Blackwood launches next phase of pioneering homes for independent living

by Kelly Horn

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

Blackwood’s Helenvale development opens in Glasgow

A UNIQUE COLLECTION of 24 homes fitted with cutting-edge technology which transforms lives has officially opened its doors.

Blackwood’s Helenvale development with Cruden Homes celebrated the launch with a virtual event over Zoom where Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, engaged with residents.

The Glasgow East End development is the next phase of the revolutionary Blackwood House and comprises highly accessible and connected two-bedroom flats which have been fully developed with independent living in mind.

Mr Stewart, who has been the Housing Minister since 2016, is delighted that the development, with grant funding from Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, provides a model for older people or people with disabilities to live in their own home, within local communities.

He said: “Every time I attend a Blackwood opening there is something that really impresses me. From experience, not only as Minister but in my constituency capacity, I am always amazed at how Blackwood staff go above and beyond the call of duty to help customers.

“I’m really pleased to see Blackwood continue to grow with this development at Helenvale and I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved. I know the amount of team effort that goes into it, and I know Blackwood puts tenants’ needs at the very heart of what it is delivering.

“I have no doubt that Blackwood will have done its best in terms of kitting out those new properties. I wish everyone who has moved in all the very best in your new homes.”

Helenvale follows the hugely successful launch of the Blackwood House in Dundee. The design ensures people can live safely and independently with choice and control over all aspects of their life.

This has become even more important in the light of Covid-19 so that people can live safely in their own homes.

Many of the residents previously lived in accommodation unsuitable for their needs – in family homes, upstairs flats with no lifts, or even in nursing homes – so Helenvale is indeed life-changing for them.

One resident said her move to Helenvale was life changing as she was in a care home for the last six years and is delighted to be in her new flat where her family can visit in her own home. She also commented on how independent she now is and looking forward to her future.

Parents of another resident said they were over the moon that their daughter was thriving in her new home with support from the Blackwood team there. As a family, they had worried about finding the right place for her to live independently.

Max Brown, Chair of Blackwood, thanked the Minister and welcomed the support of the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and the Health and Social Care Partnership, and the hard work done by Cruden Homes during the pandemic to complete the homes.

He also thanked Blackwood’s housing and care teams who provide the daily support for residents, and emphasised the need for many more of these accessible homes over the next five years.

Fanchea Kelly, Chief Executive at Blackwood, said: “This was an unusual opening of our wonderful new homes at Helenvale. It was fantastic to have the Minister perform the opening ceremony as he’s been a great advocate for what we aim to achieve and, both in terms of the homes and technology, has always had a real interest in what we’re doing for the community.

“Of course, the homes really aren’t anything without the people living in them, so that’s why it was so important that residents could share their experiences with the Minister.”

Simon Fitzpatrick, Development and Commercial Director at Blackwood, said: “The 24 flats at Helenvale have the latest designs and technology to enable people to live as independently as possible, and have been built in line with our Blackwood Design Guide to make them accessible, affordable, connected, as well as beautiful.

“The bathroom and central kitchen design creates a home with no corridors which minimizes unnecessary barriers between living zones and creates an open spacious area that maximizes natural light.

“We have also embraced energy efficiency and low carbon standards by providing underfloor heating and solar panels, meeting current as well as proposed future standards to make each property sustainable and contribute to Scotland’s aim of net zero by 2045.

“None of this would’ve been possible without the commitment of a wide team, including Glasgow City Council’s housing team, occupational therapists and social workers from Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership, and crucially our customers, who continue to provide feedback to help us co-design and build homes for the future.”

The innovative homes include automated sliding pocket doors, blinds and rise and fall surfaces, sinks and cupboards, allowing people with a broad range of mobility issues to live independently. Other special features include contemporary bathrooms fitted with a rise and fall sink, a fully-adjustable shower and a self-cleaning toilet.

Digital support through Blackwood’s digital care system, CleverCogs, allows residents to control of all aspects of the house.

Blackwood aims to help people live their life to the full, by providing services which support them to live independently.

As Blackwood works in 29 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, it is more widely dispersed than most other care or housing providers and has used its investment in innovation in design and technology, combined with great staff teams, to offer more choice and control to customers across Scotland.

For more information, please visit: https://www.blackwoodgroup.org.uk

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