Older residents needing care and support in South Ribble will have a new option when it comes to deciding where to spend their later years.
The borough is set to develop a so-called “extra care” scheme, designed to help people maintain their independence – but also ensure that they are safe and have their daily needs met.
The facility will follow the model used at the Primrose Gardens development in neighbouring Chorley – with dozens of self-contained apartments under one roof, along with communal areas to encourage socialising and group activities.
READ MORE >>> What is extra care? Go behind the scenes at the Chorley version of the scheme...
Care staff are on hand 24 hours a day to help with any unexpected problems, while regular pre-planned support packages are also delivered within the individual flats – just as they would have been in a person’s previous home.
Crucially, however, residents are free to come and go as they please – both inside and outside of the development.
The search is now on for a suitable site after South Ribble Borough Council’s cabinet agreed that it will build and operate the facility.
Deputy leader Mick Titherington said that the scheme would allow its residents to “lead independent lives and enjoy a certain quality of life”.
Lancashire County Council – which would commission the care services provided within the facility – wants to see one such scheme built in every district within the next five years. However, the authority has stated that it is not expecting to make any capital contribution to the developments and is instead encouraging social landlords or district councils, which have responsibility for housing, to build them instead.
But South Ribble’s cabinet heard that the borough will struggle to develop a scheme without help from County Hall.
“Cost savings are likely to accrue in moving people from residential care to this type of facility – and we hope that the county council, which will be the biggest beneficiary [of those savings], will come forward,” Cllr Titherington said.
Lancashire County Council did make a £1m contribution to the £10.5m cost of developing Primrose Gardens.
According to cabinet papers, should South Ribble be successful in securing a share of the government’s Towns’ Fund, some of the cash could be used in order to develop its extra care scheme. But that would limit the location of the facility to the Leyland area around which the bid is being constructed.
Cabinet member for finance Matthew Tomlinson said that he was committed to ensuring that the day-to-day operation of the scheme would see it “run as a business, paying its way and hopefully bringing a small income stream to the council”.
Residents in extra care facilities pay rent on their apartments to the development’s landlord, a flat fee for the round-the-clock support service and fund their individual care packages in the same way as they would do in the community.
It is expected that the new facility will accommodate around residents. But the county council estimates that more 200 extra care places are currently needed in South Ribble.