Now celebrating its 50th year, The Abbeyfield Kent Society has started work on its Maidstone extra care housing scheme, one of three planned projects in Kent, which combined, will provide care and housing for hundreds of older people.
The Larkfield extra care housing scheme, which is scheduled for completion in 2018, will provide 74 one and two apartments for over 55s, all available on an affordable rent basis (with 20 reserved specifically for veterans). Work started at the end of September, with the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle, joining the Society and other guests at a celebratory event on site.
As well as the Larkfield scheme, the Society also has plans for two further schemes in Tonbridge and Wateringbury. The first of these is in Tonbridge where works are due to start formally in January 2017. As a second all affordable scheme, it will comprise a mix of 59 one and two bedroom apartments with 35 available for rent and 24 for sale through Older Peoples Shared Ownership (OPSO).
With the alarming rate of which care homes are closing rapidly increasing, the Society’s planned extra care schemes will be a small, but much needed, dent in the 2,542 units that Kent County Council requires for the future, according to its latest Accommodation Strategy.
The rise in extra care schemes will be a huge support to the NHS, with residents receiving care and support, and possibly rehabilitation, in their own home, which is suitable for their needs. The growth of extra care will also lessen the impact of the housing crisis, releasing homes for young families.
Leon Steer, Chief Executive of the Society, commented: “Our charity has been providing accommodation and care for older people in Kent for 50 years and we aim to use our experience to continue meeting the changing needs of our older community for the next 50 years.
“These projects will create three years of development work an abundance of new permanent jobs, strengthening the economy and relieving the suffering of many vulnerable people, as well as supporting the NHS and housing market.”