Work is underway on a new and innovative £14 million community care project in the North East.

Ravensdene, in Lobley Hill, Gateshead, is being built on the site of a former hotel and will create 83 homes for local residents who require a broad range of support needs.

The service will include a mixture of one and two bedroomed apartments, specialist assistive technology and a number of homes designed specifically for people with dementia.

Created and managed by Home Group, one of the UK’s largest housing associations and integrated care providers, the community wellbeing service will be built in partnership with Gateshead Council and Galliford Try Partnerships North, and is set to be completed in 2021.

Lindsay Courtney, Strategic Lead for Service Design and Practice at Home Group, said: “With an increasingly aging population, we need to do something different in order to take pressure away from an already stretched system.

“Our unique approach is designed around people and looks to help develop skills and support physical and mental wellbeing. Specialist care workers will focus on reablement, meaning people can stay active and independent for much longer, delaying the need for residential care.

“An additional benefit of improving the integration of health and social care is that a scheme like this can reduce the number of unnecessary hospital admissions, easing the pressure on frontline NHS care services.”

According to the Office of National Statistics, over the next six years the number of people living in the North East aged over 65 will increase by more than 18%. Across England, current forecasts predict we will need over 71,000 new elderly care beds by 2025.

Steph Downey, Service Director for Adult Social Care at Gateshead Council, said: “This is a very positive and exciting scheme, which the Council has been delighted to work in partnership with Home Group and Galliford Try to deliver.

“Developments such as Ravensdene are key to the Council’s strategic plans and will support people over the age of 55 to live independent and vibrant lives in the community, in “future-proof” accommodation, with excellent wrap around support, as and when they need it.

“We know most older people want to live in their own home, with their own front door, which is evidenced by the fact that there are reducing numbers of people moving into residential and nursing homes.

“Having options such as Ravensdene, where care workers will support people to be independent, but where more support can be provided as their needs increase, means we’re able to achieve the goal of living in the community, for many more of residents.”

Sean Egan, Managing Director with Galliford Try Partnerships North, added:  “We are delighted to be working with our long standing partner Home Group to deliver this innovative facility that will make a huge difference to many people’s lives.

“Galliford Try Partnerships sourced the land that has enabled this fantastic opportunity to come forward and we now move onto the delivery stage, constructing a state of the art community wellbeing facility of the highest quality on this key site in Gateshead.”

The community wellbeing scheme is also set to include services which will be open to both residents and the wider community, in order to act as a hub for people living in the area.

These facilities form part of the wider care offer as they encourage residents to leave their homes and connect with different individuals and generations, lowering the risk of social isolation.

Once completed, the project is expected to bring around 40 new jobs to the area, primarily within care and support roles.