Changing Lives has welcomed its first residents to the newly transformed Bentinck Terrace, a refurbished state-of-the-art accommodation project for people experiencing homelessness in Newcastle.
Last year the charity embarked on an ambitious redevelopment project of its 50-bed crisis accommodation (formerly known as Elliott House) for people experiencing homelessness across the city.
The redevelopment transformed the hostel-style shared accommodation into 36 self-contained stylish apartments.
The transformation provides each resident with their own front door and private living space. Each apartment is finished to a high standard – with living, dining, kitchen area, bedroom and en-suite or separate bathroom, as well as communal spaces and gardens.
There is also onsite support for residents around developing employability skills, job training and tenancy management. Residents receive one-to-one support from Asset Coaches who help them set personal goals, and work towards aspirations supporting their individual needs.
Stephen Bell, Chief Executive at Changing Lives said:
“We are committed to developing a system and service that is best for the people we support and helps to give them the best possible chance to move forward in life. We believe that everyone should have their own front door and safe space to call home.
“The redevelopment of Bentinck Terrace completely changes the way we offer homelessness support in Newcastle, focusing on quality not quantity. We are looking to provide a nurturing environment that can make a real impact on residents’ lives rather than simply provide a bed for the night.”
The ambitious redevelopment project was completed in May and residents started moving in last month.
Beth, a current resident at Bentinck Terrace, said:
“I’ve got my own space and independence here, but I know I’ve also got the support I need.
“It’s a lovely safe space, and when my door closes I can be in my own little world to do my painting and chill out, something I felt I could never do when I was living in shared hostels. It gives you the time and privacy to just be you and work on yourself. It feels like home. I couldn’t knock the support I’ve been given here.”
Alan Hodgson, Project Lead at Bentinck Terrace said:
“The project has only been open a few weeks but we are already seeing some amazing results. We have had three residents successfully move into their own private rented tenancy after receiving support at Bentinck Terrace.
“It’s amazing to see how a positive environment can have such a big impact on the people we support. We are seeing people engaging in other services and making real changes. Residents are seeing that they can have a lovely home of their own and it is giving them hope for their future.”
The redevelopment project was undertaken at the beginning of last year and involved a complete restructure of the Grade II listed building, working in partnership with JDDK Architects and the developer Meldrum Construction.
The goal was to transform the building into modern self-contained living spaces while maximising space and preserving the heritage and period features of the building.
Kevin Turnbull, Director of Newcastle-based JDDK Architects, said: “We’ve been involved at Elliott House for over 22 years with commissions for alterations, refurbishments and various extensions to the building in 1999, 2008 and 2010.
“This phase has possibly been the most challenging to totally reconfigure the interior of a Grade II listed building of architectural importance to create the new apartments in line with current best practice.
“With no original plans available, our research into City archives revealed various early Building Control applications which gave an indication of the original internal layout and position of external outbuildings to configure the building as closely to the original layout as possible, and restore original features including the ornate ceilings and room proportions wherever possible.”
“We’re delighted to have been of help to Changing Lives and very proud of the part we have played in the refurbishment which has provided such high quality accommodation.”