Great grandparents Lynne and Graham Chalk were amongst the guests at the opening of the new Longbridge Village show homes. The couple married when Lynne was just 16 and Graham was two years older.
“Usually at our time of life we are looking back but now we are looking forward and I can’t tell you how excited we are,” said Lynne.
The couple were joined by partners from The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, Birmingham City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency to open the new show homes.
Around 1,000 households have already registered their interest in the retirement village. It is the fifth of at least five villages planned as part of a £200m development programme between The ExtraCare Charitable Trust and Birmingham City Council. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has also invested £1.5m into the village’s development.
Lynne and Graham, who currently live nearby, are planning to move into a two bedroom shared ownership apartment at the Village.
Graham, who is 73 years old, has Parkinson’s. He worked in the car factory at Longbridge before he became a window cleaner. Lynne worked at Cadburys and then became a shop assistant.
“When you retire you are sort of lonely,” said 71 year old Lynne. “You can’t have your family around you all the time; they’ve got their own lives to live. We like company.”
The couple were also finding the large garden in their bungalow more difficult to manage. They know that help will be available at the village if they need it in the future. “It’s going to be there for you and we can stay together,” said Lynne.
Longbridge Village, which opens in 2017, will have a range of communal facilities including a bar and bistro, village hall, IT suite, hair and beauty salon, gym and shop. Facilities can be used by residents, their families and Longbridge residents. Over 50 activities will be on offer each week including IT classes, choir, gardening and wheelchair aerobics.
132 apartments will be available for shared ownership, 76 for outright sale and 52 for affordable rent. Each apartment will have its own hallway, living room, one or two bedrooms, kitchen and shower room. The majority will also have their own balcony.
Approximately a third of residents within the village will receive help with care. Dependent on individual circumstances, the village can support residents with significant assessed care needs, including dementia.
ExtraCare’s unique holistic approach to health and well-being in later life was validated by Aston University in a recent three-year research project, which found that ExtraCare residents experience a 46 per cent reduction in GP visits over the course of a year. The Charity’s approach results in significant savings for NHS budgets – over 12 months, total NHS costs for ExtraCare residents can reduce by 38 per cent.
Mick Laverty, ExtraCare’s Chief Executive, said: “This Village will provide comfortable homes in a safe and welcoming environment with a dedicated care team on site to support independent living in later life. The Village’s 18 community facilities will also provide a social and active lifestyle for local older people, friends, families and volunteers as part of a ‘community hub’.
“Longbridge is our fifth Birmingham Village which means ExtraCare we will be providing 1,152 village homes across the City by 2017. These five Villages are transforming the lives of over 1,300 local older people and have already ensured the release of over 600 much-needed family homes back into the wider community. Everyone wins.”
Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for Neighbourhood Management and Homes, Cllr John Cotton, said: “Our partnership with ExtraCare means that hundreds of older people in Longbridge will soon be living in affordable, quality housing. The state-of-the-art facilities on offer are exceptional and I really believe that they will help residents to be more independent, increase their levels of fitness and enjoy a high quality of life. The way the village is being set up means there will be no shortage of things to do or people to socialise with so residents will need never be lonely.”
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has invested £1.5m into the Village’s development. Karl Tupling, Executive Director for the Midlands for the HCA, said: “We’re pleased to have provided both land and funding for the Longbridge Retirement Village so it is great to see the scheme becoming a reality. The retirement village is just part of the overall regeneration work underway at the Longbridge site and is also a great example of the HCA’s work to support older people. Developments such as this play an important role in helping people remain as independent as they want to for as long as possible while at the same time releasing much needed family housing back into the housing market.”
The village forms part of regeneration specialist St Modwen’s £1 billion Longbridge regeneration scheme.
The show apartments will be open from Monday May 16. They will be open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm.
Local older people and their families wishing to view the apartments can phone 0300 303 2333 for more details or go to the Longbridge Village webpages.
Picture: Future residents Lynne and Graham Chalk, Councillor John Cotton, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Management and Homes, and Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Mike Leddy
For further information, please contact:
Richard Tower, Communications Manager, on 0772 055 3658