Meeting the needs of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder

New homes will enable three people to live more independently in a safe environment

Southern Housing Group, the largest provider of support and care on the Isle of Wight, has recently started a new project to provide accommodation for three adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

The project, believed to be the first on the island to cater solely for people with autism, will comprise of two new build, self-contained one bedroom homes adjoining St Helena, which is a supported housing service for people with learning disabilities and autism. A third one bedroom self-contained unit will be provided as part of a conversion within the main house.

These new homes will enable three people to live more independently in a safe environment, supported by St Helena staff, with the security of a tenancy with a major housing provider.

The project would not have been possible without the generous support of Fair Haven Housing Trust, a local, voluntary, parent-led charity which has agreed to meet all building and conversion costs. Fair Haven Housing Trust and Southern Housing Group, have worked together for a number of years for the benefit of vulnerable people on the island, both share a commitment to provide accommodation and services to adults who are on the autism spectrum.

The new build flats will be known as the Birchall Suite, in memory of the late Jenny Birchall who made a substantial bequest to the Trust several years ago.

Care and Supporting Independence (CASI) Manager for the Isle of Wight Region, Naomi Somerville said: “We appreciate the tremendous backing we have received from Fair Haven Housing Trust. This is an exciting and unique project which importantly raises the profile of people with autism on the island.”

A representative of the Fair Haven Housing Trust said: “We are very pleased to work with our friends at Southern Housing Group to provide the Birchall Suite and a new flat within the house, which will offer three people with autism the secure and happy lives enjoyed by all residents at St Helena.” 

The contract for the building works has been awarded to local firm DN Associates from Wootton, near Ryde, who started on site on Monday 7 July. It is anticipated the project will take around 20 weeks to complete, so the new residents will have new homes for Christmas.

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