North Yorkshire County Council’s executive today agreed unanimously to take the first step in a £1m procurement exercise which will see a substantial expansion in its flagship Extra Care programme for older people to meet soaring demand.
The county council will now go forward to assess potential specialist partners in a major undertaking which could revolutionise care and support for the vulnerable as well as older people with the delivery of a further 30 Extra Care housing schemes across the county by 2020.
The executive gave the go-ahead today for £50,000 in funding to be released for initial legal advice on proposed contracts.
County Councillor Clare Wood, with Leonard Saxton, a resident of Popple Well Springs at the official opening of the Extra Care facility in Tadcaster, accompanied by County Council Chairman John Fort
County Councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for North Yorkshire said:
The potential benefits of such a project are endless. This is a self-financing model which could bring in millions of pounds to the county through regeneration as well as creating a massive opportunity for the construction industry, bringing jobs into the region The demographic challenges we face mean we have to find new ways of working and our market testing shows there are specialist partners out there who would be keen to accompany us on this journey.
North Yorkshire faces the prospect of a rapidly aging population and Extra Care is viewed by the county council as a long range and strategic approach to meeting the county’s needs, having the well-being, independence and choice of North Yorkshire’s citizens at its heart. By the end of this decade the county faces the prospect of one in four of the population aged over 65, 65 per cent more people aged over 85 with one in four over 80 experiencing a significant degree of dementia.
Extra Care has proved a highly successful solution so far to supporting the needs of older people while enabling them to live in a home of their own.
Extra Care allows people to maintain independence within their own communities secure in the knowledge that round-the-clock care and support is available according to need, coupled with facilities such as a restaurant, hairdressers’ salon, hobbies rooms, library facilities and other resources.
These schemes have also represented the best in partnership working with the county and district councils working together with housing associations and building contractors to create state-of-the art facilities. Extra Care enables couples to stay together and have their families to stay and for people to keep their pets. Indeed for some who have moved from residential care homes, Extra Care has marked an improvement in their independent living skills.
Each apartment usually has two bedrooms, a fully fitted kitchen, lounge and bathroom with level access shower and modern heating and insulation to regulate temperature levels. Care and support is delivered according to assessed needs and Extra Care can also provide high levels of community nursing as well as end-of-life palliative care.
Executive approval today marks the first step in an approach that could make North Yorkshire a national leader in the field with 1800 supported tenancies to be created on top of the 600 already in operation. The intention also is to widen the Extra Care model to accommodate the vulnerable as well as older people, providing a flexible solution also to the needs of those with learning and physical disabilities. It would also enable older people with vulnerable dependants to continue to live close to each other.
To date the county council has invested £11.8 million in 14 Extra Care schemes from Scarborough to Stokesley, Ripon and Bainbridge down to Selby with five more in the process of development.
Popple Well Springs, a scheme in Tadcaster officially opened last week; Lower Greenfoot, a scheme in Settle won planning consent two weeks ago; residents moved yesterday into Greyfriars in Richmond and three other proposals – two in Harrogate and one in Scarborough – are currently being finalised.
Leonard Saxton, a resident who moved with his wife into a two bedroom apartment at Popple Well Springs spoke at last Friday’s official opening about how the Extra Care scheme had proved a wonderful community to be part of where people looked out for each other and enjoyed each other’s company while maintaining an independent life behind their own front door. He praised highly the quality and beauty of the apartments and facilities which had enabled the couple to live independently and with dignity, secure in the knowledge that care would be there when they needed it, while enjoying wider friendships.
Cllr Wood added:
The Executive agreement today marks the beginning of our next big step in Extra Care provision. At the official opening of Popple Well Springs last week, the happiness and joy of every resident there convinced me even more that this is a model that works in every way. We have a fantastic opportunity here to make a real difference to people’s lives and to be national leaders in the field.