Pioneering homes which aim to transform the lives of people with disabilities – including a washing machine that clean and irons clothes – was being launched yesterday (Thursday 29 June) in Dundee by Minister of Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart.
Housing and care provider Blackwood has designed six hugely innovative homes that set a new standard of accessibility, with the help of technology and modern construction.
Max Brown, Chair of Blackwood, welcomed the Minister and accompanied him on a tour of the new homes. Councillor Ken Lynn, Chair of Dundee's Health and Social Care Partnership was also present to welcome the contribution that these homes make to the city's new plans to help people live independently.
The development, located off Glamis Road, will be the first to showcase the visionary 'Blackwood House' – a design blueprint for flexible living which Blackwood plans to roll out in increasing numbers across Scotland.
The homes have been specifically designed with help from existing Blackwood customers who know what works best in their daily lives. The design features a central core of kitchen and bathroom – with movable fittings and rise and fall units – which provides greater circulation space for easy access. Flexible storage space and a greater level of automation complete the impressive specification.
Each home is kitted out with the very latest in integrated technology – Blackwood's bespoke digital care system CleverCogs. This smart technology is installed in touch screen devices and enables customers to open blinds, switch on TVs, order shopping, see who is at their door and connect safely with family, friends and carers.
The properties are also equipped with the much anticipated Brompton Washscape – a machine that not only washes and dries, but also irons laundry.
Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart, said:
"I'm delighted to open this development of accessible and connected homes in Dundee.
"This new housing development supports the Government's ambition set out in "A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People" – our Disability Delivery Plan, that disabled people in Scotland should live life to the full in homes built or adapted to enable them to participate as full and equal citizens.
"The 'Blackwood House' is also a great example of how suitable housing can contribute to health and wellbeing outcomes both for the people who live there and more widely for the local health and social care partnership. Most importantly, they provide safe and affordable homes for the tenants, to enable them to live independently."
Fanchea Kelly, Chief Executive at Blackwood, said:
"We believe that these beautiful, highly accessible and affordable homes will enhance the lives of our new tenants.
"Technology has an increasingly vital part to play in the way homes are designed for people with varying levels of disability and we're excited to put this new standard for accessibility into practice in Dundee. We're grateful for the help we've had from many customers as we developed the concept.
"The Scottish Government has brought Health and Social Care services together in every area of Scotland and through the Blackwood House we offer a bespoke, modern example of what independent living should look like.
"I want to recognise this excellent example of joint commissioning, between Dundee City Council, Dundee's Health and Social Care Partnership, and Scottish Government, and believe this is a first demonstration of what great design can do to improve health and ultimately change lives.
"The team work with CCG as developer, our own staff, and our technology partners, has delivered a stunning example of the housing contribution to Health and Social Care Outcomes in Dundee.
"With funding provided by Triodos Bank we've been able to move this development from concept to reality over the last year.
"We're now in discussion in a number of other local authority areas and we're looking forward to building more Blackwood homes across Scotland over the next few years.''