Council works with Lifeways, to create emergency accommodation and relieve pressure on the NHS


Council and care provider repurpose building in Chatteris to create rapid response unit for vulnerable adults, after government lockdown puts a hold on the building opening as independent living apartments.

The pressure to increase the rate of appropriate hospital discharge and free up NHS beds is ever present, and something that has only been heightened by the coronavirus crisis.

Lifeways, one of UK’s market leaders in support services for adults with diverse and complex needs, where due to open Barber Gardens, a new 18 apartment development in Chatteris, earlier this year, to support adults with learning disabilities and autism to live independently – but they were forced to put plans on hold due to the government lockdown.

Keen to do everything they could to help alleviate pressure on the system, Cambridgeshire County Council worked directly with Lifeways, and owners Triple Point and Inclusion Housing CIC, to repurpose the building as a rapid response accommodation space to safely house vulnerable adults during the crisis.

The flexible accommodation offers a lifeline for vulnerable people who otherwise might have remained in hospital occupying urgently needed hospital beds, or for anyone requiring support and currently living with their parents who are in a high risk category and need to be shielded. The individual apartments will also benefit those with a need to self-isolate.

The council has taken full responsibility for the service for an initial 3-month period, to help during the peak of the pandemic, with Lifeways providing all the support, operational staff and resources for those moving in.

The first person, a young man with autism, moved in on Monday 20th April.
Lifeways and the Council are working closely with social workers and NHS discharge teams to move more people in imminently.

Will Patten, Service Director for Commissioning at Cambridgeshire County Council commented, ‘Everyone involved in this has been magnificent, and I want to thank Lifeways, Inclusion CIC, Triple Point and my Council colleagues for the quick thinking and hard work that has taken place to make this happen. By acting quickly and collaboratively, we have created a facility that will support vulnerable adults and free up NHS beds at a time when they are most in need’

Will Oborne, Community Engagement and Development Manager for Lifeways, said, ‘We realised that we had a fantastic facility lying idle and we wanted to take the opportunity to help where we could in the fight against COVID-19. It is remarkable that through strong partnership working between Cambridgeshire County Council and Lifeways, we have managed to create such an important facility in such a short space of time. We are very proud of our Operations Team who have done the work on the ground to make this happen.”

Justin Tydeman, CEO of Lifeways, added “This is a great example of how partnership working can bring about positive change in times of need. I’m incredibly proud of all our teams who have pulled together and made this resource available so quickly. We are proud to help support and shield the most vulnerable in society while helping to ease the current pressure on the NHS.”


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