Older people hoping to move into the new retirement village in Wixams have made their mark on the future. They were able to contribute to a time capsule which will later be buried on the site.
Items that were placed in the time capsule included a list of every Bedford Mayor dating back 850 years, a keyring from Kempston Park Bowls Club and a children’s book called The Bedford Chronicles about the history of the area.
Work has started on the £44m retirement village which opens its doors in 2019. Over 600 people have already registered their interest in the village which will have 230 self-contained homes for outright purchase, shared ownership and rent.
The village is a partnership between registered charity, The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, the Harpur Trust, Bedford Borough Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.
Guests at a special time capsule ceremony included Elected Mayor of Bedford Borough, Councillor Dave Hodgson, local residents and village development partners. Amongst those taking part was 71 year old grandmother Liz Woodmansee, who is hoping to move to the village along with her 81 year old husband Ken.
Ken has had heart surgery and has also had strokes which reduced his mobility. “I find it increasingly difficult to cope with my caring role and the house and garden,” says Liz.
The couple, who have been married for 44 years, live in a three bedroomed terraced house in Sharnbrook, and they have both become increasingly isolated.
“We are convinced that the village will provide us with the social interaction we need and a safe and secure quality of life in which we can both thrive,” says Liz.
Lesley Blowers, Commissioning Manager for ExtraCare, said: “The ExtraCare Charitable Trust’s village in Wixams will offer peace of mind for over 300 residents, knowing they can remain independent in their own homes, with care available if they need it. We look forward to seeing an inspirational community forming around the village ahead of its opening in 2019.”
Lucy Bardner, Director of Community Programmes at the Harpur Trust, said: “We’ve been providing almshouses (accommodation for older residents) in Bedford for over 200 years and we’ve seen a lot of changes in the needs and aspirations of older people. We’re delighted to be partnering with ExtraCare to offer the residents in our care the best possible accommodation and support; having visited numerous schemes we know these villages have something to offer everyone now and in the future.”
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “We welcome this investment in our borough and are delighted that this method of housing helps to deliver homes in which older people can flourish.”
The village, on a six acre green field setting at Wixams, will provide a range of communal, social and leisure facilities.
Facilities will be open to residents and local older people, residents’ families and volunteers. They will include a reception and main street with communal seating areas, shop, library, IT suite, café bar and bistro, hairdressing and beauty salon, craft room, greenhouse and fitness suite.
Care will be available within the village to residents if they need it, delivered by ExtraCare’s dedicated staff team. A well-being and specialist dementia service will also be located within the village centre.
Independent research with Aston University has found that ExtraCare’s award-winning care and well-being services improve lives and reduce unplanned hospital stays and GP visits.
During its development the village will provide over 200 construction jobs.
Older people who would like to register their interest in the village can contact 0870 777 4800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
L-R Elected Mayor of Bedford Borough Cllr Dave Hodgson, prospective resident Liz Woodmansee, Trustee of The ExtraCare Charitable Trust Paul Jennings, Chairman of the Harpur Trust Grants Committee Ian McEwen and Bedford Borough Cllr Graeme Coombes
The ExtraCare Charitable Trust
ExtraCare is a registered charity established in 1988 and based in Coventry. Our vision is better lives for older people and our mission is creating sustainable communities that provide homes older people want, lifestyles they can enjoy and care if it’s needed. To deliver our vision and mission we essentially do three things:
Each village or scheme has 5 to 18 social, health and leisure facilities that are accessible to our residents, volunteers and local people representing all age groups living in surrounding communities. Our Charity Shops help fund care and well-being services for older people living at our each of our locations.
For further information, please contact:
Richard Tower, Communications Manager, on 0772 055 3658