Berwickshire Housing Association launches Independent Living service

Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) has launched its new Independent Living service, an innovative and re-imagined housing option designed exclusively for over 55s encompassing modern assistive technology, in partnership with Alertacall.

Berwickshire Housing Association launches Independent Living service

Offering a wide range of high-quality affordable housing options across its stock of 1,880 homes throughout Berwickshire, BHA is most proud to offer is its Independent Living housing option with homes located at Boston Court in Duns, Gowanlea Court in Coldstream, and Linkim Court in Eyemouth.

The service offers a lifestyle choice in an ambient setting for people to live independently, healthy and happy at home for longer and as part of the local community.

The Independent Living service offers customers an assured warm welcome, with like-minded neighbours who will quickly become good friends. There are studios or one-bedroom apartments to choose from, all of which are finished to a high standard with assistive technology.

BHA’s operations director Dan Blake said: “It has been a real privilege to develop our Independent Living service alongside our customers and in collaboration with our partners, Alertacall.

“Our focus has always been to take a community-based approach to our customers’ wellbeing. Our skilled teams, at the heart of these communities, continue to be our main strength across this model, however, coupling that with assistive technology has enabled us to ensure our people enjoy their independence with a blend of in person and virtual support at home.”

BHA’s dedicated staff are on site from Monday through to Friday to provide housing services to customers and that extra reassurance should they require it.

BHA launched its new partnership with Alertacall in December 2020 when it introduced the Housing Proactive housing management service to all its Independent Living courts. All customers are provided with a tablet device upon signing up to their new home. This maintains regular contact with tenants using specially developed technology and a highly trained contact centre team. The system confirms safety, improves tenant communication and gives individuals more flexibility in how and when they engage with their housing service all at the simple touch of a button.

Other advantages of the Independent Living Service include:

  • Visits from onsite Housing Staff teams, upon request or at a frequency that meets customer’s needs
  • Onsite Housing staff to report repairs, request tenancy advice for things such as rent or financial support or simply as you enter your new home to make sure you settle in and that you are happy in your new BHA home
  • 24hr Alarm call services linked to emergency services (Hanover 24/7 care)
  • Staff or volunteers onsite delivering a wide range of leisure and social activities (Monday – Friday)
  • Communal spaces (indoor and outside) are secure and comforting. Housing teams ensure these areas are maintained and well looked after providing a pleasant setting to meet friends and family. Communal lounges have Hearing Loop systems installed to aid with hearing impairment
  • Digital Champions are available upon appointment to support customers with accessing the internet and using devices for whatever is important to them
  • WiFi and a Lending Library for digital devices
  • Opportunities for customers to take part in other volunteering opportunities such as intergenerational work with local schools
  • Customers with more complex or critical needs will be assisted to apply and/or be referred for Scottish Borders Council Care Packages
  • All sites are soon to be equipped with CCTV at front and rear entrances.

Alertacall director Martin Cutbill said: “We are thrilled to be working with BHA, which we successfully introduced at a time of many pandemic restrictions. Our Housing Proactive service substantially increases two-way communication between a housing provider and its customers meaning BHA teams can work much more efficiently. BHA has developed a truly impressive Independent Living service and we are absolutely delighted our service is at its heart.”

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