WORK has officially kicked off in Leith to bring new homes for local people living with disabilities.
Twenty-four new apartments are being built at the site on West Bowling Green Street in Leith, which will be adapted for people with physical disabilities or learning development challenges.
The £5.4m scheme, called Heron Court, the first in Scotland, is being delivered by specialist supported living developer HBV in partnership with Lifeways, Inclusion Housing and Edinburgh City Council.
The development is expected to be completed by the end of next year. HBV has already delivered 50 developments in England and the scheme in Leith is the first of what it hopes will be a number of new schemes to help young disabled adults live more independently in Scotland.
Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “Edinburgh is known as an inclusive and caring city with strong communities that work hard to support each other. It is so important that our citizens have access to high-quality public services and, for many, access to good quality housing is the foundation of a good quality of life and good health.
“This new development at Heron Court will help 24 local adults with disabilities move into their own apartment from early 2021. It will offer the benefits of independent living with the security of on-site staff and I’m pleased to join Deidre Brock MP for this ground-breaking ceremony.”
Deirdre Brock, MP, who helped officially started works at the site, said:
“I’m delighted to have been invited to officially start work at this site in the heart of our community in Leith. We need to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are well cared for and looked after in suitable accommodation. This development will put a lot of smiles on a lot of people’s faces when it is completed next year. I’m looking forward to visiting the site when it is completed and meeting its residents.”
Judith Proctor, Chief Officer of the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Working with HBV and Lifeways, we have been able to identify a need for homes for adults with learning disabilities. We have procured a developer to deliver these homes – co-produced with residents to feature the access requirements and technology they need – and this has all been without the need for public funding.”
Alastair Sheehan, development director of HBV, the national specialised supported living developer, said:
“We are delighted to get work started at this special site in the heart of the community. We have had tremendous support from the planning team at Edinburgh City Council as well as the commissioning team responsible for delivering specialist supported care. We’re delighted that everyone recognises the need for specialist supported living accommodation for some of the local community’s most vulnerable people.
“It is pleasing to see that Scotland has some of the most forward looking adult social care commissioners in the UK and we are engaging with as many of them as we can to help them bring similar schemes to their own localities. Many of the tenants living here will be having the keys to their own front door for the first time in their lives which will be a tremendous boost to their independence and a positive impact on their lives. We are tremendously excited by all the development and regeneration progressing in Leith and we are pleased to be playing a small role in contributing to a diverse and inclusive local community.”
Paul Atkins, of Inclusion Housing, added:
“Heron Court is set to be a fantastic example of what can be achieved through innovative partnership. We are very proud to be part of this scheme in Leith and the best bit is yet to come; welcoming the residents into their new home.”
HB Villages (HBV) was incorporated in 2011 in order to deliver a pipeline of new build supported living accommodation throughout the UK. It has developed a unique model of supported living that demonstrates an innovative and commercial approach, which can be replicated nationally without the need for housing subsidy.