Extracare have today officially opened the show apartments at their Longbridge retirement village development.
Local couple Lynne and Graham Chalk (pictured left) were at the official opening along with Deputy Lord Mayor Mike Cllr Leddy (above right), Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Management and Homes Cllr John Cotton (above centre) and representatives from ExtraCare Charitable Trust and the Homes & Communities Agency.
The Chalks were married when Lynne was just 16 and Graham was two years older. Lynne, 71, worked at Cadbury’s in Bournville before becoming a shop assistant and Graham, 73, worked at the Longbridge car plant on the site of the redevelopment, later working as a window cleaner.
Lynne and Graham plan to move in to a two bedroom shared ownership apartment and are excited to be able to make the village their home.
Lynne said: “Usually at our time of life we are looking back but now we are looking forward and I can’t tell you how excited we are.”
“When you retire you are sort of lonely,” she said. “You can’t have your family around you all the time; they’ve got their own lives to live. We like company.”
Graham suffers from Parkinson’s disease and the couple were finding it difficult to manage their large garden at their bungalow. They find it reassuring to know that, while they may not need it now, help is available in the village if needed in the future, enabling them to stay together.
Around 1,000 households have registered their interest in the retirement village so far. The Longbridge village is the fifth to be built as part of a £200m development programme between The ExtraCare Charitable Trust and Birmingham City Council. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has also invested £1.5m into the development.
Communal facilities – including a bar and bistro, a village hall, an IT suite, a hair and beauty salon, a gym and a shop – can be used by residents, their families and Longbridge residents.
More than 50 weekly activities will be on offer including IT classes, choir, gardening and wheelchair aerobics.
The village will have 260 one or two bedroom apartments, available to over 55s for shared ownership, outright sale or affordable rent. Apartments will have their own hallway, living room, kitchen and shower room, with most having their own balcony.
Around a third of residents within the village will receive assistance with care. Dependent on individual circumstances, the village can support residents with significant assessed care needs, including dementia.
A recent study by Aston University demonstrated that ExtraCare’s holistic approach to health and well being meant that residents experienced a 46% reduction in visits to their GP over a one year period, with NHS costs being reduced by up to 38%.
Mick Laverty, ExtraCare’s Chief Executive, said: “This Village will provide comfortable homes in a safe and welcoming environment with a dedicated care team on site to support independent living in later life. The Village’s 18 community facilities will also provide a social and active lifestyle for local older people, friends, families and volunteers as part of a ‘community hub’.
“Longbridge is our fifth Birmingham Village which means ExtraCare we will be providing 1,152 village homes across the City by 2017. These five Villages are transforming the lives of over 1,300 local older people and have already ensured the release of over 600 much-needed family homes back into the wider community. Everyone wins.”
Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for Neighbourhood Management and Homes, Cllr John Cotton, said: “Our partnership with ExtraCare means that hundreds of older people in Longbridge will soon be living in affordable, quality housing. The state-of-the-art facilities on offer are exceptional and I really believe that they will help residents to be more independent, increase their levels of fitness and enjoy a high quality of life. The way the village is being set up means there will be no shortage of things to do or people to socialise with so residents will need never be lonely.”
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has invested £1.5m into the Village’s development. Karl Tupling, Executive Director for the Midlands for the HCA, said: “We’re pleased to have provided both land and funding for the Longbridge Retirement Village so it is great to see the scheme becoming a reality. The retirement village is just part of the overall regeneration work underway at the Longbridge site and is also a great example of the HCA’s work to support older people. Developments such as this play an important role in helping people remain as independent as they want to for as long as possible while at the same time releasing much needed family housing back into the housing market.”
The village forms part of regeneration specialist St Modwen’s £1 billion Longbridge regeneration scheme.
The show apartments will be open from Monday May 16. They will be open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm
Local older people and their families wishing to view the apartments can phone 0300 303 2333 for more details or visit www.longbridgevillage.co.uk