ŷ Eirlys residents enjoy afternoon tea with the Minister

The Minister for Social Services & Public Health, Rebecca Evans AM, witnessed first-hand the positive impact our flagship independent living scheme for people with learning disabilities, is already having on its residents, when she recently popped in for afternoon tea.

Tŷ Eirlys, opened in April to provide a much needed pathway between supported and independent living for adults with learning disabilities and is a departure from the traditional provision of small group homes, instead it focuses on supporting people to live as they choose and as independently as possible.

Located close to Newport City Centre, the Victorian-style property has been converted into modern specialist accommodation, designed for residents’ needs both now and for the future.

Tŷ Eirlys’ residents hosted the afternoon tea, for the Minister and key partners involved with the project and showcased a video of their journey to Tŷ Eirlys.

Reach director of care and support Andrew Gray said: “In a short space of time Tŷ Eirlys is already proving to be a life-transforming facility; enabling its residents to take far more control over their lives and ambitions and live independently as an integral member of the wider Stow Hill community”.

“The residents have settled in extremely quickly and are very proud of their new homes. To have this opportunity to show the Minister and guests around, as well as enjoying their culinary delights, has really been the icing on the cake for them”.

Tŷ Eirlys comprises 13 apartments including staff sleep-over accommodation, 2 stylish communal lounge areas, a communal kitchen for skill building, a large landscaped garden and a lift to all floors. Residents are able to access individually tailored packages of support if needed.

Social Services Minister, Rebecca Evans AM said:“I was really pleased to meet everyone at Tŷ Eirlys. It’s a fantastic new facility, which allows people with learning disabilities to live more independently, with support on hand if they need it.

“I’m really pleased that the Welsh Government has provided more than £1.2m of funding to get the service up and running. It’s a great example of what can be achieved through partnership working – something I’m keen to see more of across Wales.”

Tŷ Eirlys is the result of a successful collaboration between Pobl Group, Newport City Council, Welsh Government and local builders Willis Construction.

Councillor Paul Cockeram, Newport City Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services, said: “I’m pleased that the council has been able to work with Pobl Group on this excellent project and, despite tightening budgets, we have been able to make a financial contribution through capital grant and supported people funding.

“Social workers worked with tenants and held meetings before they moved in so they could get to know each other before taking the positive, and potentially life-changing, move to live independently.”

Residents have been actively involved from the outset, from selecting kitchen finishes and wall colours for their new homes, to recruiting the right staff through a series of fun ‘speed interviewing’ sessions.

In order to help foster greater independence and gain confidence, regular training days are arranged which focus on everyday tasks such as using local transport independently and how to manage their financial affairs. The residents recently attended an open evening held at the local branch of NatWest to learn how to budget and access their banking facilities.
Creating a thriving community at Tŷ Eirlys has been important, but equally important are people’s integration into the surrounding community.

People are enjoying far more social activities, feeling positive and appear less isolated, such activities where they would be reliant on paid support they now go with each other as ‘friends’ do.

One resident relishing his increased independence is John ” Since I was in foster care I have had two goals; my first was to have my own place and freedom, I have done this by moving to Tŷ Eirlys. My second is to live in my own place without any support, I know I can do this now and it makes me very happy.”

This is echoed by Sharon who said: “I now have my own space. I didn’t have much room where I lived before and now I have a separate bedroom, bathroom and living room. I just love having my own flat, it’s absolutely brilliant here.”

In developing the service, the project has benefited from a range of funding streams, including £1.2m Social Housing Grant for the capital costs and £108,000 Supporting People Grant. ICF Revenue Funding has also been used to achieve several key milestones to support the residents’ transition to Tŷ Eirlys. The direct care and support for the tenants is provided by Reach, through Community Care funding. Charter Housing is the Landlord for Tŷ Eirlys.

Article added: 8th August 2017

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Reach Support