Cornwall Council invited bids for a strategic partner to deliver and run the schemes, which will allow people to live independently in their own home but have access to a range of support, such as care and social activities, should they need it.
Aside from the benefits to residents, extra care housing has additional benefits to the wider community (please note that this will vary between schemes and will reflect local need). It can:
• Provide activities for other people living close to the scheme with events run by community groups or volunteers.
• Provide an assisted bathing facility for non-residents.
• Provide a restaurant or café service which is open to the public as well as residents.
• Include a hairdresser or beauty salon which is open to the public as well as residents.
• Release family housing – where older people under-occupy accommodation there may be benefits in moving to something more suited to their needs, both for the older person (a more manageable property, lower heating and maintenance costs etc.) and for the wider community (family sized housing becomes available for rent or purchase).
• Create employment opportunities associated with construction, care, and housing.
Cornwall Council portfolio holder for adults, Rob Rotchell said: “The delivery of extra care housing forms part of the overall transformation of adult services and will be critical in helping to provide the older residents of Cornwall with a viable alternative to moving into a care home.
“Not only will the extra care units allow people to remain closer to their communities they are familiar with they will also allow people to maintain their independence for as long as possible.”
The partnership agreement is for 30 years with a development period of seven years and a requirement to bring forward business cases for 750 affordable units with a mixture of affordable rented and shared ownership options.
The care contract is for an initial period of up to 14 years.
Priority will be given to residents who already live near the schemes. Applicants will need to be over 55 but do not have to have any care needs to be eligible – however 24 hr care will be available on site as and when they need it.
Alan Long, Executive Director of Mears Group said: “Mears are delighted to have been confirmed by the Cabinet as lead strategic partner for the delivery of extra care in Cornwall. Last year we commissioned independent research which showed that extra care living can prevent people from having to go to hospital due to on-site care and due to the benefits of living in specially adapted accommodation which is designed for their specific needs.
“Our experience of running extra care accommodation has shown that well-built, well-managed extra care schemes can reduce costs to the NHS, decrease loneliness and its associated health problems and create really special communities.
“We look forward to working with Cornwall Council to create well designed homes with a focus on health and wellbeing for our over 55’s communities.”
Other benefits to the scheme include:
• Creating nearly 700 new jobs for people across Cornwall with a commitment to pay the Full Living Wage workers delivering care and support
• An investment of new money of £150m in Cornwall with £90 million spent on the local supply chain, of which £60m to be spent with local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
• Donations or ‘in-kind’ contributions to local community projects and volunteering
• Creating 200 new apprenticeships across the construction, care and housing management sectors.