Pioneering village development celebrates official opening

A special ceremony was held last week in Madeley to mark the official opening of the Madeley Centre and the adjacent Lea Court extra care scheme. Commemorative plaques for both schemes were presented and a cake decorated with a picture of the development was shared among the guests.

Accepting the plaque on behalf of the Lea Court residents was 67 year old Thalia Wright who, with her 71 year old husband Michael, was one of the first to move into the groundbreaking £8.2 million development to provide villagers with purpose-built accommodation as well as a new community hub.  

Commenting on the new development, Thalia Wright said: “It has made such a difference to our lives. We used to live in an upstairs flat but mobility problems prevented me from getting out much, so I was really housebound. Now our whole life has changed because we can both get out everyday. It’s so nice to have that freedom and independence again – it’s like being given a new lease of life.”

Another Lea Court resident, Joan Bell (aged 90) who has lived in the village for many years, accepted the plaque on behalf of the Madeley Centre.

Joining Lea Court residents in the celebration were representatives from the project partners – Housing 21, Madeley Village Hall Charity, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Madeley Parish Council, Thomas Vale Construction and the Homes and Communities Agency, who contributed £3.1 million towards the development of Lea Court.

The development, which was completed earlier this year, provides 63 two-bedroom apartments for older people. Residents enjoy independent living along with 24 hour on-site care. They have easy access to the facilities at the adjacent Madeley Centre, which boasts a 200 seat capacity recreational hall, a café/restaurant, information centre, healthy living suite, children’s centre and multi-use meeting spaces for various local groups.

Kris Peach, regional business development manager for Housing 21 said: “I’m delighted to celebrate the official opening of Lea Court and the Madeley Centre. This has been a particularly exciting development and it’s good to have the opportunity to see the impact that this unique initiative has had on the village.”

Staffordshire County Councillor Robbie Marshall, Cabinet Member for Public Health said: “Extra Care developments like this can be so liberating for those who want to live as normal a life as possible but want 24/7 care and support, in the background, if and when it’s needed.  Lea Court and the Madeley Centre show that independent living can be a very real option for older people and those with health needs.

“Staffordshire has put in place ambitious plans to increase the number of Extra Care places available to buy or rent across Staffordshire from 430 two years ago to 1500 by 2013. In fact, by then, more than 2000 will have been achieved meaning more opportunities for people who want to remain independent in their own home can do so.”

The Madeley Centre has been built with sustainability in mind and features thermally insulated floors, walls and ceilings, passive solar thermal panels for water heating and photovoltaic panels to provide the majority of the electricity requirements. Additional features include rainwater harvesting, a ground-source heat pump, a ‘natural’ ventilation system and a ‘green’ roof.

Roger Goodwin, Chairman of the Trustees of Madeley Village Hall Charity said: "We are overwhelmed with the interest shown in The Madeley Centre since we began operating in June. Both the number of groups utilising our new community hub and attendees at the huge variety of classes and activities that we are now able to offer are well in excess of our projections.

“The Centre caters perfectly for all ages and interests and it is particularly pleasing to see a large number of Lea Court residents joining the rest of our community in the cafe, as volunteers in addition to becoming involved in groups such as Flower Club, Craft Group, Indoor Bowls, Tea Dances, Darby and Joan and the weekly Bingo evening."

Editor's notes

  1. Picture shows left to right – Michael Wright (resident); Thalia Wright (Resident); Roger Godwin (Chairman of the Trustees of Madeley Village Hall Charity and Joan Bell (resident).
  2. For further information, please contact Wendy Gornicki, PR & Information Officer, Housing 21 on 0370 192 4338 or email wendy.gornicki@housing21.co.uk
  3. Housing 21’s mission is to promote independence and choice for older people through quality care, health and housing services. It provides around 124,000 hours of community care each week and manages 18,200 sheltered and extra care apartments.
  4. Keep up to date with Housing 21 at www.facebook.com/housing21.co.uk or via our website www.housing21.co.uk