A new retirement village officially opened in Stoke Gifford on Thursday 14th March, marking a milestone for the residents and the area.
The village, part of a £56m development programme between retirement charity The ExtraCare Charitable Trust and with South Gloucestershire Council and Bristol City Council, with a contribution of £2.4m from Homes England through the Department of Health and Social Care’s ‘Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund’.
The Village was officially opened by residents Sheila and Brian Lomas, Councillor Ben Stokes, South Gloucestershire Council and Councillor Helen Holland, Bristol City Council.
More than one hundred older people have moved into Stoke Gifford Village during the winter with apartments available for outright sale, shared ownership and rent. They include Sheila, 85, who moved to the village with her husband Brian Lomas, 82 in November. Since moving, Sheila has experienced an improvement in her mobility. She says: “Now I am out of my wheelchair and have been going to the gym every day. I go on the cycling machine which is really helping with my legs and means I am able to walk around with my walker.”
Sheila continues: “Moving into the village has given me so many opportunities to take part in activities and meet new people. We have no worries now! Moving here is the best thing we have ever done, we are both so happy!”
The village has 261 one and two bed apartments, and is set across approximately 5.5 acres. Facilities include a bar and bistro, village hall, library and IT suite, hair and beauty salon, gym and shop. The village is also home to an innovation apartment which will showcase the use of assistive technologies and demonstrate how smart devices can support independent living for longer.
A recent study, with Aston University and Lancaster University, found that residents living in ExtraCare’s retirement villages reduced their dependence on GP and hospital services. This means a 38% reduction in NHS costs per person each year. Exercise by residents increased to 75%, anxiety levels dropped by 23%, and 86.5% were never or hardly ever lonely.
The villages integrate lifestyle, homes and care, and are transforming lives for local older. ExtraCare’s villages become social hubs with facilities available to thousands of local people representing all generations across the local community.
ExtraCare Charitable Trust Chief Executive, Mick Laverty, said: “We’re pleased to be offering the new residents at Stoke Gifford Village a secure and comfortable home, with care if they need it. Our villages support older people with a diverse mix of interests, circumstances and health needs. Our new innovation apartment will help us to accelerate the pace at which we can introduce smart technology, it will allow us to trial and pilot new devices to see what works best for our residents and what we could introduce into our future developments.”
Cllr Ben Stokes, Cabinet Member responsible for Adult Care at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see this new ExtraCare village officially open. We want to make sure that our growing number of older residents continue to live well and carry on leading fulfilling lives well into their later years. These unique purpose-built facilities for the over 55s help residents stay living independently for longer, and having the privacy of your own apartment whilst knowing that care assistance is available 24/7 not only provides peace of mind for people living in the village, but for their families too.”
Cllr Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Bristol City Council, said: “It is fantastic to see the village up and running, and helping older people maintain their independence for longer. ExtraCare housing gives people privacy and the security of having their own home, but with the reassurance that care is available when it’s needed. The village has a whole host of community facilities on site, which encourages people to interact and create friendships, in turn helping to reduce isolation and loneliness. We believe that residents here will find new friendship and develop new interests that will help them live well for longer.”
Peter Jones, Head of Affordable Housing & Supply for Homes at Homes England added: “Homes England recognises the importance of good quality housing for older people and we are pleased to have worked alongside The ExtraCare Charitable Trust and the two Councils to provide affordable options through our funding to meet such a growing need.”
A registered charity since 1988, the ExtraCare Charitable Trust operates 19 other retirement villages and schemes across the country, located in central, south and north midlands and the North West and is developing new villages in Bedford and Solihull. Its Lark Hill village in Nottingham, the largest retirement village in the UK, recently featured in the second series of BAFTA nominated Old People’s Home for 4-Year Olds on Channel 4.
See a short internal fly through of Stoke Gifford Village: