Residents of a Bedford independent living scheme are celebrating the official opening, following the unveiling of a commemorative artwork produced by a talented local artist.
St Bede’s, at Bromham Road, was officially opened on Tuesday, December 2, by Baroness Tessa Blackstone, Chair of Orbit Group, which developed and manages the scheme.
The scheme for older people, which is the first of its kind in the area, was developed by Orbit Homes and is managed by Orbit Independent Living.
To mark the opening of the scheme, Nicola Westcar, an art student at Bedford College, created a sculpture which will be displayed in one of the scheme’s communal gardens.
The sculpture was selected as part of a competition held with the college, where students submitted their designs and residents of St Bede’s voted on the winner. Nicola’s sculpture was selected as the winner because of its fishpond design.
Resident, Jean Watt, who helped judge the design competition, said: “We chose Nicola’s design because there is a large Catholic population in Bedford and we made the connection of the fishpond with the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with fish and bread.”
30-year-old Nicola, from Biggleswade, said: “I really enjoyed working on this project and I’m so proud my design was selected. It’s lovely to be invited along to this opening event to meet the scheme’s residents and hear some of the stories they have to tell.”
St Bede’s has 104-apartments and provides a vast range of communal facilities to create an environment which allows people to remain independent within their homes throughout later life, with care facilities available onsite if and when they are required. The award-winning scheme’s one and two bedroom apartments are available through a mix of shared ownership and rent.
Baroness Tessa Blackstone, the Chair of Orbit Group’s Board, commented on the impact the scheme has had on the community. She said: “It is important that quality housing for older people is developed and that their needs are met so that they can continue to live independently. St Bede’s is a prime example of how older people can remain living in their own home, accessing support as they need it, and be surrounded by a community that they know.
“It is a pleasure to see the scheme is a hub of activity and that so many residents are here today to celebrate the success of St Bede’s.”