A new supported living service for adults with physical and learning difficulties was officially opened on Tuesday 27th September by Hightown Housing Association.

The scheme, in Fletcher Way, Hemel Hempstead, will support eight adults, aged between 18 and 45, to live as independently as possible.

Work on the scheme, which comprises two buildings – Robin House and Wren House – each containing four specially-designed flats, was completed at the beginning of August and the first resident moved in soon afterwards.

Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health, declared the scheme officially open at an event also attended by Councillor Frances Button, Chairman of Hertfordshire County Council, Hightown Chairman, Tony Keen and Chief Executive of the charitable housing organisation, David Bogle.

Many service users and family members also joined in the celebrations and took the opportunity to enjoy a tour of the new building and meet staff from Hightown and Hertfordshire County Council, as well as those involved in the design and build of the scheme.

“It was fantastic to officially open this new supported living service, see the new facilities and meet the staff and people who will be making it their home,” commented Cllr Wyatt-Lowe. We are very pleased to have worked with Hightown on this exciting project and I hope all the residents will enjoy the support and independence in their new home at Fletcher Way.”

Fletcher Way provides eight self-contained flats which have been designed to the highest specifications for residents with a range of physical and learning needs, along with office space. A platform lift leads from the two lower ground flats to the car park.

Each one bedroom flat is fully wheelchair accessible and has its own fitted kitchen with adjustable height work surfaces and sink, an en-suite bathroom with wet room, and an open plan living room. Tracking for hoists is also provided in each bedroom.

With 24 hour support available and waking night support on hand, residents are able to live independently, but have help close by if needed.

Theresa Sillwood’s daughter Natalie, aged 29, will be moving into her own flat in Fletcher Way shortly. Natalie has severe learning disabilities as well as a physical disability.

Theresa said: “I chose Fletcher Way for Natalie because supported living gives her more choice and flexibility. It means she can have her own space and independence, so it’s like a home from home.

“Because she will have more one to one support than if she was in residential care, she will be able to get out and about in the community more often and develop a personal connection with staff too. There will also be opportunities to socialise with other residents when she wants to.”

The scheme has been developed by Hightown, which specialises in providing a range of care and supported housing services, in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council, who previously owned the site.

Hertfordshire County Council provided funding for the service and the Homes and Communities Agency provided grant funding. The development was designed by Tooley Foster and built by Parrot Construction.

Chief Executive of Hightown, David Bogle, added: “It was a proud occasion to celebrate the official opening of Fletcher Way with our partners, service users and their families. I hope that this new scheme will make a big difference to residents’ lives by giving them independence and confidence for the future. We are most grateful for the support of Hertfordshire County Council.”