A scheme that has helped more than 1,500 people to remain living independently in the communities that they love has marked its landmark 20th anniversary.
The Extra Care programme launched in North Yorkshire in 2003, and there are now 28 housing schemes, with properties for rent and to buy, across the county.
The schemes offer both purpose-built housing as well as care and support for residents, and some developments also host a local library, a shop or a café.
More than 1,500 older and disabled people have benefited from the Extra Care project over the past 20 years, allowing them to remain living in towns and villages across North Yorkshire.
Twenty years ago, the original plan was for 20 sites opened by 2025, although that figure is now expected to be as high as 30 schemes.
Current sites include villages such as Bainbridge and Castleton as well as towns including Harrogate, Scarborough, Selby and Skipton.
The county’s first Extra Care site, The Orchards, in Brompton, near Northallerton, has celebrated its 20th anniversary this week after becoming the first location to open in North Yorkshire.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for health and adult services, Cllr Michael Harrison, visited on Monday (May 15) along with the authority’s corporate director for health and adult services, Richard Webb, to join residents and staff from the authority and Broadacres Housing Association for the anniversary.
Among the residents who took part was Ruth Fuller, who moved into The Orchards when it opened.
Cllr Harrison said:
Extra Care is a service that has stood the test of time and I would like to pay tribute to those members and officers and partner agencies who had the original vision and who have then translated it into reality right across the county.
This type of housing is at the heart of our support for older and disabled residents, as well as having a wider impact in making our towns and villages good places in which to live and work.
Also among those living at The Orchards is 95-year-old Doreen Collier, who moved in almost a year ago.
I still felt able to do most things, so I didn’t want to go down the care home route.
The Orchards allows me to keep my independence by having my own apartment, whilst being supported by care workers. I knew this was the place for me from the start as I liked the staff and it has a friendly atmosphere.
Registered manager Claire Budd moved to a career in Extra Care early in the scheme’s history, after working in more conventional care services.
She said Extra Care often surprised those who moved in, and added:
When they have experienced it, some people wish that they had moved in sooner.
The success of Extra Care in the county has been due to a partnership between local government, the Government’s Homes England agency, which is responsible for housing investment, and local housing associations and developers. A total of £9 million has been invested in Extra Care facilities in North Yorkshire in the past few years alone.
Accommodation varies from site to site, offering homes for outright purchase, shared ownership or rent, in different combinations. There are generally one and two-bedroomed bungalows available.
The Orchards provides a combination of apartments and bungalows, with a range of support services and other amenities for residents and is managed by Broadacres Housing Association.
The chief executive of Broadacres Housing Association, Gail Teasdale, added:
Extra Care is not residential or nursing accommodation. Everyone has their own front doors and can live as independently as they want to.
The schemes have lovely communal spaces so there are opportunities to make friends and join in with activities if you want to.
If over time more care is needed, then the support is available there in the building delivered by a team that families and friends get to know.
North Yorkshire Council is now looking to work with housing association partners to plan and build new Extra Care schemes, and further announcements are expected later this year.