Social Care Strategies is working with Newcastle-based Sea Island Developments to develop new purpose-built extra care housing for older people.

Find out more about who Sea Island Developments are and what they do.

Sea Island currently has a pipeline of six extra care housing developments across England. A guiding principle of these developments is to specify and design the building in collaboration with the local authority’s social care commissioners and the support provider appointed by the commissioners. It is the job of the commissioners and operator to know what works and the job of the developer to make sure that the new building takes full account of this knowledge.

A design team comprising architects, commissioners and provider agrees what is needed to provide quality of life for tenants and long-term sustainability for the development itself. Key features include:

  • One-bedroom two-person flats at an average of 50 square metres
  • Two passenger lifts close to building entrances and communal facilities
  • Scooter store close to the main entrance
  • Level access to private balconies to give access to all to an outside space
  • Direct access to landscaped gardens for all ground floor flats
  • Fully accessible hard and soft landscaping, including raised beds, greenhouse and allotment
  • Flat doors recessed in alcoves to allow for personal decoration and ‘memory objects’
  • External windows at the end of each corridor, avoiding ‘close off’ spaces and allowing natural daylight and outside views
  • No enclosed (and potentially dark) hallways in flats
  • ‘Future proofed’ flat layouts, allowing for future installation of linear track hoists
  • Dividable communal space which includes a living wall
  • CAT6 hard-wired internet and high speed wi-fi throughout the building

This collaborative approach to specification and design gives confidence to everyone involved:

  • To the commissioner that it will provide a genuine alternative to residential care
  • To the operator that it will enable staff to minimise dependence on paid support
  • To the investor that people will want to live there in years to come

We are also creating opportunities for potential tenants to have a voice in the design of their future housing and support. In three locations – North Tyneside, Gateshead and Northumberland – we are working collaboratively with local Age UK organisations who engage day-by-day with prospective tenants.