Newcastle City Council has agreed a £5 million charitable partnership with Legal & General (L&G) to support new approaches to elderly care in the city.
The £5 million donated by L&G will be used as part of two projects, providing core funding for a 20-25-bed ‘new model’ residential care home as well as helping to fund independent living facilities within Newcastle Helix’s ‘Future Homes’ project.
Both the care home and the independent living facilities will make use of new technology to help support ageing and environmental sustainability and will provide data to help grow knowledge of how best care facilities can operate post-COVID-19.
Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “I am thrilled to announce this partnership with L&G, which builds on our previous city-wide agreement and provides a welcome investment in critical adult social care services.
“The pandemic has shown how vital good quality adult social care services are and how important our approach to partnership working is. We have an opportunity to move away from large scale facilities to smaller, community-based services that provide a sense of independent home living, are dementia friendly and improve everyone’s quality of life.
“Newcastle can be a global leader in our thinking for the future and homes and services like this showcase that belief.”
The facilities at the Future Homes project, led by the Future Homes Alliance and managed by the council’s housing partner Karbon Homes, will be made up of 66 affordable homes along with five demonstrator homes.
All the new homes will be integrated within the first wave of residential development at Newcastle Helix, which was approved by the council’s planning committee last month.
The new care home, which Newcastle City Council is set to lead construction on, own and operate, will be a prototype that moves away from traditional large-scale facilities to create a smaller, more domestic, communal setting.
Its design and operation will look to incorporate key lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic such as infection control, lockdownsm and support bubbles to minimise negative effects on residents, especially those with dementia.
Both projects will be built to make best use of new technology including telehealth, medicine and remote monitoring using the ‘Internet of things’.
The data generated by the technology will aid collaboration between facilities, researchers such as Newcastle University’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), and other care providers.
Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General, said: “With an ageing population, elderly care was already a major issue for L&G and many of our customers, and COVID was a further tragic blow for many in the care sector – including in the North East.
“We have to find better ways to care for older people, and these prototypes will accelerate the process, demonstrate what can be done and what is viable, and complement the academic work we already sponsor. Doing this here, alongside brilliant partners, cements Newcastle’s position as a national leader in care.”
Charlotte Carpenter, executive director of growth and business development at Karbon Homes, said: “I want to thank L&G for their very generous contribution to this important project. Working closely with our partners, we aim to set new standards in quality and innovation, to provide the best possible living environment.
“We will be experimenting with new technologies and products to enhance the lives of older residents in particular, and really push the boundaries on what can be achieved around environmental sustainability.”
Image: An architect’s drawing of how the new ‘Future Homes’ development at Newcastle Helix will look. Credit: Ryder Architecture