June 18, 2008

Enormous Building is on Human Scale


Luxury accommodation is providing a new alternative for an aging population.

The opening of Rowan Village in Meir was a long-awaited moment for politicians, housing executives, and the over-55s who have moved into the building.

It is a flagship example of modern housing for older people in the city. As well as 75 apartments it boasts a gym, shop, hair salon, restaurant, gardens and carers to suit the needs of each individual.

At the launch event yesterday, Rhian Hughes, chairman of Staffordshire Housing Association, said: "This is a momentous and important event.

"We have developed housing and services which people not only need but want to live in.

"This is what Rowan Village symbolises. It's a safe environment and people know they can live here even if their health deteriorates.

"The size of the building is enormous but the scale is human and the design is attractive."

Elected mayor Mark Meredith said: "We are blessed to have such a fantastic building.

"I can see residents are already proud to have this place. This is a new concept of living which allows people to remain independent and develop a sense of community.

"It is also a symbol of the regeneration and investment in Stoke- on-Trent."

He said the council has recently received news of a further pounds100 million for similar extra-care accommodation throughout the city.

He added: "This is an exciting prospect. As we grow older we want to live with dignity and the respect we deserve.

"Rowan Village is somewhere to make friends and it will be an exciting part of residents' lives. They can be proud of it."

In-house care can be tailored to suit each resident and can be extended to accommodate any changes. This means people can be sure they have a home for life rather than a place until their health deteriorates.

This is particularly important for Helen Harnett, aged 61, who moved into Rowan Village 10 days ago. She had a stroke in 2006 after returning from living abroad in Spain where she worked as a cook. She had been living in a care complex in Abbey Hulton and is happy to have her independence back in her new flat.

She said: "I've made quite a few friends here already and I will be getting involved in keep fit classes, and bingo.

"I wanted to move out of the care home I was in because it had stairs and I have mobility problems. Now I have a flat on the ground floor and it is so much better."

Butcher Alan Shakespeare, aged 55, is the youngest resident in Rowan Village. He and his wife Janet have bought a two-bedroom apartment. He said: "This place is modern and feels like a hotel. It's not like a place for old people, it's just a place where there is care if you need it.

"Our apartment is big and our family can visit and stay over. We have no regrets at all."

Rowan Village is owned by Staffordshire Housing Association. It was funded and developed by the city council, The Housing Corporation, West Midlands Regional Health Authority, The Department Of Health and Renew North Staffordshire.

(c) 2008 Sentinel, The (Stoke-on-Trent UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.