Over the past year, Mandy, the service manager at Whitegates View and her team have been preparing the people we support for a move into a fantastic new home built especially for them. It’s the final link in a long, well-planned chain which has involved waiting for first Donec Mews, and then Whitegates View to be built..
Getting it right
Home means different things to different people. For most of us, it’s somewhere comfortable and safe, warm, somewhere bright and light, where we can live our lives as we want to – and it’s no different for the people we support. The added challenge with this project has been considering how care and support needs change over time - we're all getting older after all - and how to accommodate all that into the structure, without becoming clinical losing the feeling of ‘home’.
Whitegates View has been chosen as a name by the people who are to move in, who formerly lived in the large rambling Victorian house which this state-of-the-art build replaces. The name gives a bit clue about one of the best features of the three new light, bright, airy homes and an idea that the design team have really 'got it right' for the people we support.
It’s rare to get open space and wide horizons from every window, but here, the South Downs stretch out all around. The village of Liss is nearby, with good transport links and the usual amenities – there’s an outstanding community centre and sports facilities for a village of its size. We’re well known in the village and very welcome – our supported living service is based in the heart of the village, with Whitegates View just to the west. Other FitzRoy services nearby mean residents can opt to join On Track’s activities at the Petersfield Day and Community service, or be a part of Rural Skills, our social enterprise in East Meon.
Fifteen people can be accommodated in Whitegates View and will live a very comfortably. Each house has two downstairs bedrooms which share an en-suite bathroom fitted with hoists – or the option to add hoists if they are needed in the future. Three upstairs rooms have their own private en-suite loo and washbasin, sharing a huge bathroom with large walk-in shower, accessible bath and easy to use taps. The bedrooms have excellent storage space, and are individually lockable with key fobs, to give privacy and security but enable support workers to gain access if help is needed.
A feeling of space and light
Shared spaces are bright and well thought out, too. The kitchen and lounges are at the back of the house, with large windows and doors that open out onto the expansive garden. Each kitchen is layout to allow plenty of space to move around and prepare meals, as well as all important storage space. Lounges are cosy but bright, with picture windows – in fact in all the rooms in the home, window ledges are set with wheelchair height in mind so it’s easy to see out and get plenty of air.
And in areas of the homes which could be dark, like stairwells, landings and en-suite rooms, innovative light tubes have been fitted, allowing natural light filter in. Under floor heating removes the need for radiators on the walls but will keep the homes feeling cosy in the chillier months. Space has been creatively thought out – wide stair wells, lifts and laundry rooms all neatly accommodated.
Bringing the outside-in
Outside is just as important as inside and the large garden spaces have been creatively adapted to make the best use of space and create different zones for people to enjoy, with wide accessible paths, landscaped borders and some mature planting already in place – but with space for those with an interest in gardening to indulge their passion as spring comes and they settle in.
We have a few extra spaces for new house-mates to benefit from the fantastic facilities and opportunities. See more of the site on the Whitegates View service page or call 01808 162 4662.