South Shropshire Housing Association (SSHA) are celebrating success as their Independent Living Centres won accolades at not one, but two prestigious awards ceremonies. Beech Gardens in Ludlow received a highly-prized Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Regional Award, following SSHA’s recognition as the Best Older People’s Landlord at the UK Housing Awards 2019.
15 buildings were originally shortlisted for the RIBA West Midlands Awards and SSHA’ s Beech Gardens faced stiff competition from across the region. A panel of judges from RIBA was impressed by the way SSHA and Birmingham-based K4 Architects had reimagined what sheltered housing could provide for older residents.
Special mention was given to the glass-fronted ‘winter gardens’ featured at the front of each of the 26 apartments, allowing residents to enjoy their own outdoor space year-round. The scheme’s pioneering heat-recovery system, high levels of insulation and large solar panels on the roof have all helped reduce energy costs and addressed the issues of fuel poverty.
The awards season success may well continue for SSHA, as Beech Gardens will now be considered for the RIBA National Award. Previous winners have included the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Tate Modern.
The RIBA West Midlands Awards success was coupled with a big win for SSHA at the UK Housing Awards 2019. The Best Older People’s Landlord Award recognises the important social value of SSHA’s Independent Living schemes, which help residents enjoy their home environment for as long as possible while providing reassurance about safety and security. Judges praised the way Independent Living schemes combined high-quality affordable housing with a real sense of community.
Richard Woolley, Chief Executive of the housing group said:
“We couldn’t be more proud of our Independent Living schemes and the support they give to the people who need it most. These two awards represent the hard work of SSHA colleagues and the commitment Connexus has to delivering high-quality affordable homes and support services.”