Westwood and Longmans have been remodelled
Two of the twenty-two sheltered housing schemes owned by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and managed by South Essex Homes have been remodelled.
The internal layouts of both Longmans in Rampart Street, Shoeburyness and Westwood in Eastwood Old Road, Leigh have been redesigned to meet Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requirements for Extra Care usage.
The original layouts did not comply with minimum space required by the DDA in terms of door widths and working heights within the flats. Also, they did not allow sufficient space to suit wheelchair users, being only approximately 30 square metres in size.
Now the corridor and flat door frames have been widened in line with DDA requirements, together with the addition of two DDA-compliant lifts.
The lounge area has been enlarged to include dining facilities. The previous kitchen only allowed for the preparation of tea and coffee but now the kitchen area has tripled in size and has enhanced cooking facilities.
Neighbouring pairs of studio flats have been knocked together to make one large one-bedroom flat, which are now around 60 square metres in size. Within each bedroom area, there is space for a double bed with enough room around the bed for carers to be able to help the resident, or for a hoist to be installed if necessary.
The old sheltered housing officer’s area has been converted into a support staff administration area for the use of carers, which also enables overnight waking /sleeping cover.
All residents will benefit from a new care response system. This is similar to the Careline system but in addition to the ‘pull cord’, a resident may wear a pendant around their neck, or an alert device on the wrist or waist which will alert care staff in the event of a fall or emergency. The system operates via Wi-fi, which can also detect if the resident stays in the same location for a prolonged period of time and, in such events, help can be sent to check on their wellbeing.
The needs of those with visual impairments have also been considered during the decoration of both scheme - for example, the colour of the flooring differs in each section of the buildings to help such residents work out where they are. Signage is very clear and is also provided in Braille.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, Councillor Lesley Salter said: “These are extremely high quality and sensitively designed adaptations.
“The safety and well being of our residents is paramount. We are very pleased that this accommodation has been re-developed so thoroughly with extra support for those with extra needs.
“In addition, the new care response system will give all residents and their relatives peace of mind, knowing that help can instantly be summoned, while at the same time, crucially enabling people to maintain their independence for as long as possible.”
Traci Dixon, Group Manager for Housing Services, said: “Longmans and Westwood now provide top quality, modern facilities for those who require extra care in Southend and we are delighted to have been able to breathe new life into accommodation which was previously deemed ‘unfit’ for purpose. The new flats are proving very popular and I am sure they will very soon be fully occupied. I hope the residents enjoy living in the newly-designed flats.”
Longmans was officially re-opened on Monday, 26th November, and Westwood will be re-opened during a ceremony on Thursday, 29th November.