Residents celebrate their new homes

Residents at Stanbridge House, Banbury’s new extra care housing scheme for older people, celebrated their new homes last week with an official opening event.

They were joined by guests from Housing 21, Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council in cutting a cake to mark the occasion.

Among the residents joining in the fun at the £9.7 million scheme was Mrs Mary East. 89 year old Mary’s life has been transformed since her move to Stanbridge House as she was previously living in a studio flat with very little space and struggling to get around with her walker, making her feel isolated and depressed.

Now she is frequently out and about, so much so that she says she has lost weight from all the walking. Mary loves her apartment too: “It is so bright and airy, with so much space. It’s easy to keep clean and I’m happier than I’ve been for a very long time.

“I love the fact that all the facilities are so easily accessible. Whoever designed the building certainly knew what they were doing.”

Built on the site of the former Stanbridge Hall School, Stanbridge House contains the new county council-run Banbury Health and Wellbeing Centre, which provides a wide range of health and wellbeing activities for adults, including cookery, gardening and IT classes. Other community facilities at Stanbridge House include a shop, restaurant and hair and beauty salon.

Simon Bostock, Regional Operations Director for Housing 21 said: “It’s lovely to see residents settling into their new apartments and to hear about the positive impact the move to extra care has had.”

County Councillor Kieran Mallon, local county councillor and cabinet member, said: “This is a fantastic facility and a great new use for a much loved Banbury building that could have otherwise been demolished.

“The scheme is also a great example of how councils are working with partners like Housing21 and district councils for the good of our local community.

“It is really impressive to see that so many things have been thought about and provided for residents.”

County Councillor Arash Fatemian, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Adult Services, added: “The vast majority of people want to live independently for as long as possible, but to do this you need the support and facilities in place. Extra care facilities like this one mean that people can continue to have their own homes and take advantage of extra help when they need it.
“To achieve this we have a long-term aim to have more than 900 extra care places in Oxfordshire and the Standbridge project will take us a good way towards that goal.”

Councillor Debbie Pickford, Cherwell District Council's lead member for Housing, said: "Cherwell District Council is a passionate supporter of extra care housing in the district and has taken a key lead role in driving forward extra care locally so that the housing needs of older people can be met.
"We have contributed to this scheme in many ways, including through the identification of the housing needs of older people, through the planning process and by nominating applicants from our housing register to move into the scheme.
"We are delighted that the new residents are already benefitting from this impressive new scheme and I wish them the very best in their new homes."

Extra care housing allows residents to live independently with 24-hour care and support tailored to individual need.  Stanbridge House, a scheme of 70 apartments, received funding of £5 million from the Homes and Communities Agency and offers options for rent and shared ownership.