Page added on February 12, 2013
The City Mayor and his executive team have agreed a £750,000 contribution towards a new £8.75m extra care facility in the city.
The historic Abbey Mills building, in Abbey Park Lane, will be transformed into a facility that supports a range of vulnerable adults, including people with learning difficulties, mental health problems and older people.
As part of the project, which is being led and majority-funded by Asra Housing Group, the city council will provide £750,000 over a three year period – £300k in the first year, £350k in the second and £100k in the third. Further funding of £912k will also come from the government’s Home and Communities Agency (HCA).
In return for the council’s investment, it will be able to place its own service users in 50 out of the 78 units within the development. The remaining 28 units would be privately rented.
The council had already put £1.25m of capital investment aside in 2012 for supported living projects and had planned to re-model some of its existing housing stock (between 18 and 24 units) to create more suitable accommodation. Instead, £750k from this pot will now be redirected to support Abbey Mills.
As a result, this will mean that more extra care facilities will be available in a much shorter timescale. In addition the council will be saving money because the average price of upgrading a council property would be in the region of £40k to £50k, compared to £15k per flat at Abbey Mills.
Assistant City Mayor, Cllr Rita Patel, responsible for adult social care, said: “This really is a fantastic opportunity for us. We had already set aside money to re-model some of our own housing stock into supported living accommodation but by re-directing some of this money to Abbey Mills, we will be able to provide our service users with more extra care facilities much more quickly.
“Not only will this redevelopment provide much-needed supported living accommodation, it will be preserving an important building in Leicester’s architectural heritage.”
Asra Housing Group already own an extra care facility (The Wolsey) next to Abbey Mills, which has 63 self-contained flats. The Wolsey has on-site care staff, non-resident management staff and a community alarm service. There is also a lounge, dining room, garden, hobby room, hairdressing salon and an assisted bathing facility.
It is proposed that the refurbishment of Abbey Mills will connect to the adjoining Wolsey building via a walkway. This will enable people living in Abbey Mills to benefit from the facilities in the Wolsey building.
Matt Cooney, chief executive of Asra Housing Group, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Leicester City Council to convert and refurbish the historic Abbey Mills building into a multi-million pound extra-care scheme.
“The building used to be a stockings factory and reached nation-wide fame when it provided Captain Scott with his warmth-preserving clothing when he attempted to be the first person to reach the South Pole. Our investment will mean the historic nature of this building is preserved and will now have a lasting legacy by providing ground-breaking care to the over 55s in Leicester.
“This development, when complete, will link to our Wolsey Building next door, which also provides extra-care to the over 55s – creating a landmark extra care hub in the East Midlands. Together they will ensure an area of great historical value in Leicester is preserved for generations to come.”
The project is set to be completed by March 2015.