FOLD Housing Association admitted this week it has only been able to allocate four homes out of 15 ‘independent living’ bungalows at Gnangara Home on the Sligo Road, Enniskillen.
The facility took in the first of its residents in early 2011.
The home features 15 homes for people with dementia, and 15 independent living ‘bungalows’.
These cater for older people with similar needs, but who are able to live more independently.
However, despite widespread marketing in the area, only four of these ‘bungalows’ are occupied. Fiona McAnespie, Fold’s Director of Care Services, told the Herald that Fold was committed to achieving full occupancy.
She explained that the scheme at Gnangara had been awarded to Fold by the Sperrin and Lakeland Trust and Supporting People following a competition.
“As regards the 15 bungalows, the care and support is assessed on an individual basis, and there is provision for partners or carers to live alongside the person in receipt of care.”
The bungalows have one or two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room, and each property has its own front door an internal back yard. There is a 24-hour Telecare link in case of emergencies.
But, Ms McAnespie insisted that the ‘bungalow’ option was viable.
“This housing model is in great demand elsewhere. It has been identified as best practice in supported housing by the Housing Executive and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.
“It has, however, proved difficult to allocate in Enniskillen.”
She explained that, apart from the extensive marketing spend, staff regularly liaise with the Trust and the Housing Executive.
“They have also met with the Chief Executive of Health and Social Care Board, the Department for Social Development, Ministers, MLA’s and councillors.
“Last February, the Fold Board held a special strategic workshop at the scheme to look at all possible plans for fully utilising the scheme.
“Fold and the staff of Gnangara remain fully committed to achieving full occupancy”, she added, “and will continue working with all commissioning partners, public representatives and the local community to achieve this goal.”
Established in 1976, Fold is one of the leading Housing Associations in Northern Ireland, supporting over 5,000 tenants in its purpose built housing.
Fold employs over 800 people throughout 96 different work locations in Northern Ireland and provides support to its sister organisation in the Republic, Fold Ireland.
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