An £10m scheme in Tynemouth, which offers over 55s the chance to live independently as their needs change, has welcomed its first residents.

In partnership with North Tyneside Council, Housing 21’s Clifford’s Mews – built by regeneration and construction specialist Vistry Partnerships North East – comprises 64 one and two bedroomed apartments for people aged over 55.

On site services include a 24-hour care team for those that need it, as well as a café and bistro, a salon and a communal lounge, which will also be open to the local community.

As part of its opening week, Housing 21 and care staff arranged a ‘Bake Sale’ for Dementia, with many residents donning their aprons to make some homemade cakes, which were enjoyed at an afternoon tea party. This also allowed those moving in to meet their neighbours, families and friends and raised over £80.

Harry (87) and Margaret (84) Riley from Tynemouth, were the first couple to move into Clifford’s Mews.  Harry said: “It is always hard to leave ‘home’, but Margaret and I have a life time of memories. We have been wed 64 years and we are very much looking forward to this new chapter at Clifford’s Mews.  Our new home is better than we could have imagined and knowing that there is care staff on hand, should we need extra support is a real bonus.”

Housing 21 is a leading provider of Extra Care across England, providing over 38,000 hours of care to over 2,500 service users each week.

Claire Charlton, Head of Extra Care North at Housing 21, said: “We’re delighted to welcome our first residents to Clifford’s Mews; Housing 21’s latest Extra Care scheme. Our dedicated on-site team are looking forward to creating a warm, welcoming environment for residents, their families and the wider community and providing a much-needed housing option in the area for older people”.

The project was made possible after Vistry Partnerships North East agreed a license for a piece of unused land adjacent to the fire station.  This allowed access to the site during construction, whilst also providing money for firefighting equipment and safety initiatives.

Dave Brown, Managing Director with Vistry Partnerships North East, said: “By thinking creatively and agreeing the licence for the land adjacent to the fire station, our development team found a solution to unlock and regenerate a technically challenging site that had been dormant for many years. It is now providing much needed, adaptable homes for older people.

“Having worked with Housing 21 previously to deliver a similar scheme – Poppy Dene – in Peterlee, we are confident that Clifford’s Mews will have a real sense of belonging and community for those living there as well as the wider community.  The pandemic has shown how isolated people can feel and we hope that schemes like this will help foster community spirit and integration.”

Vistry Partnerships North East is currently active on 12 construction sites across region with a gross development value of just over £400 million and is working with seven housing associations and seven local authorities.

Cllr Anthony McMullen, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We’re striving to make North Tyneside a place where great care is offered to those who need it and the transformation of an unused piece of land into an extra care for older residents is a great example of our ambitions.

“This scheme has created a secure community for its residents and it’s great to hear such brilliant feedback from the residents who are benefiting from the development. We look forward to continuing to work with housing providers in North Tyneside to increase these provisions in the borough.”

*Picture caption:  Back row, (L-R) are Gary Easton, Site Manager with Vistry Partnerships North East; Catherine Sultman, Assistant Care Manager with Housing 21 and Stacey Hillis, Housing and Care Manager with Housing 21.  Front row (L-R) are Harry Riley, Margaret Riley and Dave Brown, Managing Director with Vistry Partnerships North East.