A new £3.7m supported living scheme, located in Bangor, Co. Down, was officially opened on Friday, 23rd March by renowned international artist, Terry Bradley. Developed by Ark Housing, the scheme is designed to meet the latest dementia best practice standards and guidelines and was part-funded by the Department for Communities (DfC) through a Housing Association Grant.
At the opening, Ark chief executive Jim McShane said “Dementia has been identified as the leading cause of death in the UK and is on the increase in Northern Ireland. The number of people living with it here is set to rise to around 25,000 by 2021.”
Mr McShane added “Today is not just about opening a building. It’s about celebrating an important milestone for and partnership in our community.”
The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust (SEHSCT), who played a lead role in the overall design and delivery of the project, is contracted by Ark Housing and funded through the Supporting People Programme to provide 24-hour care and support to residents.
Mr Bradley kindly donated a signed, limited print edition of his ‘Forget-Me-Not’ painting to the residents of Ravara Court. Speaking ahead of the opening, he talked about why caring for people with dementia means so much to him. “My support for people living with dementia, both sufferers and their loved ones, comes from my own experience. My father lived for many years in a home after my mother was unable to care for him and she is now going through the same thing.
“As a family we are very aware of the strain this diagnosis can bring but we also know that there can be a lot of love that comes with this as well. I’m very grateful for all the carers who looked after my father and those who are looking after my mother. Without them, my family would not have been able to enjoy valuable time with our parents.”
Mr McShane, speaking on behalf of Ark Housing, praised the development as a successful outworking of partnership and collaboration and thanked all those who played a key role in its delivery. He also said “the new development and its associated services will enable people to continue to lead full and active lives in the community and we very much look forward to working with the Trust in the years ahead”.
The South Eastern HSC Trust’s Director of Nursing, Nicki Patterson added “We believe that the current partnership between Ark Housing Association, Supporting People and the South Eastern HSC Trust will deliver a sustainable model of care for the future providing an enhanced domiciliary support for older people and people with dementia. Ravara Court is the Trust’s third supported living partnership and provides an excellent alternative to nursing or residential homes by enhancing the resident’s independence and quality of life.”