Harpur Trust to invest over £2 million in new almshouse accommodation

For over 200 years The Harpur Trust has provided almshouse accommodation in Bedford and is proud of the homes and support it offers older people. However, over time sheltered accommodation becomes dated and less effective at meeting the changing needs of an ageing population. For this reason our Trustees have conducted an extensive review of our almshouse provision in order to ensure that it continues to provide the best possible accommodation for residents both now and in the future. The Trustees have now concluded our properties at Randalls Close, Bromham and Harpur House, Bedford can no longer offer  the top quality accommodation and support  that our older residents need and deserve, and have been investigating suitable alternatives.

We are now delighted to announce we are entering into partnership with the ExtraCare Charitable Trust (ExtraCare) who are building a state of the art retirement village at the Wixams. The Trust will be investing over £2 million into 25 new almshouses in the village, which is scheduled to open in 2018. Current Harpur Trust almshouse residents will be offered first choice of these properties.

At the same time the Trust has invested £450,000 in a grant to Bedford Citizens Housing Association (BCHA), supporting the building of the Club House and ExtraCare apartments within their new development at 1a Kimbolton Road, Bedford. As part of this partnership the Trust will be able to offer its almshouse residents 20 places within BCHAs properties, including their new ExtraCare development.

The Trust currently has 38 properties across its two residential locations but with the new partnerships the Trust will be able to increase this to a total of 45 properties. The quality of accommodation and access to support and care services provided by our new partners will be far greater and more fit for purpose than the Trust’s current provision.

Current residents at both Randalls Close and Harpur House and their families have met with trustees and staff from the Trust, ExtraCare and BCHA to hear how the changes will affect them in the future. Residents will be offered a choice of moving to the new village at Wixams or a BCHA property in Bedford and will have plenty of time to consider their options before 2020, when the Trust’s current almshouse provisions close.  The new almshouses at Wixams will be part funded by the sale of properties at Randalls Close, Bromham. The Trust will be offering financial and practical support to help residents with the moving process.

Lucy Bardner, Grants Manager said, “This is an exciting opportunity and we are delighted we will be able to offer state of the art accommodation and support for the older people of Bedford. However, we also understand that for some of our residents the thought of moving home could be a daunting prospect. Together with ExtraCare and BCHA we will ensure that our residents are fully informed and involved and will be meeting with them regularly to talk about the relocation and to listen to their feedback. Residents will have the chance to visit similar retirement villages in the local area and the BCHA properties, so they can get a feel for what their new home might be like”.