Local dignitaries attend Norwood’s official opening of state-of-the-art ‘smart home’ at Lyonsdown Road, Barnet

13 June 2017

Jewish charity Norwood officially opened its assistive technology-driven new home at 87 Lyonsdown Road, Barnet, yesterday (Mon, 12 June) in front of an impressive group of local dignitaries; including Mayor of Barnet Brian Salinger, and prominent Rabbi Alan Plancey.

Guests were given the opportunity to look around the new supported-living home, speak to current tenants Joe Scoates, Stephanie Harris and their families, as well as hearing from experts about the pioneering assistive technology that makes this location so special.

The overarching idea behind the newly-installed technology is to give each resident the most amount of freedom to live a rich life independently, while keeping a sharp focus on safety. Norwood believes this kind of technology is the future of supported-living care.

Norwood bought the house for £1.1m and has spent about £600k on renovating and installing technology. There are currently two residents, with a third expected to move in shortly. Eventually there will be five permanent tenants.

Officially opening the home, Norwood joint president Lady Mendelsohn CBE said: ‘It’s time to dispense with the negative connotations of the word “home” in the care sector – where it has become a byword for institutionalised, soulless accommodation for those with complex needs.

‘This is a home in the truest sense: a place for the young adults here to call their own; a place they’re proud of; a place where they have independence; a place where they live rather than just exist within four walls. It’s also somewhere they can make food, watch films, spend time with their friends, or choose to spend time alone if they wish. It’s somewhere where they are afforded opportunities comparable to other young adults who have left home.’

Commenting on the technology behind the home, Norwood Assistive Technology Manager Joanne Surridge added: ‘The idea behind the assistive technology is to allow (current residents) Stephanie and Joe to become as independent as possible within their own home. As well as being able to control their environment, Stephanie, Joe and future tenants will have the chance to benefit from the sensory room – a fun space and a learning space as well. Although assistive technology is really well-established in Norwood, this is the first site where we’ve really concentrated on the sensory side of things. We’ll be continuing to focus on this across our other accommodations.’

Michelle Scoates is the mother of tenant Joe Scoates, and she spoke of the impact Norwood’s support has had on her son: ‘It’s amazing to see Joe so settled and so at home. He’s living a supported life, as any 23-year-old man should be doing. It’s an amazing, Roll-Royce service that’s being provided here. He’s settled in so well. The staff are amazing and the whole place is great. Joe and Steph have known each other for some time, so it’s brilliant that they’re together. Joe’s looking forward to the other residents moving in; it’ll be like a little family. Ultimately the aim is for Joe to grow old here and I’m looking forward to seeing him do that, all being well.’

Norwood Chief Executive Elaine Kerr added: ‘This is Norwood’s first smart house and it sets a very high standard that we want to continue into the future. A lot of our homes already have similar technology that wasn’t built in from scratch but added later. If I had my wish, every single person in Norwood’s accommodation services would live in a house like this.”

Further information

For further information please contact Norwood press team:
By email: pressoffice@norwood.org.uk
By phone: 020 8420 6928 or 07736 458532

Further images available upon request

About Norwood

Norwood is the largest Jewish charity in the UK supporting thousands of vulnerable children and their families, children with special educational needs and people with learning disabilities and autism.

Founded in 1795, Norwood is one of the UK’s oldest charities and the only Jewish charity to enjoy the Patronage of Her Majesty The Queen.

It helps children and adults to maximise their potential at home, at school and throughout their lives, through personalised services designed to enable choice.