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News Report Page 7 of 48
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MP Damien Moore takes up new seat!

Foundation stone is laid as countdown to opening of new Birkdale care village gets underway

THE Southport MP Damien Moore swapped the backbenches for the driving seat of a heavy duty forklift truck, as he laid down the 1st foundation stone at care operator Belong's new ₤16m state of the art development, in Birkdale, Merseyside.  The foundation stone ceremony marked a milestone in the village operator's latest project, which, once completed, will provide pioneering dementia care services and a range of facilities open to the public.

Belong has appointed North West construction company, Pochin, as the main contractor, alongside architects, Pozzoni, to develop the state of art care village, which will feature distinctive details and materials inspired by the West Birkdale Conservation Area, including Reigate Medium Multi brickwork, stone cladding to apartment balconies and feature window surrounds.

Upon completion, the new development, on Oxford Road, will become Belong's 8th village, providing class leading dementia care and high specification accommodation for over 100 people, including 24 hour care and nursing support, to 72 people, within extended family sized households. In addition, there will be 30, 1 and 2 bedroom, independent living apartments, together with a range of facilities open to the public, including a bistro, hair salon, exercise studio and function rooms, designed to promote maximum engagement with local communities.

The Birkdale development has been made possible through Belong's partnership with Octopus Healthcare, a UK leading investor, developer and manager of healthcare properties. Octopus Healthcare has played a key role in funding the Birkdale project and will support Belong in the village delivery process.

MP Damien Moore was thrilled to be involved with the project, saying:- "Belong's new Birkdale village will be of huge significance to my constituency. The class-leading care provided and range of great facilities available will really benefit the local community."

Belong Chief Executive, Tracey Stakes, is also looking forward to the completion of the Birkdale village. She commented:- "Birkdale is a perfect location for Belong and we're excited to be launching our 1st seaside village! We are confident it will quickly prove a real asset to the local area, providing high quality care services for older people and the wider community."

Belong Birkdale is due to open in autumn 2019. For further enquiries, please call:- 01704 614101.

More than 22,000 new homes needed every year to tackle homelessness

MORE than 22,000 homes need to be built in the North West every year to address the region's urgent housing shortage and tackle rising levels of homelessness. According to a new report from Crisis, the national homelessness charity, around 15,000 homes were built in the North West last year, compared to the 22,600 homes the region needs. With house building falling well short of what is required, hundreds of people simply have no way of finding somewhere to live and are being forced into homelessness.

The country's chronic shortage of social homes, in particular, is preventing homeless people from getting back on their feet. Crisis research released in May shows that England needs to build 90,000 homes for social rent every year for the next 15 years, in order to meet demand amongst both people who are homeless and the broader group of people on low incomes, many of whom are at risk of homelessness.

Just over 2,500 homeless families and individuals in the North West are stuck in temporary accommodation, according to the latest Government data. Almost one in seven of these households are living in B&B's, 4 of the most precarious forms of temporary accommodation.

The research, conducted by Heriot Watt University, calculates how many homes are needed to address the existing shortage of houses, as well as future demand.

Simply building the right number of homes each year will not solve the crisis; they need to be the right type of homes. The report has found that in the North West around 11,000 of the new homes needed each year, 48% of the total, must be affordable homes for people on the lowest incomes; and the largest chunk of this must be social housing.

However, just over 3,600 affordable homes were built in the North West last year.

Of the 11,000 affordable homes needed every year, roughly:-

4,300 should be for social rent.

3,300 should be for intermediate affordable rent.

3,300 should be for shared ownership.

The report also finds that only ½ of people under the age of 40 in the North of England can afford to buy a home. 1 in 3 under 40's can only afford to live in the Region if they live in social housing.

Crisis is calling on the Government to invest in the homes that England urgently needs, especially homes for social rent, to ensure that people on the lowest incomes have somewhere secure and stable to live.

The research builds on findings about England's housing shortage at a national level, which was released by Crisis earlier this year, showing a total backlog of 4,000,000 homes.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said:- "It's heart breaking that in this winter weather thousands of people across the North West have to sleep on our streets, stay in tents, live in hostels, and experience other forms of homelessness. Many people are stuck in these terrible and often dangerous situations simply because there isn't enough affordable housing, particularly social housing. Christmas is around the corner, and this can be a particularly hard time for homeless people. While others are celebrating with family and friends, many homeless people face a daily struggle just to stay safe, escape the cold, and feel connected to others. This is all the worse when there are proven solutions that can end homelessness for good. This is can't go on; the Government must build housing that people who are homeless or on low incomes can afford and access, because we all deserve a safe place to call home."

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