Adult Social Care Provision | Dorset Building Better Lives Programme

Dorset are bringing services, communities and estate opportunities together in the wider context of local government reorganisation by linking strategic housing opportunities across the county to meet local adult social care need.


Region: South West
Theme: Health and social care (in OPE), regeneration

The challenge 

  • Move away from residential care towards community-based accommodation and supported services
  • Create continuum of accommodation and services where there is benefit of being sited together and allow for changes over time 
  • Enable people with a range of disabilities to live as independently as possible and reduce instances of residents being required to relocate from their community
  • Develop housing solutions to support affordable and keyworker housing to accommodate a workforce for the care sector.

The story 

One Public Estate (OPE) has awarded Dorset circa £550k since 2017 to support joint asset management initiatives across the public estate in the area.

Early OPE funding contributed to re-establishing the Joint Asset Management Board and our Community Offer for Living and Learning initiative which used a partnership approach to reviewing not only the public estate in a locality, but also how services could be delivered in the most affordable and effective ways. Partnership working was based around the themes of Prevention, Integration, Digital and Location. 

2017 OPE funding enabled us to take forward feasibility work to create integrated service hubs in the towns of Blandford and Weymouth. In Weymouth, our work will result in over £1m in capital receipts, having created an integrated Library and Learning Centre offer, which has seen Citizens Advice, Skills & Learning, the Community Resource Team (mental health) and the Registration service co-locate with the library service in a refurbished and transformed building. We continue with work in Blandford, with new opportunities emerging in the town following local government reorganisation and the establishment of the new Dorset Council. 

Our next major step forward involved working with our Adult and Community Services in their work to reshape their strategic direction to move away from residential care provision towards community-based accommodation and supported services. This new initiative, called Building Better Lives, aims to create supported housing including extra care housing and supported living homes along with key worker accommodation. It considers how publicly owned land can better contribute to promoting health and well-being, in particular in the context of an ageing population with increasing prevalence of long-term limiting conditions associated with age. 

OPE support is helping to masterplan a site in Wareham, seeking to bring together a new GP surgery, a health hub (to replace the existing hospital) and ‘wrap around’ support housing and key worker accommodation. This forms part of a Purbeck Care Campus project which is considering the public estate across a number of towns in the area, taking a master-planning approach, working with partners to understand service delivery requirements and financial options. The Purbeck Care Campus will release up to £1m in capital 

Picture 1: Wareham Relocatable Housing

Picture 1: Wareham Relocatable Housing

Picture 2  Aerial view of re-developed Wareham site

Picture 2: aerial view of re-developed Wareham site

The Building Better Lives Programme is not only focused on long term, large scale developments such as the Purbeck Care Campus. There is a recognition of a need to meet immediate housing needs for residents who are facing a variety of different health or social care related circumstances, including discharge from long term hospital accommodation, accommodation inappropriate to their needs or a long distance from home. OPE support is assisting us to meet this immediate need via the installation of relocatable modular housing units, which can be delivered more quickly than traditional house building. An initial pilot for relocation housing units has centred on Wareham. 

The outcomes 

The Building Better Lives programme, along with our previous joint estates work (Community Offer for Living and Learning), is generating significant economic growth and accelerating the delivery of local services. To date, our approach has delivered:

  • £2.4m capital receipts
  • circa four hectares land released for 103 homes, including key worker housing
  • a new integrated offer at Weymouth Library and Learning Centre, including the Library Service, Citizen’s Advice, Skills and Learning, the Community Resource Team (mental health) and the Registration Service
  • creation of 155 jobs.

For further information please contact our Regional Programme Managers for the South West.