Albyn Housing announces new £2.3m rural housing project in Lairg

Albyn Housing announces new £2.3m rural housing project in Lairg

Pictured (L-R): Rosie Reid, Kaye Hurrion, Kirsty Morrison, Alison Magee, Robert Johnstone, Kirstin Langlois and Annette Parrott

The Albyn Housing Society, in partnership with Lairg and District Community Initiatives (LDCI), has unveiled a £2.3 million rural housing project in Lairg, Sutherland.

Funded by a coalition of the local Development Initiative group, the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, the Highland Council Infrastructure Fund, and the Scottish Government More Homes Division, the project targets the need for social housing and support in Scotland’s rural areas.

The development consists of four two-bedroom bungalows and four one-bedroom FitHomes. The FitHomes are technology enabled homes designed so people can live independently for as long as possible at home.

This works through a system of ambient sensors that monitor the daily habits of the person inside the home, enabling family, friends, and carers to keep a remote check to ensure the person is going about their daily activities as normal, e.g. getting out of bed, going to the fridge, etc. The technology itself is relatively low cost and able to be retrofitted into existing homes.

The project was launched with a site visit and a community drop in event, organised by the local development group, at the Lairg Community Centre where the public had the opportunity to talk to the developers, architects, and housing staff, and where questions could be answered on the new FitHome technology.

The estimated completion date for the £2.3m development is May 2024.

Kirsty Morrison CEO of Albyn Group said: “Albyn is committed to supporting our more remote and rural communities in Highland. The cost of building across Scotland, but especially in these areas, is increasing significantly, making developments such as these progressively harder to deliver.

“We are very grateful to all our partners in this project for partnering with us and helping to make the project financially viable.”

Ms Morrison continued: “Rural areas like Lairg need more social housing and also need the extra support FitHomes can provide within communities. Technology can be an enabler if developed with the people that it is designed to serve and we in Albyn have been working for some time to develop a system of sensors that works effortlessly for our tenants while providing the support and assurance needed to enable people to remain at home in their community, pushing back the timeline where out of area care homes becomes the only solution.”

Chair of Lairg and District Community Initiatives, Kaye Hurrion, said: “This amazing project has been made possible by the collaborative efforts of LDCI, Albyn Housing, the Scottish Government, and the Highland Council. It is poised to bring about a truly transformative impact on our community.”

The Highland Council’s Housing and Property Committee chair, councillor Glynis Sinclair said: “The new eight home development aims to address the need for individual support and social housing in the Highlands.

“We know the importance of enabling people to live independently in their own home and the FitHomes technology offers the opportunity for people to remain at home whilst offering the confidence and reassure to the individuals, family and care givers that is needed.”

Albyn Housing Society plans to maintain its collaboration with the community throughout the development process. A second community meeting took place on the 22 June to discuss allocations.

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