Sheltered housing in Bedfordshire is ‘important’ and needs protecting

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bpha housing association has highlighted the benefits of supported housing in Bedfordshire as part of the national housing campaign ‘Starts at Home’ launched by the National Housing Federation.

Today the campaign has been launched with a #StartsAtHomes day.

The campaign aims to highlight the unique benefits of supported housing to show why it is so important to individuals and society.

bpha provides supported housing for over 700 people in Bedfordshire which includes sheltered accommodation, refuges for women fleeing domestic violence, shelters and supported homes for those at risk of homelessness, and supported housing for vulnerable young people and adults with disabilities.

Among these people is Malcolm Partridge, who has a mild learning disability and lives with epilepsy.

Malcolm had his life transformed when he moved into Tavistock Court, a bpha extra care scheme in Bedford, in 2013.

He said: “I was referred to bpha by social services. They realised that my landlord was charging me an extortionate rent for my property which had lots of problems. At the same time, I was being visited regularly by a couple of people who I thought were my friends, who I now know were financially abusing me.

“I can genuinely say that moving to Tavistock Court is the best thing that has ever happened to me. My life is now full of people who want to be friends with me for the right reasons.

“I live independently and the staff here provide me with a little bit of assistance when I need it. I love my flat and it really feels like my home because I’ve decorated it myself.”

Malcolm has taken up painting and cross-stitching by joining two social clubs, and he goes out for lunch at least once a week with friends.

This year, his Support Worker will be taking him on holiday to Little Hampton to celebrate his 67th birthday, he said: “I’d never really celebrated by birthday before moving to Tavistock Court. I love the annual trips and I can’t wait to go to Little Hampton.”

The funding system for supported housing is currently being reviewed by the government, after which a new funding mechanism will be set up.

The National Housing Federation and bpha are campaigning to secure a Government commitment that everyone can have a home that meets their unique needs.

David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, said: “Supported housing is vital to providing independence, security, and dignity for millions of people across the country, and it’s not talked about enough. We hope this campaign will celebrate the good work done by so many in the supported housing sector, and show the government why it’s such a crucial part of the housing fabric.”

Marie Taylor, head of supported and retirement housing at bpha said: “Supported housing serve a vital purpose for hundreds of people like Malcolm living in Bedfordshire.

“Our extra care schemes enable some of the most vulnerable to live as independently as possible in a safe, secure home. We are committed to building more homes with care support including a new extra care scheme in Wootton.”