A disused building in Leeds is set to be transformed into a new £2.1m technology hub that will help keep vulnerable residents safe in their homes.
Work on the new Assistive Technology Hub at New Dock (formerly Clarence Dock) officially began on January 16.
The council-owned building was vacated by Leeds College of Building in 2011 and the refurbishment project will see £2,170,963 spent on providing a new reception, office area, training space, meeting rooms, and blue badge assessment facilities.
Along with a host of other services, the hub will also house the council’s state-of-the-art Telecare service.
The hi-tech system allows older or vulnerable residents to live safely and independently at home by monitoring them 24 hours a day using sensors and alarms.
Sensors can be put on ceilings, doors and walls or may be worn by the service user in the form of a pendant, watch or belt which will detect falls and emergencies and then alert staff at the hub.
It can also include a bogus caller alert system, which allows vulnerable residents to alert the team if they are concerned about someone who knocks at their door.
The service is also working closely with the NHS on the further development of its Telehealth system, which allows people with long term conditions to have their vital signs monitored remotely, helping them to manage their own health condition.
Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:
“Living independently in their own homes is something more and more of our older residents, as well as those with physical or learning disabilities, are telling us they want to do for as long as they possibly can.
“We’re keen to do everything we can to ensure they can do that safely, that’s why we want to give them easy access to the latest assistive technology which allows them to adapt their homes and make them a secure, comfortable environment.”
Cllr Ogilvie, who was at the hub to see work get underway this week, added: “This Assistive Technology Hub will be a one-stop centre which will give our residents access to more personalised services as well as greater choice and control. This is another great example of the council giving disused buildings a new lease of life and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished hub later this year.”
The Assistive Technology Hub, which is due to be completed this autumn, will also be the new base for Leeds Community Equipment Service which provides equipment for daily living and nursing needs to people at home which is provided by Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust.
Last year 80,000 items were provided and 57,000 collected for re-use.
The new building will provide warehousing, cleaning and refurbishment of the equipment so that the service can continue to improve its response to people in Leeds.
The cost of the refurbishment has been covered by a Department of Health Community Capacity Grant, allocated to the project by the council’s executive board.