Housing project in Fort Augustus completed

A pilot scheme by the Highland Council to develop housing provision that sits as a ‘stepping stone’ between living entirely independently in the community and living as a resident in the Telford Centre Care Home in Fort Augustus has been completed.

Housing project in Fort Augustus completed

Gavin Brown, contracts manager for Compass Building and Construction Services, Shirley MacDonald, housing development assistant, Anna Wasko, housing management officer, Julie Vivers, housing manager, Harry Whiteside, chair of the Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company, Claire Cameron NHS Highland programme manager, Kerry Watson, Telford Centre Care Home manager, Emma Micklethwaite, housing development officer, Karen-Anne Wilson, NHS District manager for Lochaber and Cllr Margaret Davidson.

The Telford Centre housing development pilots a new type of house – a flexible, adapted property designed to support residents with an increasing need to stay at home and live independently for longer.

The six houses are self-contained, with flexible kitchen provision to cater for wheelchair users, and fully adapted bathrooms accessible from both the hallway and directly from the main bedroom via a sliding door if required.

There is an additional room to the rear which can be used flexibly as required, for example, as a small dining area, or space for an overnight carer or guests. Patio doors onto the garden from the lounge allow residents to sit out, and a large covered porch can act as a dry entranceway, a place to park a mobility scooter or other such transport, or a place for table and chairs.

Residents receiving care will continue to do so via their visiting Care at Home packages. By grouping the homes in a “cluster” care delivery will be much more efficient as carers won’t have to travel long distances between clients; maximising the time they can spend with them.

As part of the project the existing gardens have been much improved with the care home’s original patio being re-laid, their gazebo refurbished, and new benches and planters installed with improved paths that can accommodate mobility scooters right up to the front door. The gardens will be communal, shared between the new residents and the care home.

Housing project in Fort Augustus completed

The architect was Bracewell Stirling, the engineer was HGA and the contractor was Compass Building and Construction Services. The project was delivered under budget.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, leader of the Highland Council and Ward 12 Member, said: “Development of adapted houses is not new to the Council, but this pilot takes the fresh step of building the units in the grounds of the Telford Centre Care Home to provide the missing link between living independently and entering a formal care setting.

“We’ve worked closely with the NHS and with the local Community Company, who kindly provided some of the land needed to enlarge the Care Home garden sufficiently for the 6 units we have built, and I think the project is a splendid example of how partnership working can bring tangible benefits to communities. I am sure the new residents will be very happy in their new homes.”

Harry Whiteside, chairperson of the Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company, added: “Access to affordable housing is crucial for sustaining rural communities, and we were pleased to be able to support Highland Council with this project through the sale of a piece of community owned land. The new bungalows will be a great asset to the community, allowing elderly residents and those with mobility issues to live in the village, with easy access to facilities and the Telford Centre.

“Affordable housing is an issue close to FAGCC’s heart and having just completed building 12 new homes for affordable rent ourselves we know that the new Abertarff Bungalows will be very much appreciated.”

Karen-Anne Wilson, the NHS district manager for Lochaber, joined Cllr Davidson and Harry Whiteside for a tour of the new homes. She said: “This is a really exciting development for the area so I am delighted to see the homes completed and ready for people to move into.”

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