WORK on the Phoebe Cusden Supported Living Scheme, a Reading Borough Council housing development, is nearing completion this month.
The Phoebe Cusden House scheme will provide 11 much needed supported living flats for residents with disabilities and will be owned and managed by the Council.
The development is next to Cedar Court, the Council’s extra care housing scheme which opened on the former Avenue School site in Basingstoke Road in 2014.
The supported living tenancies will support residents who need help with daily living and personal care, and provides care and support on site. This will be a real alternative to residential care giving the individuals greater independence, dignity and choice in their lives, to control the care they receive that enables them to live fulfilling lives.
The location of the property provides superb access to public transport links and local facilities, so tenants will be able to access work and leisure activities whilst forging stronger links with the wider community.
Prospective new tenants and their carers/families got a first glimpse inside the building on a Tuesday 8th November and Reading councillor Rachel Eden, Lead for Adult Social Care, was given a guided tour of Phoebe Cusden House on Friday 18th November.
The final touches to the building and landscaped gardens are expected to be completed by the end of November, with people starting to move in soon after.
The building includes a lift and is fully wheelchair accessible. It has been designed to meet high standards of sustainability, through the use of under floor heating, biomass boilers and recycling and composting facilities. It will efficiently share its heating and sprinkler system with Cedar Court.
Rachel Eden, Lead Councillor for Adult Social Care, said:
“I’m delighted that work at Phoebe Cusden House is nearly complete. This is an exciting way in which, despite the budget challenges we face, we will support residents to live fulfilling lives. It really does offer the best of both worlds – privacy and independence combined with support and care.”
Richard Davies, Lead Councillor for Housing, said:
“I’m really pleased that work on this supported living housing scheme is approaching an end. This development increases the quality and choice of accommodation for disabled adults in Reading and offers them greater independence. I am looking forward to seeing residents moving into Phoebe Cusden House very soon.”
Lisa Clayton, Area Manager for the HCA, added:
“It is great news that work is nearly finished on this important project which delivers much needed housing for vulnerable adults. We know how important developments such as Phoebe Cusden House are in places like Reading, and that’s why we supported this development with investment to help make it happen.”
The £2 million pound development is jointly funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and Reading Borough Council. The Care and Support Specialist Housing Fund (managed by the HCA) which is designed to help older people, or those with disabilities or mental health problems, to live more independently, provided £450,000 towards the build.
The new scheme is named in honour of the former Mayor of Reading, Phoebe Cusden MBE (1887-1981), who became mayor in 1946 and is best known for her work to promote friendship between the peoples of Reading and Düsseldorf after the Second World War.
Notes to editors
A photo of Councillor Eden at Phoebe Cusden House is available on request.
Phoebe Cusden MBE
Phoebe Cusden (1887-1981) became Mayor of Reading in 1946. Her mayoral year coincided with major flooding which affected the town in 1947 when the Thames burst its banks following a period of heavy snow. Large areas of the town were submerged under several feet of water. The Mayor herself described it as ‘the town’s worst disaster in 300 years.’
Phoebe Cusden launched a Flood Distress Fund which raised money for the estimated 1,600 homes which were damaged. She did more than just raise money however. The Mayor took it upon herself to join the Women’s Voluntary Service to distribute hot tea to residents in Lower Caversham. She was also involved in the foundation of the Progress Theatre.
Phoebe Cusden was a well-known pacifist and today she is best known for her work to promote friendship between the peoples of Reading and Düsseldorf after the Second World War. She led an appeal for help to people in Düsseldorf and visited the city to find out the conditions, and in the year after her mayoralty she invited six Düsseldorf children to stay in Reading for three months, and set up the Reading Düsseldorf Association. In 1951 she was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).