Minister hails Leeds sheltered housing

By Cathy Forman, July 23, 2009

Housing Minister John Healey made a fact-finding trip to Leeds Jewish Housing Association last Friday.

The visit was arranged at short notice after the newly-appointed minister and Wentworth, south Yorkshire, MP had asked to see an exemplar sheltered housing scheme. LJHA’s Skyte House was recommended to him by Naz Parkar, head of investment for the Homes and Communities Agency in Leeds.

Mr Healey was welcomed by LJHA chairman Stephen Lewis. He explained that Skyte House, built in 2005, was a 40-flat sheltered complex with communal areas and courtyard gardens connected to the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Community Centre.

The MP also met tenants including Lorna Cohen, who told him: “In my position of Lady Mayor, I was privileged to visit many sheltered housing schemes but none compare to Skyte House in terms of quality and support.”

Another tenant, Mollie Rosenhead, said: “I have my own flat and am not disturbed unless I choose to be, or if I need help, any time day or night.”

Mr Healey said “the energy and vitality of the tenants” had been immediately apparent. “Skyte House is not just housing for elderly people — it’s a home for people getting older.”

Mr Healey agreed to a request from LJHA chief executive Sheila Saunders to launch the association’s newest development adjacent to Skyte House. Donning a hard hat, he used a ceremonial spade to begin the building of the 62-flat Stonegate retirement complex, which has received a £4 million Housing and Communities Agency grant.

Last updated: 11:33am, July 23 2009