Housing minister opens pioneering age friendly development in Edinburgh
Housing minister Margaret Burgess has visited the first residents at a recently completed development that is set to become a new model of housing for older people.
The £6 million development at Fortune Place in Edinburgh is designed to offer independent living for people aged 60 and over and is part of Castle Rock Edinvar’s ‘1000 Homes for Edinburgh’ initiative to deliver new affordable homes over the next five years in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council.
Fortune Place is a redevelopment of the now demolished St Barnabas Court, one of the first sheltered housing developments in Scotland built by Castle Rock in 1974, and the adjacent council owned care home at Craigour. It brings together many strands of the Scottish Government’s strategic priorities.
Designed by Edinburgh architects Smith Scott Mullan, the 54 one and two bedroom flats are dementia friendly, include wi-fi to improve digital participation and access to telehealth and telecare solutions and have a district heating system to address fuel poverty. All residents have direct access to outdoor space. An onsite concierge maintains the communal areas and provides handyman services to customers. Eight of the new homes are allocated to older people who require complex care packages provided by City of Edinburgh Council and are supported on site by Places for People Scotland Care and Support, a subsidiary of Castle Rock Edinvar.
In formally opening the development, Mrs Burgess said: “Fortune Place is a fantastic example of the vision and desire to provide housing specifically designed for older people, and it’s been wonderful to see first-hand the difference this development will make to the lives of those living here.
“The Scottish Government is committed to increasing the supply of new homes and enabling the elderly to live independently in their own homes wherever possible. These kind of welcoming, connected and integrated affordable housing units are the kind of homes I would encourage all partners involved in the development of affordable housing for older people to be building.”
The minister was joined at the event by Maureen McGinn, chair of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland Committee which awarded £356k towards an extended garden room and to develop outside space and an activity programme for residents.
Maureen McGinn said: “This new building will allow many older people to live independent and fulfilling lives while also creating a warm and welcoming place to call home. We’re delighted to have been able to invest over £356,469 in the project allowing residents to come together, make new friends and enjoy a wide range of activities from art therapy to Tai Chi. On behalf of the Big Lottery Fund I would like to send my congratulations to everyone involved in the project and wish them every success for the future.”
Castle Rock Edinvar managing director Alister Steele added: “Completion of Fortune Place is a key achievement in our journey to take up the Scottish Government challenge to develop new models of housing for older people outlined in the Age, Home and Community Strategy. It is another excellent example of the value of partnership working and we believe we have created the new blueprint for inclusive, affordable homes for older people in Scotland where a culture of caring rather than cared for is evident.”