£2m supported living facility plans unveiled

Thursday, 5 July 2018

PLANS have been unveiled to provide new supported living accomodation in Strabane for people with a learning disability.
The proposed £2 million facility was unveiled to the public at a launch event on Monday and will see the redevelopment of a property known as 'Gentleman's Residence' on the Curlyhill Road.
The project is being delivered by Mencap Northern Ireland in partnership with Golden Lane Housing and the Western Health and Social Care Trust and will provide housing on a long-term and short break respite basis.
It is expected the facility could cater for up to 50 people and will be developed in phases - subject to planning permisson - with the first phase pencilled in for completion in mid 2019 and phase two in 2020.
Mencap says the facility will offer a mix of shared and single person supported living apartments, bungalows and houses based in a well-established site with natural green spaces where tenants can enjoy the stunning outdoors from their own home.
The charity added that its vision is that the Curlyhill facility will offer a mix of "attractive, spacious, and accessible housing and short break accommodation that will make the most of its garden and woodland surroundings".
Speaking about the development yesterday (Tuesday), Barry McMenamin, Mencap NI Personal Support Service regional manager said it is a huge investment.
"We are very excited to display plans for our new supported living accommodation in partnership with Golden Lane Housing.
"This new accommodation and personalised support will provide an opportunity to transform the lives of each individual we support with a learning disability in the Strabane area.
"Mencap has been supporting and working with people with a learning disability across NI for many years.
"This type of service further increases our capacity to support people locally with a learning disability to live independently in their community," he added.
Also commenting was Alastair Graham, director of Golden Lane Housing (GLH) - which purchased Curlyhill in agreement with Mencap and the Western Trust.
He added: "It's great to be delivering high quality homes to help tackle the challenges people with a learning disability face in finding a home in NI.
"We are delighted to be working with Mencap to provide much needed housing for people with a learning disability in NI so that they can live their lives as independently as possible. We look forward to submitting plans to Derry and Strabane District Council."
News of the planned facility has been heralded by local politicians who say it will see the creation of jobs as well as the provision of a valuable service in the town for clients and their families.
'Good news'
Local MLA., Michaela Boyle, has lobbied long and hard for such a facility to be located in the town. Mrs Boyle, who is Sinn Féin's disability spokesperson, said: "This is a huge good news story for this area but especially to those with a learning disability who want so much to live independently. This is also a huge relief for families.
"I am proud to have lobbied for these facilities and will continue to work closely with Mencap to ensure those with a learning disability are treated equally and listened to."
In welcoming the move, SDLP MLA., Daniel McCrossan, said he wants to see similar projects advanced for the wider Strabane area.
"This is a hugely welcomed move for Strabane and I do thank Mencap and the Western Trust for their work in bringing forward the project.
"Strabane has a major shortage in fit-for-purpose homes. This is especially the case for people with learning disabilities. This development will allow for these people to live as normal and as independent as possible.
"This is a huge step forward for Strabane and it is a genuine good news story. I have been engaging with Mencap and the Trust over recent months pushing for the project to go ahead. The case now needs to be made to the Trust and to the Department of Health that many more similar developments are desperately needed for the area," he added.


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