access throughout the ten ensuite bedrooms and two staff ensuite bedrooms. Communal facilities in the form of two kitchen dinettes, a laundry room and an activity room enable tenants to learn to live independently while still having the support of staff.

Each tenant has his/her own ensuite bedroom, but can also interact with other tenants in the communal areas.

The accommodation has achieved an Eco-Homes Good Rating and Secured by Design accreditation, allowing tenants to feel secure in their surroundings while learning to lead a more independent lifestyle.