Service Transformation

23.10.19

Neglected women’s refuge reopened as Salford social housing

A former Salford women’s refuge, which has stood empty for five years, has re-opened today (Oct 23) after being transformed into social housing.

Joan Lestor House on Ellesmere Street in Walkden, named after Labour MP Baroness Lestor of Eccles, was built in 1999 and provided a safe haven for homeless, vulnerable women before its closure in 2013 amid funding cuts.

Since the closure it has been a target for anti-social behaviour and vandalism before Salford housing association, Salix Homes, bought the derelict site in 2017.

It has now been transformed into nine one and two-bedroom apartments for social housing rent.

Paul Dennett, Mayor of Salford cut the ribbon this morning along with chief executive of the housing association, Lee Sugden and new residents of the contemporary housing development.

Joan Lestor House launch

Mayor Dennett said:

“Joan Lestor House has a longstanding history of catering for those in need within our city and it’s fantastic to see the building now renovated, brought back into use and fit for purpose as social housing.” 

“Social housing is hugely undersupplied in the modern British housing market, and is a vital service both in maintaining standards in rented accommodation, whilst providing a roof over people’s heads that they can afford.” 

The £800,000 refurbishment was partly funded through a grant from Homes England Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme.

Previous employees of the women’s hostel Samantha Fisher and Victoria O’Callaghan were also in attendance and were thrilled to see the once-loved building put to good use again.

Ms Fisher said: “As a project worker at Joan Lestor House, I saw first-hand the positive effect the hostel had on women as part of their journey to turn their life around. It really was a hugely supportive environment, and the house is filled with lots of fulfilling memories for me.  

“The building has so much potential so we’re relieved to see it being put to good use. The fact it has been re-opened upon the same principle which underlined its previous use as a hostel – to meet the housing need and help those who need it most –has bought us so much joy. We hope the new residents enjoy it there as much as we did.”

 

Photo Credit: Salix Homes

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