16 May 2019
Tuesday 15 May Housing Regulation Branch swapped the office for a day out as they went to visit a range of Radius Housing Association’s schemes. The aim of the visit was to give staff a first hand overview of the wide range of projects which are being supported by the department through Housing Associations. Allison Flynn from Housing Regulation summarises the visit.
Hemsworth Court supports people living with Dementia
“The First stop on our visit schedule was Hemsworth Court. Operated in partnership with Belfast Trust, Hemsworth Court is a modern supported housing scheme for people living with dementia. During our visit we met some of the tenants, gate-crashed the weekly meeting of the poetry club where we were encouraged to join in their sea shanty sing-a-long and feasted on fresh wheaten bread, soda bread and Rice Krispie buns made by the tenants.
“On to Stella Maris where Radius partners with De Paul to tackle homelessness paired with addiction. Staff there spoke of the history of the scheme and some of the pressures and issues they face in delivering the services that Stella Maris provides. We also got a brief tour of the scheme and met some of the tenants who shared their experiences with us.
“Next we made a whistle-stop visit toCalder Fountain to see first-hand the partnership between Extern, Salvation Army and Radius who together provide a place of safety for those experiencing homelessness, often with addiction issues. Here, they offer a person centred, inclusive, holistic approach to tenants based on The Salvation Army values (boldness, integrity, compassion, passion and respect). The Scheme Manager told us about the great work of Extern and the difference it has made moving to their new location and working with Radius.
Staff got to see first-hand how the work they do has a positive impact on people’s lives
“Our next stop was Glenowen Court who had recently celebrated their 25th Anniversary. This is a Housing with Care Scheme where the focus of one of the staffis to make their scheme part of the community. Over lunch we heard from Radius staff detailing their roles and the difference they are making to the lives of their residents. We were able to see how happy and engaged residents were as they participated in their armchair aerobics.
“On we went on our tour to Fruithill Fold. Here, Oonagh the Scheme Manager gave us the history of the building and showed us the original staircase which could rival the replica at the Titanic building. We were given a real sense of community hearing how Oonagh organises holidays and day trips for the tenants.
“There followed a drive through Sliabh Dubh which is one of Radius’ general housing schemes. While we were driving through, the Chief Executive of Radius told us about the obstacles prior to development, lessons learned upon completion and what would be done differently if it were to be done again which we found very interesting. We also got to see the playground which has been added to the development and has quickly become a central point of the community.
The Visteon site will integrate commercial and community facilities for the benefit of the wider West Belfast area
“The final stop was the former Visteon car manufacturing site located between Blacks Road and Finaghy Road North. Currently this is a brownfield site in the early stages of development. The Contractor told us about all of the preparatory work which has to be done before any development work can begin and gave us our tour and the prime spots for wonderful city centre views. We were shown the plans for the scheme which will include housing for those with disabilities, general needs and also include integrated commercial and community facilities for the benefit of the wider West Belfast area.
“On reflection, we were all surprised by the range of different customer groups and services which Radius and other Housing Associations are catering for. We would like to thank Chief Executive, John McLean, Siobhan and all the managers of the Schemes we visited for arranging such an informative and enjoyable day.