Delighted residents were joined by VIPs to celebrate the multi-million pound transformation of two older people’s housing schemes in Coventry.
Tenants have recently moved in to the newly redeveloped apartments and bungalows at Collier Place, formerly Jack Ball House, in Potters Green and Bonneville Place, previously George Rowley House, in Canley.
They gathered to watch Coventry’s Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor John Blundell unveil a plaque at a celebratory event at Collier Place last Thursday (7th September) to commemorate completion of the work.
Kevin Rodgers, Chief Executive of WM Housing Group, also said a few words at the ceremony, which was followed by a buffet for all in the communal lounge.
Whitefriars Housing, part of WM Housing Group, has transformed the two schemes with a £4.9 million redevelopment programme over the last 18 months.
The homes now feature roof terraces and landscaped grounds, plus gardens currently being created with raised beds where the many green-fingered new residents can grow flowers, fruit and vegetables.
In the communal areas residents will be able to enjoy social events, as well as activities arranged by the schemes’ support officers – such as games afternoons, breakfast clubs, yoga and fun visits from local young people.
Ian Bevan was one of the first residents to move in at Collier Place. He said: “It is a beautiful place and I am delighted with my flat.
“The whole scheme is bright, light, airy and fresh, and it’s also quiet and peaceful – my flat looks out on to trees and the garden.
“I was living in a bedsit before, with one shared bathroom between 15 residents. This is all so much more modern, with a far bigger kitchen and bathroom plus nice communal areas like the roof terrace. I’m really pleased to be here.”
Another new resident, Kath Pitter, said: “My flat is beautiful – I’m really pleased with it. Having been in a bedsit before, it is lovely to have so much space and light, and to have a proper kitchen and my own bathroom.”
Both blocks of flats have been remodelled to create 14 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom self-contained apartments in each. Eight new two-bedroom bungalows have also been built at Collier Place and nine bungalows at Bonneville Place.
Each apartment scheme has a communal lounge and kitchen, a roof terrace, an office, lifts and storage areas for mobility scooters. The walls are also decorated with a variety of eye-catching artwork relating to Coventry’s history and local celebrities.
Catherine Collis, Assistant Director of Specialist Housing Services at WM Housing Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome our new residents, who have been giving us lots of positive feedback about these two schemes.
“Our redevelopment project has totally transformed the old out-dated blocks of flats – which were built in the 1980s – into attractive, modern, high quality homes which much better cater for the changing needs of today’s older people.”
These are the first schemes to be modernised as part of WM Housing Group’s five-year strategy to upgrade and update its older people’s accommodation and services.
The affordable homes – exclusively available to people aged 55 and over – have been developed by Whitefriars in partnership with construction company United Living, and supported by £891,000 of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
Caroline Cormack, Head of Home Ownership and Supply Midlands for the HCA, said: “We’re pleased to be able to support this redevelopment, as high quality homes like these are an important part of the HCA’s work to support older people. It’s fantastic to see local residents now living in their new homes.”
Richard Baker, Regional Director (Midlands) at United Living, said: “It’s really great to hear first-hand how our work has not only provided new and improved homes, but will help to build on the scheme’s community feel and bring the residents together”.