Clanmil’s supported housing scheme in Downpatrick, run in partnership with MACS, has scooped the top prize at annual awards organised by the Northern Ireland Housing Council, a statutory body set up to advise on housing policy in Northern Ireland.
The Housing Council Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of people and organisations that have excelled in delivering high quality homes and services.
The scheme in English Street, which provides self-contained accommodation for young people aged 16 to 21 years who are leaving care or experiencing homelessness, took first place in the Councillor Jim Speers Special Award. This award is presented each year to the best housing association scheme constructed within the past three years.
The Grade B1 listed 4-storey Georgian stone terraced house, dating back to the 1850’s, has been sympathetically restored by Clanmil and successfully brought back into use, providing an important first step to independence for up to eight young people at any one time.
The refurbishment project was part funded by the Department for Social Development through the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the accommodation is available to young people referred to MACS by the South Eastern Health Trust.
Clare McCarty, Group Chief Executive at Clanmil said: “We are delighted that English Street has been named best social housing scheme by the Northern Ireland Housing Council. It is great to see this lovely old building restored and in use as home to young people getting to grips with living independently for the first time. We are particularly grateful to our design team and to Hearth Housing, a member of the Clanmil Housing Group, whose expertise and advice ensured a conservation-led approach to the redevelopment, helping to safeguard the building’s character and heritage.
“The project is a very successful partnership between Clanmil, MACS, Supporting People and the South Eastern Trust. It helps young people who are not quite ready to take on the responsibilities of managing a place of their own to get the experience they need while benefitting from the fantastic support that MACS staff provide.”