150 extra care homes proposed

Frances Renton

Margaret Burgess MSP, Scotlands Minister for Housing and Welfare, officiated at the opening of a ground-breaking extra care and general needs housing development in Peebles in 2014.
Frances Renton Margaret Burgess MSP, Scotlands Minister for Housing and Welfare, officiated at the opening of a ground-breaking extra care and general needs housing development in Peebles in 2014.

A partnership which could see 150 new extra care houses provided in the region was agreed by Scottish Borders Council this week.

The first 30 extra care houses will be built on land owned by the council at Todlaw, Duns.

The homes will be delivered by Trust Housing Association, providing accommodation in self-contained flats and offering care and support at the same level as residential care for those that need it 24 hours a day.

The council is looking to provide the 150 homes by 2022 across the region, at a cost of around £40m, which will give vulnerable groups and older people the option to live independently for as long as possible as an alternative to going into a care home, or at least delaying the need for that level of care.

The old Eyemouth High School site is also earmarked for 30 extra care houses as part of the programme.

In a report to councillors, housing consultant Anna Evans said that need for extra care housing was particularly strong in Berwickshire, and she included the views of Berwickshire residents in her report, with one saying ‘some people in Berwickshire are hanging on by a thread’ and another adding ‘some are very isolated’.

Mid Berwickshire councillor Frances Renton, the authority’s executive member for social work and housing, said: “Increasing the number of older people who are assisted to live at home can be achieved by increasing the supply and availability of extra care housing as alternatives to current residential care home provision.

“To this end, we are aiming to build upon the strong co-operation of our housing partners and support from Scottish Government to help fund, develop and deliver extra care housing schemes across the Scottish Borders.

“It is estimated that over 60 per cent of people going into residential care could have avoided or delayed this if extra care housing had been available in their area, and our proposed programme can help contribute to meeting the needs of the growing elderly population of the region going forward.”