South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has praised a new groundbreaking “intergenerational” housing development in Stranraer, where Loreburn Housing Association are building dementia-friendly housing alongside an innovative ‘Employment Hub’ on the site of the former Garrick Hospital.
The MSP was commenting after touring the site last week, where eight one-bed and four two-bed ‘extra care’ dementia-friendly homes are being built, alongside a ‘Youth Foyer’ Employment Hub offering supported accommodation for up to 12 young people, in order to combat youth homelessness and to increase employment and opportunity.
Youth Foyers, which are recognised as international best practice, provide safe and secure housing, support and training for young people aged 16 -25. The Stranraer development will be a first for Dumfries and Galloway and only the second foyer in Scotland.
Young people living at the Foyer will be expected to be either in education, an apprenticeship, other employment or training, and will have access to volunteering opportunities within the community. The Youth Foyer also offers community access areas, a state of the art conference facility, breakout spaces and access to WiFi.
Commenting on the development Colin Smyth said, “Everyone is entitled to a decent home and that can often mean breaking down barriers to make that accessible. Loreburn are certainly doing that both for people living with dementia as well as young people, and that bringing together of different generations at the Garrick is really exciting. The fact the facilities at the foyer will be open to the community is an added bonus and really does show that new housing is about more than just putting a roof over someone’s head.”
“The two challenges of supporting people to live a fulfilling life when battling dementia, and providing opportunities for our young people are huge in Dumfries and Galloway and that’s why it was great to visit the Garrick to see at first hand the progress being made in a development that will play a part in helping meet those challenges. I think a lot of people from not just the region but across the country will be watching the Garrick development with interest because if successful it could be a model that is rolled out elsewhere.”
Colin Smyth, who is a member of the Scottish Parliament cross-party group on dementia, added “There is a real shortage of dementia-friendly housing across the region. More and more people are being diagnosed with the condition and often face a cliff edge of living in their own home one minute but if that isn’t suitable, then having to move into a residential or nursing care. There needs to be more provision of supported accommodation for people with dementia. Small measures such as glass doors on kitchen cupboards, non step access showers and wet rooms as well as technology to help people in the home can make a huge difference and can be provided at a fraction of the costs people face in residential or nursing homes. I hope what we are seeing at the Garrick in terms of dementia-friendly homes is really just the start.”