Legal & General today announced a £5 million charitable donation to Newcastle City Council for elderly care in the city.

The gift will be used for two projects. Initially and with immediate effect, it will help fund additional independent living facilities for older residents within the Future Homes Alliance project at Newcastle Helix, managed by the City Council’s housing partner, Karbon Homes.

The facilities will be made up of 66 affordable units along with five demonstrator homes to test the latest innovations and products to help support ageing and environmental sustainability in a real-world setting.

The second, larger component of the donation will provide core funding for a 20/25-bed ‘new model’ residential care home. This project, for which Newcastle City Council will identify a site, will be a prototype which moves away from the traditional large-scale care home to a more domestic, clustered, communal setting. Its design and operation will incorporate key lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, including on infection control and operation of lockdowns and ‘support bubbles’, helping to minimise negative effects on residents, particularly those living with dementia. The care home’s construction will be led by the City Council which will also own and operate the facility.

Both the independent living facilities and the care home will be built to enable best use of new technology including telehealth, telemedicine and remote monitoring using the internet of things. Both types of accommodation will provide data to help grow knowledge of how best to operate care facilities in a post-Covid environment, facilitating maximum collaboration between facilities and the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing, Urban Observatory as well as other researchers and providers of care.

Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General, said: “With an ageing population, elderly care was already a major issue for L&G and many of our customers, and Covid was a further tragic blow for many in the care sector – including in the Northeast. We have to find better ways to care for older people, and these prototypes will accelerate the process, demonstrate what can be done and what is viable, and complement the academic work we already sponsor. Doing this here, alongside brilliant partners, cements Newcastle’s position as a national leader in care.”

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “The population in Newcastle is growing older and many of our residents live with complex needs that require different levels of support. I am passionate about ensuring we have the right level of care, available at the right time and in the right place that helps all our residents live long, happy and healthy lives.”

Date published: September 14, 2020

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