A partnership between 4 groups is addressing the need for social care and housing – including for people with learning disabilities – in Welsh communities.
The Pobl Group, First Choice Housing Association, Neath Port Talbot Council and Hale Construction have worked together to develop the Cwrt Yr Ysgol community, on the former Briton Ferry Special Needs School in Neath Port Talbot.
Architects W Griffiths and Glass took into account the demand for affordable, good quality housing while also being sensitive to the need for supported accommodation to enable those with learning disabilities to live in their own communities.
The £2 million development is the latest to be funded through the Welsh Government's Social Housing Grant programme, which is managed by Neath Port Talbot Council.
Head of projects for development and new business Elfed Roberts said Gwalia, part of the Pobl Group, is working in partnership with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council’s Housing Strategy team to address the need for social housing in Neath Port Talbot.
He said: “This is the first time we have worked collaboratively with First Choice Housing and I see this as a way forward to addressing the shortage of good quality social housing while also providing sustainable supported accommodation for those with learning difficulties in their local communities. A co-ordinated approach by architects W Griffiths and Glass and Hale Constructed ensured that both developments were completed simultaneously to help create that instant community feel.”
Cwrt Yr Ysgol has 12 2- and 3-bedroom homes, which will be let by Gwalia, and supported accommodation delivered by First Choice Housing Association for 10 with staff on site 24 hours a day to promote independent living skills and community integration.
Richard Lloyd, First Choice Housing Association director of operations, said: “We are pleased to have been involved in this scheme which will offer vulnerable individuals the opportunity to live independently and integrate within their local community. By working in partnership we have been able to provide affordable housing and supported accommodation collectively which will make a positive difference to the lives of those living in the Cwrt Yr Ysgol community. “
Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Ali Thomas OBE, said collaborative working between partners will help address the need for social care and housing in Neath Port Talbot. "I am pleased that the local authority in its strategic housing authority role has brought together this highly successful collaboration,” he said. “The local authority will be looking to encourage further such collaborations for the benefit of local communities. Housing delivers so much more than bricks and mortar, this scheme is a great example of how housing can make a real difference to people's lives and quality of life. As well as achieving all this, the scheme has helped local jobs, skills and training opportunities, all of which are important priorities for the local authority. We strive very hard to make sure our citizens live in safe and high quality communities."
Jonathan Hale, managing director of Hales, said several small businesses benefited directly from the contract. “Working collaboratively with both Pobl and First Choice Housing has been a pleasure. We took on board the needs of the surrounding community during construction and to see how the community has taken shape has been wonderful.”