Group reveal housing deal

THE future of sheltered housing in Girvan looks secure after a deal between the local authority and a housing charity which will mean a new state of the art complex being built and continued care for the elderly in the town.

The chairman of the Friends of Hillcrest Support Group has this week moved to end confusion over the future of the care home and the adjoining sheltered housing complex at McConnell Square.

Denis Reid issued a full statement last week confirming the position of the support group and the future of residential provision for the elderly in the area after South Ayrshire Council announced plans to rehouse current tenants to new homes.

Mr Reid explained: “For several years Friends of Hillcrest have been aware that South Ayrshire Council was intending to replace the facility at Hillcrest despite the fact it consistently receives the highest possible accolades and reports from the Care Commission.

“To be fair, South Ayrshire Council originally intended to replace the unit with a new state of the art complex and have never suggested opting out of the care of the elderly in Girvan and district.

“As our negotiations progressed it became clear that the council were unable to finance a new Hillcrest complex and that it was the intention to provide through other means the care facility that would eventually replace Hillcrest.”

Friends of Hillcrest maintained regular contact with the local authority about future plans throughout.

Mr Reid added that it was eventually proposed and agreed that following negotiations between the charity, Trust Housing, which operates a sheltered housing facility at Old Street in Girvan, and the council, that provided acquisition of additional land could be negotiated then Trust Housing would build on a new complex to replace the council facility at Hillcrest.

“This proposal was gone into in considerable depth during which Friends of Hillcrest were consulted and kept informed, said Mr Reid.

“We were also concerned for the residents in McConnell Square and their future housing needs were a full part of our discussions with the council.”

Assurances were given in writing from Kenny Leinster, head of community care and housing at South Ayrshire Council, that if additional land had been obtained, new state of the art accomodation would be built by Trust Housing at Old Street which will provide for Hillcrest’s current residents with the full care package that they each require.

The group were also assured the 28 vacated units at McConnell Square would remain with curtains, furniture and timed lighting and no boarding up of units would take place.

Mr Reid continued: “Currently, Friends of Hillcrest are reasonably satisfied with the assurances we have been given however one point concerned us and that was what the council meant by stating that Hillcrest’s residents on eventually transferring to new facilities at Trust Housing would receive “the care package that they require”.

“We felt clarification was needed here. Following a meeting with the council it was made clear that residents would receive the same care package they get at Hillcrest and 24-hour if required.”

Mr Reid added: “We think that we are moving in the right direction but despite this, we assure the people of Girvan and district, the residents of Hillcrest, McConnell Square and the staff at Hillcrest that we are a long way from our goal and that we will remain vigilant to ensure that matters progress effectively and efficiently from now on.”