Building Better Lives
Our Building Better Lives programme is one of our largest building and services improvement schemes, with a projected investment from developers of up to £135 million.
We are working with developers and health organisations to provide new housing and services, many of which will be affordable homes for:
- local people
- key workers employed in the health and social care sector
- adults who require various degrees of support for a range of mental health and physical requirements
Modern, eco-friendly and fit for purpose accommodation will be created over the next few years, along with up to date health facilities and services, care provision and community spaces, within easy reach of town centres. Where possible, we are using our own land to make this happen.
Locations will be transformed, offering new spaces for communities to live, work and socialise together.
Looking after our ageing population
The population is increasing – and getting older. The 65+ years demographic is the largest in the UK, so it’s more important than ever to build appropriate accommodation and look after our communities.
Whatever our age, but especially as we enter our later years, we need to be thinking about:
- how our health may diminish
- what we might need to help us live a healthy and independent life
- what type of accommodation we want to live in
Expectations are changing, as people want to live in their own home for as long as they can, with as much independence as possible. They also want to be able to make their own choices about the right care and support when it is needed.
We need to make sure there are housing and services in place to meet these demands and along with our health partners, we can provide care and support to enable local people to live happy, long and independent lives.
Supported Living and Extra Care
The right accommodation can have a significant positive impact on wellbeing. Making sure physical environments are designed around the needs of frailty, impaired mobility, and dementia can go a long way in helping you to stay independent without needing lots of intrusive and expensive care.
New buildings can be designed around the possibilities that modern technology can bring. This will not only help people stay connected with friends and family, and keep independence, but it can also help make sure that care and support is financially sustainable.
An Extra Care scheme will enable adults of all ages to live independently or continue to live as independently as possible. Extra Care is purpose built accommodation (usually apartments) designed around the needs of people with mobility issues or frailty, and with a 24-hour support service on site.
Extra Care accommodation:
- has lots of communal areas
- can help create vibrant communities
- can allow older people to keep living in their own home for longer and with the right care and support services
- avoids people moving into care homes
Extra Care is a good option for some working age adults with disabilities, particularly people with learning disabilities who have been living with elderly parents for much of their lives.
Supported living accommodation for adults, particularly younger adults with disabilities, allows them to move away from home when they want to or return to the local area from care homes out of the area. Giving people the opportunity to be independent will facilitate them to:
- make their own choices and decisions
- learn new skills and interests
- contribute to the local economy through apprenticeship programmes
- feel part of a community
The first sites to be developed are in Wareham (Purbeck Gateway) and Bridport (Bridport Gateway).
Purbeck Gateway and Bridport Gateway developments are in the early stages of transformation. Consultations with the local communities have begun about what they would like to see included in the development.
The financial and efficiency savings on health and adult care services in the short and long term will greatly benefit the public purse. Investing in the community through state-of-the-art buildings and landscaping now, will ensure adults of all ages can live long and happy lives in a space designed to suit their needs in an area they already call home.
New developments also enable the use of modern technology and digital solutions to help keep people independent. This frees up time and money, which can allow care and support to be focussed to be on what is most meaningful for people.
The government define affordable housing as 80% of market value (or market rent). In many places, this is still not affordable for local people.
Our development and housing partners are aiming to deliver as much as possible at or as close as possible to social rents.
For keyworkers and people on the housing register, homes will be available at affordable rents and some properties will be available to buy.
In Extra Care housing and other housing with support, there are often extra things which have to be built into service charges which bring them above social rent levels. This reflects the extra requirements around mobility standards, communal space and background housing support which people who need this type of housing often need. The target rents are still lower than ‘affordable’ rents and will be as close to social rent as possible given these extra requirements.
We also recognise the affordability of a person’s home is more than just the rent. It can include the cost of heating and lighting, and things like service charges and ground rents. We are committed to sustainable, low carbon development and are considering how design standards such as Passivhaus can permanently reduce energy bills.
Adequate spaces to park vehicles, bicycles and mobility scooters have been considered throughout the design process of projects and space has been dedicated within the complex to limit/negate overflow into residential or neighbouring areas.
We are reviewing:
- the land we own in Dorset
- housing needs
- employment viability
- service provision
Areas which are identified as being viable, will be progressed in due course. It is hoped the programme will be able to deliver integrated homes and care facilities in different parts of the county.