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Posted 14 March 2024

Construction has started on a flagship cohousing project for older people in Birmingham where those interested in living in the scheme have chosen the name of the place they hope to one day call home. 

The development, on Chain Walk near Six Ways Island in Lozells, has been named ‘Rupali Court’ which means ‘silver’ in Bengali and ‘most beautiful’ in Indian, reflecting the positive connotations that silver has for older people in the Bengali community, alongside the character and spirit the completed scheme will encompass. 

The project is being led by Housing 21, together with Legacy West Midlands who have facilitated relationships between the not-for-profit housing provider and residents from the local community, enabling them to help shape the design of the scheme.  

Sajjidur Rahman, a prospective resident said: “I have enjoyed being involved in the development of Rupali Court. I have lived in Lozells for many years now and it is so refreshing to see Housing 21 and Legacy West Midlands working together to create a place for older people in the community to call home.

As a leading not-for-profit provider of Extra Care and Retirement Living schemes for older people of modest means, Rupali Court represents Housing 21’s first cohousing project. Earlier this month Deeley Construction commenced work on delivering the 25 one- and two-bedroom apartments with shared amenities.  

Following feedback from prospective residents, Rupali Court will feature a large communal lounge and kitchen, enabling residents to cook and share meals. These spaces will serve as a hub for residents, promoting interaction, collaboration and a strong sense of community, helping to tackle social isolation. 

The scheme will also benefit from a multi-faith room and landscaped garden that will include an allotment for residents to grow their own produce and support the wider community’s passion for sustainable living.

Anwara Begum, a resident involved in the community consultations for the scheme, said: “Rupali Court will bring joy to the local people in the community; everyone is getting excited about it. There is a need for a cohousing community in Lozells, and thanks to Housing 21, it is finally happening.” 

Rupali Court is scheduled for completion in Autumn 2025, with Housing 21 seeking more cohousing opportunities in areas across England where at least 30 percent of the population comes from ethnically diverse backgrounds. 

Pictured: L-R Assad Hamed Housing 21, Lara Oyedele, Tony Tench Housing 21, Lucy Hales Housing 21, Bruce Moore Housing 21, Jon White Housing 21

Lucy Hales, Head of Cohousing at Housing 21, said: “Whilst community is always at the centre of our developments, cohousing offers something different in that the relationships between residents precede the development itself. 

“At every stage of this project we have worked alongside residents in Lozells to create an offering that will meet their needs whilst developing links with communities in the surrounding area. This approach will help to ensure that the relationships established across Rupali Court extend beyond its boundaries, helping to embed the scheme within the heart of the community.” 

 Pictured: L-R: Mohammed Kalam Legacy WM, Shamsun Choudhury Legacy WM, Cllr Waseen Zaffar with prospective residents and people from the local community

Aftab Rahman, Chief Executive at Legacy WM said: 'I grew up in Lozells and witnessed the original tower block being demolished some 30 plus years ago and now to see this strip of land being brought back into use is amazing.  We have really enjoyed working with the community and Housing 21 in playing our part in engaging prospective tenants. We are super excited to see the development proceed and can't wait to be at the grand opening.”

Martin Gallagher, Managing Director at Deeley Construction, said: “We pride ourselves on not only constructing buildings but also developing communities, and that is exactly what this cohousing scheme will provide.

“This is the latest in a line of projects we have delivered with Housing 21, but it marks the partnership’s first cohousing scheme. It’s fantastic to see work underway on site to create an innovative and inclusive housing solution for people living in Birmingham.”

To find out more about cohousing, visit the website:  Housing 21 - Housing 21 cohousing

Read UK Cohousing's report titled How to create inclusive, affordable, collaborative neighbourhoods for older people: Publications and reports - UK Cohousing Network

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