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New £2.2million facility to open next year

The Gentleman’s Residence on the Curly Hill in Strabane.

THE first phase of a new £2.2million supported living facility could be completed by the end of next year.

Announced this week, plans for the new supported living accommodation in Strabane include “high quality homes to help tackle the challenges people with a learning disability face in finding a home.”

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The facility, which will be based at what is known as ‘the Gentleman’s Residence’ on the Curlyhill, is a co-development between Mencap, Golden Lane Housing and the Western Health and Social Care Trust. 

The Strabane Chronicle further understands that instead of razing the current house to the ground, plans will be lodged at council with a view to developing the period home and maintaining the outer facade.

Mencap’s vision is that the Curlyhill facility will offer a mix of attractive, spacious, and accessible housing and short break accommodation that will make the most of its garden and woodland surroundings.

The £2.2million from Golden Lane for the supported living element excludes additional investment – as yet to be estimated – for the short break accommodation.

Barry McMenamin, Mencap NI Personal Support Service regional manager said, “We are very excited to display plans for our new supported living accommodation in partnership with Golden Lane Housing. This new accommodation and personalised support will provide an opportunity to transform the lives of each individual we support with a learning disability in the Strabane area.

“Mencap has been supporting and working with people with a learning disability across NI for many years. This type of service further increases our capacity to support people locally with a learning disability to live independently in their community.”

Similarly, Alastair Graham, director of Golden Lane Housing continued, “We are delighted to be working with Mencap to provide much needed housing for people with a learning disability in NI so that they can live their lives as independently as possible.

“We look forward to submitting plans to Derry and Strabane District Council.”

Mencap’s Personal Support service currently supports almost 80 people in NI to live independently in a mix of individual or shared flats and houses.

This week’s development was also welcomed by local MLAs.

Sinn Féin’s Michaela Boyle remarked, “This is a huge good news story for this area but especially to those with a learning disability who want so much to live independently. This is also a huge relief for families.

“I am proud to have lobbied for these facilities and will continue to work closely with Mencap to ensure those with a learning disability are treated equally and listened to.”

The SDLP’s Daniel McCrossan added, “This is a hugely welcomed move for Strabane and I do thank Mencap and the Western Trust for their work in bringing forward the project.

“Strabane has a major shortage in fit-for-purpose homes. This is especially the case for people with learning disabilities. This development will allow for these people to live as normal and as independent as possible.”

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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