We have been working for over 20 years housing vulnerable groups and in recent years our development programme has been targeted at housing for people with special needs. In 1997 The Brunswick Park Gardens Scheme opened in Barnet providing 23 units of shared housing and I bedroom flats for people with mental health problems. Since 1991 we have been providing housing for people with autism and Asperger Syndrome, in London, Birmingham, Berkshire, Gloucestershire and Hampshire.
The Association is now focussed on provision for this client group at a cost level which retains the maximum available finance for care & support.
The Housing Corporation funded scheme for autism in Barnet was completed in 1.999, and a variety of schemes are planned in The West Country, Greater London, Hampshire, and other areas.
Birnbeck is committed to developing schemes in areas of the greatest need covering the Midlands, South and South West of England. The management team are highly qualified and experienced in the areas of housing, social work, healthcare, finance and development.
Partnerships with other agencies
For many years we have been working with The Housing Corporation, Local Authority Housing and Social Services Departments in Barnet, Ealing.Thurrock, Stroud, Bndgnorth and Portsmouth.
Recently we have been liaising with the newly formed combined health, housing and social services bodies, particularly regarding our mental health and autism projects.
Close ties and joint projects have aiso been undertaken with voluntary organisations such as Gloucestershire Group Homes,The West Midlands Autistic Society, Carr-Gomm Housing Society, Hampshire Autistic Society, PentaHact, the Disabilities Trust and smaller special interest charities.
Finance and development
We have an in house development team and a wide range of specialist consultants who deal with all of our schemes. Cyclical maintenance, major repairs & planned maintenance are initiated and executed by our specialist team with reliable local contractors providing 24 hour cover We are also committed to involving our tenants and clients in the choice of improvements and building works.
Financing of new schemes is achieved by a combination of Housing Corporation and Local Authority support where possible. Private finance is also arranged with a variety of lenders in combination with the use of our own capital resources. We have access to charitable donation finance to support schemes which would be unaffordable by other methods.
The association retains developments in a variety of locations giving a high quality of service regardless of area. There are no additional management charges to the more distant locations making this arrangement highly cost effective.This is particularly important in our Asperger and autism schemes which by definition and client choice tend to be in smaller units close to family and local contacts.
The subsequent relationships established with a variety of local authorities means that partnerships with Birnbeck prove attractive to regional and national organisations.
Service user participation
The association is committed to the highest possible level of tenant participation including regular meetings and updates on all relevant issues. Our special needs manager is responsible for ensuring that all tenants are able to participate.The waiting lists are closely monitored and a comprehensive equal opportunities policy is in force.
There is a commitment to affordable rents and service charges together with a policy of equivalent charging for similar properties.The housing officers also give a full advice service to help individuals with specific problems.
The repairs policy assures tenants of fast, efficient and good quality work giving a high degree of satisfaction as monitored by the regular updates.
The association is committed to the highest level of tenant participation including regular meetings and updates on all relevant issues.