Work has begun on a £4.2million scheme to replace the former Greenisland House with supported-living accommodation.
A sod-cutting ceremony at the Shore Road site was attended by Health Minister Simon Hamilton, Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey, elected representatives and stakeholders.
The housing project for those living with dementia is expected to be completed by August/September next year.
The site is being developed by OakleeTrinity Housing Association in conjunction with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT).
The scheme, which was due to commence construction in March of last year, was pushed back to the 2014-2015 financial year due to land ownership issues.
There were further delays due to an ecological survey in the area, said project manger Lorraine Gibson.
It is estimated that there are currently 20,000 people living with dementia in Northern Ireland and this number is expected to rise over the next thirty yearsHealth Minister Simon Hamilton
The project will provide residents with their own self contained accommodation, but with Health Trust staff on hand to provide support.
Thirty two new homes are being provided in total, and will be built on the site of the former Greenisland House Residential Home.
Speaking at the event was Health Minister Simon Hamilton. “Enabling people to live well with dementia is one of the greatest challenges that we face in health and social care at present and into the future,” he said. “It is estimated that there are currently 20,000 people living with dementia in Northern Ireland and this number is expected to rise over the next thirty years.”
The scheme will allow tenants to have their own individual, modern, fit for purpose accommodation that they can call home, added Mr Storey.
“I am committed to ensuring that our most vulnerable citizens are given exactly the same opportunities as everyone else to live independent lives. This new scheme will do all that and more,” he said.
Timothy Quin, Chairman of OakleeTrinity Housing Association added: “OakleeTrinity is delighted to be working in partnership with NHSCT, Department for Social Development and the Housing Executive’s Supporting People Team in providing supported living for older people and also for those experiencing dementia or mental health issues.”
Welcoming the development was East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson, who lives in Greenisland. “It is my understanding that this new build will be future proofed for clients who have, or may develop, mild to moderate dementia,” he said. “I have long supported the redevelopment of the site and this £4.2million investment should vastly improve the service delivery to those who need this type of support whilst also assisting the transition to, and implementation of, Transforming Your Care.
“This project demonstrates that caring for the most vulnerable in society requires a multi-agency and coordinated response, therefore we must allocate funding wisely across our entire budget to ensure people can access the high quality care they deserve.”