A £3.6 million social housing scheme for people over the age of 55 has been officially opened at Redwoods in Dunmurry.
The development known as the Semper Building, provides 44 one and two bedroom apartments for applicants from the social housing waiting list. All have been provided by Clanmil Housing Association with part funding from the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department for Social Development.
The building was originally built for the private housing market but lay unsold for four years before being purchased by Clanmil. Today’s official opening also marks the Semper Building’s first birthday.
Conducting the official opening on behalf of the Department, Stephen Martin, Deputy Director of Housing Policy Delivery said: “I welcome the opportunity to officially open these new homes and see this fine building being put to such good use after lying idle for so long. This type of intervention where empty homes are brought back into beneficial use for the community is to be applauded.
“The delivery of decent, affordable, sustainable housing for all is a key priority for the Department and this new development is a real, practical outworking of that commitment.”
The new facility has a staffed office on site alongside communal facilities including a resident’s lounge and an information/hobbies room.
Stephen Martin continued: “I’m pleased that Clanmil was able to work with the local community, the Department and the Housing Executive to designate the accommodation for the exclusive use of the over 55 age group. They have incorporated a resident’s lounge and information room where tenants can socialise and are to be congratulated for putting together such an impressive package.”
A unique feature of the opening ceremony was the cutting of the traditional ribbon by Stephen Martin and resident Mrs Margaret McBride upon which the residents had included messages and images about their first year living at the Semper Building.
Clare McCarty, Clanmil Housing Group Chief Executive said: “We are absolutely delighted to be celebrating the Semper Building’s first anniversary. Our tenants have settled really well into their new homes and have created a thriving community here. It is great to see such vibrancy in a building that had stood empty for some years.
“The Semper Building provides a great living environment for our tenants with easy to manage apartments, excellent security and a convenient location, all of which will help them continue to live independently in a home of their own as they grow older.”
Mrs Margaret McBride who has lived at the Semper Building since it opened a year ago said: “I moved to the Semper Building as I wanted somewhere that was easier to manage and I’m so glad I did. I just love my apartment. It’s so well laid out and finished to a really high standard. The security is a big plus. When you get a bit older the peace of mind that feeling secure brings is even more important.
“I’ve also made lots of new friends and we have quickly become a very close knit community. It’s just lovely to come home after work and know you can have company if you want it. I feel very lucky to live here surrounded by beautiful woodland. It’s been a really good move.”
Notes to editors:
1. The 44 new homes comprise 36 x two bedroom and 8 x one bedroom apartments for clients over the age of 55 on the social housing waiting list.
2. The total scheme cost £3.6 million, including acquisition and associated on costs. The Department for Social Development funded £2.2 million in grant through the Housing Executive with Clanmil Housing contributing £1.4 million through private borrowing.
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