Relocatable modular homes in Dorset for Adult Social Care clients

A growing demand for appropriate accommodation for adults with social care needs – along with a lack of suitable properties – led Dorset Council to use land which is destined for regeneration to create temporary, adaptable, and moveable homes for local residents.

 Region: South West

Theme: Health and social care (in OPE), Housing (in OPE) 

The One Public Estate programme supported the pioneering scheme, which has been developed for adults with learning disabilities, mental health issues or physical impairments or urgent housing requirements.

The scheme enables people to develop their confidence and skills of living independently and build relationships with their community, with support onsite 24 hours a day if needed.

Dorset housing scheme funded by OPE designed to support people with care needs

The challenge

In 2018, a Dorset Council review of housing provision identified a gap in specialist supported living accommodation for:

  • people with learning disabilities and mental health needs
  • those in urgent need of a flexible and adaptable home

The review also established an urgent need for this type of accommodation to be attainable within the next 12 months, which could not be met through existing housing provision or building new houses.   

The council knew they would have to look at innovative solutions to address the challenge and they worked closely with public sector partners, including the NHS.

The story

Dorset Council joined the One Public Estate (OPE) programme in 2016 and has successfully brought forward and delivered collaborative projects across multiple funding rounds. The Relocatable/Modular Housing project was awarded a total of £115,000 OPE funding in 2019 to support a feasibility study and collaboration work.

Eighteen temporary, relocatable, state-of-the-art homes, now occupy a site where a middle school once stood, within a short distance of the centre of a busy market town. Each unit can be adapted to meet an individual’s needs.

The first residents moved into their new Supported Living accommodation at Red Oak Court in Summer 2020. Thirteen residents are adults who receive social care support and four flats are used to help people with an urgent housing need. The remaining unit is used as an office and overnight accommodation for the onsite care provider.

People have various reasons for moving to Red Oak Court; some people have been discharged from a long-term hospital stay and some people want to live independently. Others may live in unsuitable accommodation.

The modular homes are flexible, robust and portable. They will be relatively easy to transport to elsewhere in the council area once permanent homes have been built and ready to move in.

This housing model enables the council to utilise existing available land to support some of its most vulnerable residents whilst also being able to generate income from sites that are designated for future development. 

The Relocatable/Modular Homes project forms part of the council’s Building Better Lives programme, which aims to deliver joined-up health, care and housing facilities across Dorset and meet the growing need for care and support services for adults.

The wider programme has an overarching aim to rationalise the scale of the public-sector estate via a joined-up approach to service integration and estate planning and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.

The outcomes (including cost savings/income generated if applicable)

The delivery of this project results in a range of benefits, including:

  • 18 new relocatable, modern, tec-enabled, modular homes
  • a ‘quick’ solution to the shortage of suitable social care accommodation
  • generates income for the council on land earmarked for development
  • 27 new construction related jobs and 25 full-time equivalent care and support long-term jobs.


Links to relevant documents

Building Better Lives: relocatable housing

OPE case study category

Health and social care (in OPE)

Housing (in OPE)

South West