Knowsley Housing Trust (KHT) celebrated the official opening today of its latest flagship Extra Care development, The Watchfactory, with a ceremony undertaken by the 19th Earl of Derby, who has historical connections to the Grade 2 Listed Building.
The ceremony included speeches from the chair of the KHT and First Ark board as well as an official ribbon cutting and speech from the Earl of Derby. Over canapés guests mingled and had an opportunity to speak to local historian John Platt about the ‘mini museum’ that is located in the reception of The Watchfactory and includes artefacts from periods throughout the buildings rich historical past.
The Extra Care Scheme was built to provide flexibility for local residents’ changing independent living needs and offer 54, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and a further 16, 2 bedroom bungalows that are a mixture of shared ownership and affordable rent.
The aim of Extra Care developments, such as The Watchfactory, is to provide high quality housing, support, and care services to enable and encourage people to live independently for as long as they wish to and are able to. This includes additional support and care to avoid admission to hospital or long-term care where possible.
The Earl of Derby, who is a strong advocate for Prescot and the Knowsley area, was joined by the First Ark Group Chair, Professor Peter Roberts OBE and KHT Chair, Helen White to cut the ribbon and declare the site, which welcomed its first residents in April 2018, officially open.
The original building was opened by the then Earl of Derby in 1889 for the Lancashire Watch Company that produced clocks, measuring instruments and pocket watches.
Peter Roberts, Chair CEO of the First Ark Group, said:
“The official opening of The Watchfactory is the culmination of a state-of-the-art project to invest in the borough by collaborating with likeminded partners to deliver homes and support services that will have a lasting and positive impact on health and wellbeing in the communities in which we all live and work.
“This type of supported living provided by The Watchfactory is very much the model for the future, helping to address some of the strain placed upon our hospitals and reduce public costs to the NHS and social care budgets.”