99-year-old says controversial care home Oakland in Swadlincote is 'out of this world'
A 99-YEAR-OLD who was among the first tenants to move into a new £20 million care village has hailed it as "out of this world".
Great-grandmother Elsie Payne rents a two-bedroom "extra-care" apartment at Oakland in Swadlincote.
With the elderly population soaring, the village was built to enable people with care needs to live independently with staff available on site all the time.
It has a bar, restaurant, lounge area, IT suite, gym, jacuzzi, hairdresser, craft room, library, landscaped gardens and a hall for shows, dancing, bingo and films.
Mrs Payne said she was enjoying life at the complex.
She said: "I had a bad fall where I was living before and ended up in hospital for three weeks. When I came here, I was frightened and nervous because it had damaged my confidence and I felt like I'd lost my independence.
"But the support workers are golden and all the other staff have been wonderful too. It really is a marvellous place – the care is second to none.
"Everything is on the doorstep and you don't have to worry about things like cooking meals – the restaurant does beautiful food and the hairdressers is great.
"I'm very happy here – it really is out of this world."
Building work on the £120 million complex in Hall Farm Road started in 2010 and it officially opened its doors with a ceremony this month.
About 40 people have now moved in, with some renting and others buying homes at the 88-apartment purpose-built sheltered scheme.
There is also a specialist care centre with 16 long-term and 16 short-term residential care beds for older people with a higher level of needs.
Apartment prices range from £134,995 to £149,995. Rents are from £118.76 per week to £124.70 per week. Service charges are £35 to £40 per week.
The village is managed by Trident Reach, in partnership with Trident Housing Association, Derbyshire County Council and South Derbyshire District Council.
Karen Jones, head of tenancy support at Trident Reach, said: "The idea is to cater for all levels of support needs in a community setting. Support is always available to enable residents to live independently but with the peace of mind that there is someone there if they need.
"It is the first time Trident Reach has managed these type of social businesses – including the hairdressers and restaurant – on such a large scale, but they provide a wonderful mix of facilities on residents' doorsteps."
The county council plans to close 20 of its care homes and replace them with 1,600 extra care apartments – similar to those at Oakland – by 2017.
Protest group Derbyshire Care Homes Campaign said that it was not opposed to the extra-care complexes, but argued it was crucial the 20 care homes were retained.
Chairman Gill Ferguson said: "Extra care is great for some people but totally inappropriate for others."