Business

Choice completes £150,000 refurbishment of scheme for young people

Pictured at the official opening of the newly refurbished Antrim Road scheme are (from left) Jim Dennison, chief executive at Simon Community; Liz Lundy, acting project manager at 242 Antrim Road; and Grainne Donnelly, supported housing manager at Choice Housing
Pictured at the official opening of the newly refurbished Antrim Road scheme are (from left) Jim Dennison, chief executive at Simon Community; Liz Lundy, acting project manager at 242 Antrim Road; and Grainne Donnelly, supported housing manager at Choice Pictured at the official opening of the newly refurbished Antrim Road scheme are (from left) Jim Dennison, chief executive at Simon Community; Liz Lundy, acting project manager at 242 Antrim Road; and Grainne Donnelly, supported housing manager at Choice Housing

SOCIAL landlord Choice Housing has invested £150,000 on a supported housing scheme on Belfast's Antrim Road to offer accommodation for young people aged between 16 and 21 who are transitioning out of care.

The '242 Antrim Road' scheme, owned by Choice and managed by homelessness charity Simon Community, provides 10 units of accommodation as well as a communal space, spacious kitchen and open plan lounge fully equipped with a workstation and IT equipment.

Choice Group chief executive Michael McDonnell said: “We are committed to maintaining and ensuring the long-term sustainability of all of our housing stock and understand that the needs of tenants can evolve and that their living situation needs to adapt.

“Working with Simon Community and tenants at 242 Antrim Road, we identified a number of areas that would not only enhance the physical space of the property but would support tenants in their bid for independent living.

“This new space now offers tenants the opportunity to engage more openly with each other, providing more space for facilitating a range of bigger group sessions and the opportunity to socialise and cook together. This all lends to better mental health and wellbeing which is vital for these young people who are looking towards independent living for the first time”.

Jim Dennison, chief executive at Simon Community NI, added: “I’m delighted to see the extension of 242 Antrim Road launched in our charity’s 50th year.

“In the past, this property had limited space for young people to meet and take part in group activities but now the extension allows for staff and clients at the project to plan meaningful activities based around the common room and kitchen that will help develop social and independent living skills.”

The 18-week upgrade was delivered by contractors VHL Construction, with funding from Choice and a grant secured through LandAid, the property industry charity, which works to improve the lives of children and young people in the UK who experience disadvantage due to their economic situation.