A care home which was forced to close due to subsidence has led to the creation of a new Watford Mencap development in Rickmansworth. The house in Whitfield Way has undergone extensive refurbishment, including an extension, to provide a home for four people with learning disabilities, and was officially opened earlier this month.

Homeoaks in South Oxhey had to be closed and is to be demolished. But three of its former residents, Susan Tavener, Jacqueline Chaplin and Rosemary Culbert are now living happily in Whitfield Way. They have been joined by a fourth tenant, Saundra Bell, who moved from Watford Mencap’s home, Berrywood, in Rickmansworth.

Funding came from the legacy of Mrs Betty Lydon, whose son Kevin lived in Homeoaks. But there has also been a lot of support from local business, including John Lewis who provided the kitchen. Other help came from Rumball Sedgwick, VocaLink volunteers, YourCash volunteers, RPL builders and Rance Landscapes. The development also received funding from both Three Rivers and Hertfordshire County Councils.

Whitfield Way has been designed with disabled people in mind and consists of two floors of two bedrooms each, with each floor having its own entrance and garden. The downstairs area has been purpose built to be wheelchair-accessible and has two bedrooms, a wet room/utility room, and a large open-plan living space for the kitchen, lounge and dining areas. There is also a small study that could be used as an additional bedroom if required. The upstairs area has two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a large living/dining room.

Project manager, Lorrain Barratt said: “There is a recognised shortage of affordable accommodation in South West Hertfordshire and many people with learning disabilities struggle to fulfill their dream of having an everyday home of their own in the community.

“Recognising this ongoing problem, Watford Mencap has financed the costs of renovating and developing Whitfield Way to provide a new affordable housing option for people with learning disabilities who want a home of their own.”

Posted on Thursday, 24th November 2011