Pupils name new extra care scheme in Rowley Regis
Imaginative primary school pupils in Rowley Regis have named a new £15 million extra care housing scheme for people aged 55 and over being built near their school.
The Year 4s from Brickhouse Primary School – who were split into teams for the task – worked with staff from Sandwell Council’s Housing and Partnerships team to suggest a name for the scheme which is on Moor Lane and Harvest Road.
The winning name, chosen from a shortlist by a panel of representatives from Sandwell Council and construction partner Speller Metcalfe is Willow Gardens.
The willow symbolises a fresh start, as the willow tree is deciduous, losing its leaves in the winter and making a fresh start in the spring. The children are also hoping some willow trees will be planted around the complex.
Members of the winning team were Lexi, Varinder, Mason, Fahan and Layla who were each presented with a gift voucher. All pupils received a certificate and a Speller Metcalfe goody bag.
As part of their research for the project, Jane Hanney-Martin, Sandwell’s museum services manager talked to the pupils about the history of the local area and Speller Metcalfe site manager Matthew McConnell – explained how they were building the scheme.
Sandwell Mayor, Councillor Dr Ann Jaron, visiting the school, said: “It’s great to see the enthusiasm of the young people who were involved in this project.
“They are playing their part in the local community and have shown imagination and creativity in coming up with a name which will mean something to their neighbourhood.
“In one of my previous council roles, I was the Cabinet Member for Adult Services, and I know that extra care housing helps residents live independent lives while enjoying on-site facilities as well as a flexible 24-hour care and support service.
“The new development will also be an asset to the wider local community who will be able to join in with the activities organised at Willow Gardens when it opens in 2021.”
Helen Debney, deputy headteacher at Brickhouse Primary school, said: “This was a fabulous opportunity for our children to play a key role in their community. This is an area they will see as they grow up and will know they were part of it. We are looking to forward to maintaining links with Willow Gardens when it is opened.”
Matthew McConnell, site manager for Speller Metcalfe, added: ” It’s fantastic that the children from Brickhouse Primary School have been involved with this project by naming the new development. Building work is progressing well and we are looking forward to seeing Willow Gardens continuing to take shape during 2020.”
Funding for the £15 million project has come from Sandwell Council’s Investment Programme and Homes England.
It will provide housing for over 55s who need additional support to live in their own homes along with support staff on site around the clock.
The development features 67 one-bedroom and 23 two-bedroom apartments built around a shared garden plus other communal facilities including a restaurant and hair dressing salon, both of which will be open to the public.