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Pioneering project for elderly could create jobs

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 01, 2012

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A £26MILLION pioneering project which could revolutionise the way older people are cared for is expected to go before South Hams District Council planners in December.

Dartington Hall Trust bosses hope their Abundant Life scheme could be given the go-ahead when they file their planning application to the council later this year.

The completely private-funded scheme could be built within two years after being granted approval and could create up to 50 new jobs on the old Dartington Hall School site at Foxhole.

Trust chief executive Vaughan Lindsay said he was confident the revolutionary scheme would be approved.

He said: "We've been in consultation over this for the last three years.

"The feedback has been so positive that already 700 people have said they are interested.

"We've even had people giving us cheques as deposits to secure a place.

"Our biggest problem is the scheme will not be big enough to accommodate them all and we will be faced with a difficult selection process."

The scheme will have 150 to 180 dwellings to buy, rent or part-rent.

They will be available people from all walks of life regardless of wealth and income.

The project, a new model of community living for those aged 55 and over, is aimed at keeping older people in their home, active and involved in their community for as long as possible.

At present, the only two choices available to older people are to stay in their home, which is often unsuitable for their changing physical needs and wellbeing, or to leave their home and move to a room within a residential care home.

Abundant Life could generate some £7million annually into the local economy at no cost to the public purse, says the trust.

Mr Lindsay said the social experiment was for people to remain active in life for as long as possible and continue to contribute to society.

He said Abundant Life would aim to create an 'inclusive community of older people who want to lead a more engaged social life'.

Mr Lindsay said: "We believe that most care can be delivered in people's own home rather than in a care home.

"We want people to contribute to their environment and look after each other.

"We have a lot of activities here at Dartington for people to be involved in.

"We want this new community to be part of the experiment and research."

Mr Lindsay said he hoped to see the success of the project replicated all over the country.

He added: "Success doesn't just mean that we do it well here but that in 10 years' time, there will be Abundant Life projects all over the country.

"This project does not require public funding, would help reduce the impact of care on the public purse and would free up family homes for other people. If it works, all eyes will be on us."

Abundant Life will be for people aged 55 or over and would not become a gated community for the wealthy, say estate bosses.

However, special care facilities would be available for dementia sufferers as they require more care and help.

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