Young adults transitioning to adult support for the first time face many challenges. One of the most fundamental is finding the right property for their needs – needs that, like any young person, may change quickly as they grow and gain increasing independence.
Social lets are scarce, private lets more so. Many vacancies exist but will the young person be well matched to existing tenants? Is the property adaptable to the individual’s needs? Near family? In the heart of the community? How will the neighbours be, especially if the person is noisy?
There’s a myriad of difficulties. (That’s why Dimensions is one of the only support providers to employ dedicated housing brokers. You can read more about the brokers’ work here.)
Sometimes the challenge is to form effective partnerships:
Highgreave (not pictured) is an old care home built on a big but very steep plot of land. The last resident moved out in 2016 and we have chosen not to re-let the space, as the property, with complex ownership arrangements, doesn’t meet modern expectations for good housing for people with learning disabilities.
The Highgreave site offered a real opportunity to do something different. Working in close partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Sheffield CCG and Sheffield City Council, we developed a new vision.
Highgreave is to have a long term future as a place for up to 5 young adults with autism and learning disabilities to live in individual flats, learning the skills needed for independent living over perhaps 2-5 years, before moving on. This, commissioners confirmed, would make Highgreave an important resource within the local community.
The build is now underway. And at some point in late 2022, we hope to welcome the first new tenants to Highgreave. They’ll live in an adapted and robust space built to highest design standards in the thick of nature yet with a vibrant community a short walk away.
It’s ok to be proud of the ‘dull’ bits. And we’re seriously proud of the partnership working that has got us to this point; everyone has worked in a spirit of creativity and flexibility to achieve our shared vision. Thank you, partners.