Ilford care home turned into studio flats for rough sleepers

Opening of Ryedale scheme which has 18 new studio flats for rough sleepers in Ilford.

Council leader Jas Athwal, Cllr Vanisha Solanki, Ryedale manager Mel Malcolm and resident Parminder at the opening of 18 new studio flats for rough sleepers. - Credit: Redbridge Council

A former care home in Ilford has been transformed into new, high-needs supported homes for rough sleepers.

The Ryedale scheme, in Ilford Lane, comprises 18 newly converted self-contained studios that will be let on two-year leases to support individuals experiencing homelessness.

Counselling room at Ryedale project in Ilford Lane

The Ryedale scheme has a counselling room where a psychotherapist will come in for a one-hour weekly session with the residents, some of whom are vulnerable women and people with substance abuse issues. - Credit: Roy Chacko

The first six residents moved in this week, with all flats set to be fully occupied in the next week.

The studios are next to the night shelter, which houses about 35 people.

When each resident moves in, they will have the key to their own private flat and a starter kit with brand new linen, towels, cutlery, plates and cooking utensils.

Cllr Athwal, Cllr Solanki and a resident from Ryedale.

Resident Parminder was initially reluctant to talk but opened up once Cllr Athwal started speaking to him in Punjabi. - Credit: Redbridge Council

There is also a communal space, an office where about six computer terminals will be set up for IT classes for residents and a psychotherapist will be offering weekly one-hour sessions.

One of the first residents to move in, Parminder, spoke to council leader Jas Athwal about how he had fallen on hard times after living on the streets for a number of years.

Parminder was quiet at first because he was nervous about his English but once Cllr Athwal asked him if he spoke Punjabi he opened up and shared his story.

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He told the Recorder: "Everything is okay now.  The flat is very nice and maybe being here my mind will clear."

Ryedale manager shows councillors the conversion of the care home into 18 new high needs supported homes

Ryedale manager Mel Malcolm shows Cllr Solanki and Cllr Athwal the conversion of the Ryedale care home into 18 new high needs supported homes for rough sleepers. - Credit: Redbridge Council

The Greater London Authority has contributed £2.5 million towards the project, with £1m spent renovating the building. 

The remainder of the investment will goes towards high needs support for the residents and building maintenance for the next four years.

Cllr Athwal said the council was committed to ending rough sleeping in Redbridge by providing sustainable and affordable housing and support for those who experience homelessness at places like Ryedale and Project Malachi.

A communal area in the Ryedale centre, which has been converted into studio flats for 18 former rough sleepers. 

A communal area in the Ryedale centre, which has been converted into studio flats for 18 rough sleepers. - Credit: Roy Chacko

He said: "The Ryedale scheme exemplifies our approach, providing a long-term legacy of support to those unfortunate enough to have been made homeless.

"We will continue to work with our partners to prevent homelessness and resolve the root causes of homelessness in the borough.”

Cllr Vanisha Solanki, cabinet member for housing and homelessness, added: "Hopefully this is a step in the right direction."