A supported housing development has opened in Birmingham specialising in supporting people with visual impairments and disability.
Millward Place, in Monyhull Hall Road, Kings Norton, is the result of a partnership between sight loss charity Focus Birmingham and Bromford.
The aim of the ‘My Place’ model is to raise the aspirations of people with long term health or support needs to help them live independently, reduce dependency and harness opportunities.
Millward Place will be formally unveiled during an Open Day which takes place between 10am and 2pm on 23 February.
The new development consists of 14 self-contained one-bedroom apartments which have been specifically designed with the tenant’s specific needs in mind and to provide a safe and secure long-term home.
In particular, Millward Place has been built with a number of adaptations to support customers who have a visual impairment. These include hand rails throughout the building, and colour contrast of plug sockets, walls, kitchens and bathrooms to enable tenants with some vision to move safely around their flat.
Focus Birmingham, which offers support to the 29,000 visually impaired people in Birmingham, is working in partnership with Bromford who have developed the flats.
All the current residents at Millward Place are supported by Focus Birmingham. However, there are still five unfurnished flats available within the supported living scheme which visitors can view during the Open Day.
Focus Birmingham provides on-site care and support for residents and also works alongside Bromford’s Housing Enabler to ensure they live safely and independently. The Housing Enabler is on site for up to 18 hours a week, assisting customers with tenancy and general support issues.
At the same time, every resident has a Bromford tenancy and will receive additional housing management support and a responsive repairs service.
In addition to the flats, Millward Place has a community hub with a lounge, meeting room and kitchen which provides residents with a social area as well as facilities to deliver training, employment advice and activities.
Focus Birmingham Chief Executive Tom Harrison said: “Millward Place is about helping visually impaired people to live as independently as possible in great accommodation, but is also intended to help them achieve their goals and aspirations with the help of person centred support.”
Catherine Ashley, MyPlace manager at Bromford, said: “It has been fantastic to see how the concept of our MyPlace model has gone from a great idea to a great place to live.
“By working with stakeholders, commissioners and Focus we’ve been able to deliver this great new service. Our customers now have an amazing opportunity to live independently, become part of the wider Kings Norton community and aspire to be the best they can be.”
Applicants for the remaining places at Millward Place can be referred through Focus Birmingham by contacting Wendy Charles on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0121 459 5199 (mobile 07974 241476) or directly to Bromford via My Place manager Catherine Ashley on 07841 800331 or by visiting www.bromford.co.uk.
Places are allocated through monthly Steering Groups that involve all partners and key stakeholders.
Maurice Corbett is enjoying life in his new home at Millward Place.
The pensioner, who celebrates his 70th birthday in August, has been living with reduced sight since his accident as a child.
And, after previously living in care homes run by Focus Birmingham he is now enjoying a more independent lifestyle after moving into his ground floor apartment at Millward Place.
Maurice said: “I haven’t lived independently before, so this is great. You can have what you want to eat, which is one good thing.
“It’s just been built so it’s brand new and the facilities are really nice. I really enjoy it here.”
Maurice has been receiving support from Focus since he was 16 years old.
He added: “I’ve had eye problems from when I was four and a half. I fell down the stairs at our house in Balsall Heath and banged my head.
“I noticed a problem with my eyes about two to three weeks later and so I went to the eye hospital.”
Maurice was unable to fulfil his aim to become a mechanic, but he is able to work as a volunteer at Focus Birmingham’s centre in Harborne three days a week.
“My right eye isn’t as good as my left but I am able to help out at Focus however I can.”