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2 Sep 2016
Here's how Winford House, one of our extra care schemes in Billingham, provides vital support to its residents and how Government changes could impact on the scheme.
Newly built in 2015, Winford House in Billingham is an extra care scheme for over 55s with access to onsite care and support services around the clock.
Winford House was developed in partnership with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council with support from Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group and a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency.
The scheme is located in the heart of the town with amenities on its doorstep, as well as a communal lounge and garden, assisted bathroom, car park, a storage area for mobility aids and offices for members of support staff.
The apartments are fully accessible and equipped, including a warden call system to give residents the freedom to live independently, safe in the knowledge that help is nearby if required.
Winford House provides 38 self-contained one and two bedroom apartments of mixed tenure. 28 are for affordable rent. All apartments are carpeted, with level access showers and are wheelchair accessible.
Care at Winford House is commissioned by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and tenants are referred through the local authority’s social services. 24-hour care and support is provided by Enable Care at various levels based on individual needs. Care provision covers everything from a brief check-in to help with self-care and day-to-day tasks that most of us take for granted.
Crossing a busy road on his scooter was the last thing Ray remembered when he woke up in hospital with a fractured skull, broken nose, facial injuries, a fractured leg and internal bleeding.
Ray had lived in sheltered accommodation in Norton for six years and was in hospital for five weeks after being hit by a car, only to return again just a month later with severe stomach pains.
Once Ray had been discharged, he returned to his accommodation but soon discovered it was no longer suitable for his care needs.
He was referred to Winford House in Billingham just after it had opened and his life has changed completely. Ray receives around the clock care from support workers at Winford House and has a tailored support package to suit his needs.
As someone who loves socialising, the scheme is perfect for Ray as he can take part in regular activities with other residents and continue to feel part of a close community.
Costs and LHA impact
The weekly rent on a property in Winford House is £195.57 for a two bedroom flat and £177.30 for a one bedroom flat, which also covers a range of costs, including lift maintenance, fire safety measures, and upkeep of communal facilities and amenities.
Under current Housing Benefit rules, most of the tenants in Winford 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 £97.81 in a two bed property (provided they meet the size criteria), leaving residents to find the shortfall of just over £5,000 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 Winford House were subject to the LHA cap, in the best case scenario, the potential shortfall in income per year is in the region of £140,000.00, putting both the services we provide there and the viability of the scheme in serious jeopardy.