by JULIE-ANN SPENCE
From left are Joan Baird, Chair of Clanmil Housing Association who own and manage the scheme, Paul Given MLA, Nadia and Zino Zerai, pupils at the neighbouring St Joseph's Primary School, Will Haire, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Social Development, Mrs. Maureen Ferris, a tenant at the scheme, with her grandchildren Peter, Annie and Olivia Kennedy, Edwin Poots MLA, Councillor Brian Heading, Deputy Mayor of Lisburn, and Jonathan Craig MLA.
A DEVELOPMENT of new homes for active older people has been officially opened in Lisburn.
The new Seymour Court development in Seymour Street, close to the city centre, is owned and managed by Clanmil Housing Association and provides 48 three person, two bedroom apartments for people aged 55 and over, along with underground car parking and a courtyard garden.
The new homes have been built to high energy efficiency and security standards and to the Lifetime Homes standard which ensures that they will continue to meet tenants' needs as they grow older, helping them maintain long term independence.
Will Haire, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Social Development, officially opened the new scheme along with Deputy Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor Brian Heading.
The total cost of delivering the Seymour Court scheme was £8.4 million. A
Housing Association Grant of £6.2 million was provided by the Department for
Social Development through the Northern
Ireland Housing Executive while the balance of £2.2 million was funded by Clanmil through private finance.
Joan Baird, Chair of Clanmil Housing, said: Our aim is to provide high quality, affordable homes that really meet our tenants' needs. Low running costs, excellent security and a convenient location combined with good design practice will ensure that our tenants can continue to live independently in a home of their own as they grow older.
"We are very grateful to the local community and their political representatives for their assistance in delivering this scheme and look forward to continuing to work together to help our tenants settle into their new homes and new community."
Permanent Secretary, Will Haire, said: "Social housing in Northern Ireland is amongst the best in the UK and this latest development, which the department has part funded with grant aid, demonstrates that to good effect. Older people requiring easily managed accommodation make up a high proportion of the waiting list in Lisburn City. These apartments are ideally suited to their housing needs."
Councillor Heading welcomed the new scheme for the City. "I want to congratulate everyone in bringing this project to fruition," he said. "The good work of Clanmil Housing Association is fully supported by Lisburn City Council and this development is an excellent example of what can be achieved when several organisations come together with a vision. I wish all the tenants health and happiness in their new homes."
Mrs. Maureen Ferris, who moved into Seymour Court in January, said she was delighted with her new apartment. "It was a big decision to move house at this stage in my life but already I feel that it was the best move I've ever made," she said.
"My apartment is so much easier to manage than my old house and I've already got to know my neighbours. The security is a big plus too. You need to feel safe in your home no matter what age you are, but when you're older the peace of mind that feeling secure brings is even more important. I can't see myself ever moving from here."