On 29th September 2021 Gillian Harrison wrote:

Party for residents at The Courtyards, Dovedale Avenue, in Preston

Our brief for The Courtyards at Dovedale Avenue was to create an exemplary older people’s independent living development that delivered on all the principles of the HAPPI report. Our Client, Community Gateway Association, wanted to set a benchmark with their very first development of this kind. We are delighted to say that the building was completed earlier this year and, in the midst of the pandemic, residents began slowly moving in during the Spring. There are now only a handful of vacant properties, and to celebrate we hosted a garden party with residents and staff.

The party was very well attended, with live music provided by a jazz duo. Feedback from residents was fantastic and if ever a reminder is needed that the homes we design have a profound impact on people’s quality of life, then this was it. We spoke with people who were living isolated lives in their previous homes, who are now active and part of friendship groups, enjoying bingo Fridays, coffee morning Wednesdays and looking forward to more social activities in the future. The weather was lovely, the courtyard looked great and many residents were bursting to take us ‘back to theirs’ to show us how proud they are of where they live.

Many elements of the design that could be described as ‘nice-to-haves’ were evidently of great value to residents. Windows from the apartment kitchens that look into the corridors allow neighbours to see each other pass by; the seating in the corridors is well-used; the circular circulation routes (inside and outside) provide exercise loops; outdoor gym equipment is being used regularly, in particular by a resident who uses a wheelchair; everyone loves the water feature, particularly the sound.

It took a long time to get to this point, but the outcome is a great success and a huge achievement for all involved!