Albyn Housing Society to turn old Ullapool care home into £1.1m living project.

Albyn Housing Society has received the green light to transform a disused care home staff accommodation block in Ullapool into a cutting-edge independent living development, helping people live independently for longer.

The social housing provider has taken steps to purchase a staff accommodation block from the former Mo Dhachaidh care home in Ullapool. The property will be converted into four one-bedroom ‘fit homes’ that incorporate innovative technology to enhance independent living.

These state-of-the-art fit homes, a brainchild of Albyn Housing Society in collaboration with the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal, incorporate predictive behaviour pattern sensors and utilise artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Equipped with sensors that provide real-time information to family members, caregivers, or key workers with access permission, these homes prioritize privacy while enabling tenants to maintain independent living for longer periods, thereby reducing the burden on social care.

This acquisition forms part of a community-led initiative to maintain some level of care provision in the Ullapool area post the closure of the neighboring care home in March 2023. The property has been acquired by Albyn with the aid of grant funding from the Scottish Government and The Highland Council.

The care home building, which was salvaged by the Highland Hospice, is presently utilized by NHS Highland as a health centre.

Kirsty Morrison, the group chief executive of Albyn Housing Society, expressed, “We were aware of the concerns within the local community following the closure of the care home last year, and Albyn was keen to contribute towards ensuring the availability of social care locally.”

“Our state-of-the-art fit homes have demonstrated great success in other Highland areas like Lairg, Nairn, and Dingwall. They enable residents to live independently in their own homes for extended periods, facilitating their continued presence in the local community, a challenge often encountered due to the vast geographical spread in Highland.”

“With funding support from the Scottish Government and The Highland Council, we will address the shortage of social housing in Ullapool and provide peace of mind to the families of future residents of these homes post completion of refurbishment. Having finalized the planning, we aim to commence site work later this year.”

MSP for Ullapool, Maree Todd, remarked, “Living in the Ullapool area, I recognize the significance of enabling local residents to age gracefully within their own community.”

“The closure of Mo Dhachaidh last year dealt a severe blow to residents, staff, and the entire Ullapool community. However, with this new initiative led by Albyn, which offers independent living options, alongside NHS Highland’s operation of a health centre in part of the former care home, this building holds a promising future at the community’s core.”

“Albyn Housing Society’s groundbreaking work in introducing fit homes in rural Highland locations is commendable, and I look forward to witnessing the positive impact these homes can bring to Ullapool.”

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