We have a number of properties that have been tailored to the specific needs of our tenants. These include new builds and adaptations of existing properties.
In 2013 we built a brand new home for people with autistic spectrum disorder in Southhouse, Edinburgh.
The flats accommodate four people and are specially designed to ensure that our tenants have their specific housing needs met.
We are delighted to have worked very closely with City of Edinburgh Council Social Work Department on this development.
The property consists of:
This property underwent a phased refurbishment over an 18 month period during 2013/14.
The redevelopment involved:
The staff team at Southouse provides holistic care and support for eight adults with complex learning disabilities and associated conditions. They work within an ethos of providing a therapeutic style of care. This approach has proved highly beneficial, especially in terms of managing epilepsy, autism and mobility issues.
The service users do not use verbal communication, however through developing relationships over time, staff have built experiences of the many other ways those service users with very complex needs may try to make themselves understood.
A major part of the work for the staff team at Southhouse is to encourage and promote a comfortable living style for the service users and to ensure the built environments meet the service users’ needs. For example, in the bathroom there is a high-tech bath with jacuzzi and the bathroom walls are decorated with murals courtesy of students from Stevenson College in Edinburgh. In the kitchen, good use of colour and open spaces provide the service users with optimum freedom of movement within their home.
Another beneficial project for tenants at Southhouse has been the creation of a sensory garden by Ark.
We landscaped the existing area by digging out uneven surfaces to create a level garden, built a gazebo with seating, and installed a water feature. We planted herbs and other plants to stimulate the senses and installed areas with soft ground cushioning.
The plans for the garden were drawn-up by students at Oatridge College which specialises in horticulture and agriculture, and we made use of local contractors and other interested parties, including staff from ARK’s head office, to complete the garden.
To improve access to the garden and encourage service user independence we installed french doors in each service user’s bedroom allowing direct access into the secure garden area. Care Commission reports praised our efforts whilst giving us a high grading on environment criteria.
"I have just witnessed ‘L’ (service user) using the garden hose to water his garden. The look on his face was amazing to see. His eyes lit up and he had a huge grin on his face."
Senior Support Worker, Ark