Monday 22 October 2012

Holly Lodge

Holly lodge will be a supported living scheme for adults with learning disabilities. You will be able to track the progress of Holly Lodge here and watch the development come together.

Holly Lodge will combine innovative bespoke design, technology and environmentally friendly features to make it one of a kind.

Holly Lodge is being built by mcch Society. mcch’s Housing Team is working in partnership with colleagues in their Support Team, Kent County Council and Avenues Group to develop a newbuild supported living scheme which will house and support 5 adults who present with behaviours that challenge services. Our aim was to create state-of-the-art premises that maximise comfort, security and the personal development of the tenants. Holly Lodge is due to be completed and ready for occupation in January 2013.

Because it is unique we have already had many enquiries about the design, technology and support arrangements, so we have decided to produce a series of blogs to share our progress and thinking. We will be producing a ‘biography’ of the scheme later in 2013, once the tenants have settled into their new homes, giving more detailed information about the processes and the lessons we have learned.

Holly Lodge is being built on the site of two former single storey bungalows. Each provided accommodation for eight residents plus sleepover facilities for support staff.  Thought was given to whether these properties could be extended, reconfigured and modernised to provide more up to date accommodation but the buildings had suffered from subsidence causing structural damage. The need to demolish and build from new has offered opportunities to ensure the development of flexible accommodation which will suit the housing and supports needs of the prospective and future tenants.

Ultimately, driven by the shape of the site and the trees on its boundaries, the scheme has been designed to curve around a central courtyard, which will provide communal space and access between the apartments and staff facilities. A great deal of thought has been given to every design aspect of the site to ensure that it is robust but aesthetically pleasing. Having visited several “challenging behaviour units” we were mindful that without careful thought and planning, environments could look sparse and institutional. Instead we wanted minimal and practical! We also wanted to create an environment which would be conducive to calm behaviour, assist staff to deliver less intrusive support and increase the tenants’ independence and confidence; in some ways could we “design-out” some challenging behaviour?

In future blogs we will look in more detail at the local authority’s perspective and hopes for the scheme, the building design, the assistive technology and how the two support provider organisations will be working successfully together to deliver personalised support to the tenants. 

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