Social Development Minister visits Hemsworth Court

29 January 2015

Department for Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey MLA yesterday visited Hemsworth Court on Belfastâ??s Shankill Road where he met staff from Helm Housing Association and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT). Hemsworth Court is a unique supported living scheme for people with dementia in Belfast which was developed through a partnership between Helm Housing and BHSCT. Experts from a range of backgrounds were heavily involved in Hemsworthâ??s design phase.


The building includes 35 state-of-the-art apartments which sit alongside a cinema, cafe and other facilities allowing those who live there to lead a full, independent and active life. The surrounding area on the Shankill Road is working to be recognised as one of Northern Irelandâ??s only Dementia-friendly environments. This sees the wider community work closely with staff to ensure the area is a safe and welcoming environment for those who live in Hemsworth Court.


The facility opened in July 2013 and was built at a cost of £4.6m, funded by DSD Housing Associa-tion Grant and private finance.


Speaking during the visit, Minister Storey MLA said: â??I have been very impressed with the innovative work I have witnessed today at Hemsworth Court.  This is an excellent project and a great example of how my Departmentâ??s policy, to support people to live as independently as possible, is delivering housing support for people with dementia.


â??These new homes provide quality housing and allow residents to maintain their independent living within a supportive community. The communal facilities onsite such as the library and landscaped gardens, which are much loved by the residents, make it clear to see why this scheme was awarded the Dementia Services Gold Award.  I commend Helm and all those involved in delivering this high quality accommodation and support to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.â?


Michael McDonnell, CEO of Helm Housing said: â??Partnership working is a key aspect of our strategy at Helm Housing and we work with 19 partner organisations to deliver accommodation across Northern Ireland. We are committed to delivering safe and sustainable neighbourhoods and Hemsworth Court is an excellent example of how innovation in design and build can improve both the well-being of those living in the accommodation and the wider area.â?


Dr Michael McBride Chief Executive, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Helm Housing to provide the first supported housing scheme for people living with dementia in the North and West Belfast area. Hemsworth Court is an alternative housing option, enabling tenants to live independently within the local community with support from on-site domiciliary staff over a 24hr period delivered by BHSCT. The service is developed in consultation with the tenants and their families."


During the visit the Minister met with staff and residents and discussed future plans for social housing provision in other areas with Helm Housing management.

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