WORK has started on a development of specialist housing in York designed for people with visual and sensory impairments.
The Wilberforce Trust is delivering 30 state-of-the-art flats in the Dringhouses area of the city, along with a living and learning centre that will be open to local community.
To mark the start of the project, the trust was joined by Abbie Robinson — one of its ambassadors and a member of the GB Para-climbing team — and staff from main contractor William Birch & Sons for a groundbreaking ceremony.
“The Wilberforce Trust is celebrating this landmark day in the development of the project,” said Philippa Crowther, the trust’s chief executive. “We are really excited to put the first spade in the ground marking the next chapter in the Trust’s history and taking a great step forward in realising the plans we have been developing to provide excellent and accessible accommodation in the city.”
Robinson added: “As a visually impaired young person, the most important thing to me is keeping my independence and living the life I want to live. This development will offer help and hope to other visually impaired people whatever their age and I’m so proud to be here at the outset of what will be a ground-breaking new facility.”
Chris Birch, chairman of York-based William Birch & Sons Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be breaking ground on the site for the Wilberforce Trust and are looking forward to the new development taking shape over the coming months. Our team’s expertise coupled with local employment and engagement with many local businesses will bring wider benefits to the city of York and its people. We look forward to unveiling the new facilities in the early part of 2021.”
Main Image: (Left to right) Gemma Shahjahan, business development manager, William Birch & Sons; Abbie Robinson, ambassador for the Wilberforce Trust; Damian Pocknell, head of housing, the Wilberforce Trust; Philippa Crowther, chief executive, the Wilberforce Trust; Chris Birch, chief executive, the Wilberforce Trust; Andrew Caley, site manager, William Birch & Sons; Jane Carter, head of development, the Wilberforce Trust