Pennyman House helps residents regain independence

We're proud to be supporting the National Housing Federation's Starts at Home campaign, which aims to highlight the importance of supported living schemes in light of the Government's review on how they're funded.

160831thir 029 Edited

1 Sep 2016

Here's how Pennyman House, one of our extra care schemes in Middlesbrough, provides vital support to its residents and how Government changes could impact on the scheme.

The scheme

Pennyman House is a specialist extra care scheme for over 55s with varying care and support needs. Built in 2007 and situated in the heart of the North Ormesby community, the scheme provides essential 24/7 care, an on-site scheme manager plus a community alarm service, alongside a residents’ lounge, restaurant, laundry and gardens, with a healthy calendar of activities to foster social engagement and prevent isolation and loneliness.


There are 42 apartments (11 one bedroom and 31 two bedroom). All apartments are carpeted, have level access showers and are wheelchair accessible. In addition four apartments have specific disabled adaptations.

Care provision

Care at Pennyman House is commissioned by Middlesbrough Borough Council and tenants are referred through the local authority’s social services. Security and privacy have been prioritised and the on-site care and support is available throughout the day and night from an experienced team of care workers from Allied Healthcare. Care covers everything from a brief check-in, to help with self-care and day to day tasks that most of us take for granted. Scheme coordinators are also onsite to arrange social events and activities, as well as taking care of tenancy management issues.

Alan’s story

Before moving into Pennyman House, Alan was severely depressed and thought about suicide on a daily basis.

His only visitors were family members who came over to do his shopping for him, meaning he often felt isolated from his community.

Alan turned to smoking and alcohol to cope with his loneliness, leaving his health and social life to quickly deteriorate.

He moved into a short stay residential home, which didn’t provide Alan with the flexible support and independence he desperately needed.

After being referred to Pennyman House, Alan’s life has completely transformed and he now has a modern home to suit his care needs.

His support worker visits him four times a day to assist with medication, daily meals, getting dressed and personal hygiene.

He has also become more involved in social activities at the scheme and now runs the bingo and dominoes on a regular basis, as well as speaking to new residents to welcome them to the scheme.

Alan said: “Since moving into Pennyman House, I’m much more of an extrovert and have a number of new friends. I feel like a totally different person.

“I can safely say that Pennyman House is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Without it, I’d be introverted and completely alone.”

Costs and LHA impact

The weekly rent on a property in Pennyman House is £90.74, for a two bedroom flat and £80.11 for a one bedroom flat, plus a £103.65 service charge, which covers a range of costs, including lift maintenance, fire safety measures, and upkeep of communal facilities.

Under current Housing Benefit rules, most of the tenants in Pennyman House qualify for the cost of their accommodation to be covered in full. However, despite their requirement for specialist accommodation, under the LHA Cap these vulnerable people will receive a maximum of only £83.78 in a one bed property, leaving residents like Alan to find the shortfall of over £5000 per year. This could cause serious hardship and leave them not being able to afford the cost of their homes.

Extra care accommodation gives comfort, support and hope to so many people and their families. For Thirteen, if all tenants at Pennyman House were subject to the LHA cap, the potential shortfall in income per year is in the region of £212,000.00, putting both the services we provide there, and the viability of the scheme in serious jeopardy.