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Homes to set national standard for citizens with learning disabilities - 03.12.09

New state-of-the-art homes in Carshalton will set a national standard for accommodation for citizens with physical and learning disabilities, says Sutton Council.

The design and technology included in the ten purpose built flats at Ashcombe Court will transform the lives of their new tenants and allow them to live as independently as possible, the council added.

The homes, funded by NHS Sutton and Merton and Progress Care Housing Association, are for 10 of the 18 remaining citizens living on the Orchard Hill Hospital site in Carshalton, the UK's last long-stay hospital for adults with learning disabilities. Sutton and Merton Councils are working with the PCT to move all Orchard Hill residents into new and improved supported living homes.

The Ashcombe Court development is the first of its type in the UK for citizens with profound and multiple learning disabilities and the flats have been designed in conjunction with relatives, carers, support staff and Advocacy Partners.

Each of the one-bed, self-contained homes features an open plan kitchen/lounge, bedroom and bathroom, tailored to the needs of citizens who use large wheelchairs. Tracking systems and assistive technology, such as fall detectors, will ensure people live as independently as possible.

The development includes a place for staff to sleep, a shared laundry, communal lounge, and two additional spa bathrooms. There is also a sensory garden for the residents.

Specialist social landlord, Progress Care Housing Association, will manage and maintain the building, and rent the flats at affordable levels. Each tenant will have an individual support plan to help them live within the community with respect and dignity.

Funded by NHS Sutton and Merton and project managed by Sutton Council, the scheme was designed by Baily Garner architects and cost £3m.

Cllr Colin Stears, Executive Member for Adult Social Services and Housing on Sutton Council, said:

"This superb development will quite simply, make the lives of its new tenants so much better.

"It's the first of its kind in the UK and combines the best in design with the latest in technology to allow citizens with complex and profound health needs to live as independently as possible, and with the dignity they deserve.

"When the tenants move in it will be another important milestone in the Orchard Hill reprovision project.

"By working with NHS Sutton and Merton and Merton Council we are providing new, better homes for some of our most vulnerable citizens. The results are life-changing both for the them and their families."

Bill Gillespie, Chief Executive, NHS Sutton and Merton, said:

"These flats will have state-of-the-art technology to aid daily living and the residents will be able to take a much fuller part in society than they have in the past. 

"This is a significant achievement for all our staff – both in the local authority and the PCT - who have worked hard to ensure that people with learning disabilities are treated like independent adults with the right to live in ordinary neighbourhoods, but with all the expert support and help they need."

Last updated: Thursday, 03 December 2009

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