The latest project to be secured is a £6.6 million contract for The Wrekin Housing Trust to create an extra care apartment complex containing 52 homes in Wombourne, just south of Wolverhampton. It follows recent appointments to build extra care homes for Housing 21 in Warwickshire, plus 37 new homes of all tenure mixes for Walsall Housing Group on Fisher Road.
Willmott Dixon’s Midlands team is also working with Chevin Housing Association in Derbyshire to build 197 homes for the care market and the surge in demand for this specialised housing comes as a recent House of Lords Committee said the UK is “woefully underprepared” for the challenges presented by an ageing society, and that the benefits of longer life were in danger of being compromised by a “series of crises” in public services.
Simon Leadbeater, managing director of Willmott Dixon’s housing company in the Midlands, said: “Government data tells us that by 2030, we will see a 50% rise in the number of over-65s and a doubling in over-85s. Developing new communities such as these schemes we have just won will create environments in which people can enjoy their retirement years to the full, while also having support when needed.
”We will ensure our work benefits companies in the West Midlands by spending local whenever possible. The growing workload will also see us create further job opportunities as more projects start on site over the coming months.”
The focus on supporting the ‘local pound’ will also see Willmott Dixon spend £28 million on firms located within a 20-mile radius of its project to build phase two of Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus, which started in June.
Willmott Dixon also made a big statement of its intent to boost training and jobs in the West Midlands by investing £1 million to create the 4Life Academy at Electric Avenue in Perry Barr. The academy has already provided skills training to over 1,000 people since opening in February, with a yearly target to provide skills courses for 2,000 people, both within the company and also the wider community in Birmingham.