Melbourne House hotel in Hartlepool to be converted into supported living service
A hotel is to be converted into a supported living and learning centre to help vulnerable young adults live independent lives.
Hartlepool charity Families First North East has been granted permission for the plan at Melbourne House on Stockton Road which it is to buy.
It will be turned into a centre to equip people aged between 18 and 25 with the skills they need to live independently.
Approval was granted by Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee with councillors saying it is a much needed facility for the town.
Families First North East manager Paul Thompson spoke out to address ‘misinformation’ in the area that the venture was for young offenders or drug addicts.
He said the suggestion was untrue adding: “We intend to support some of our most vulnerable adults in society, those with additional and special needs whom are leaving the care system.
Mr Thompson added: “They will be equipped with the necessary skills needed to live independently and increase chances of continuing to live as such successfully.”
He said the service wold focus on teaching residents how to care for themselves, their home, for others and manage their responsibilities.
Fourteen new posts will be created and the service will be staffed around the clock.
A maximum of six clients will live there at any one time adding to the homely feel, added Mr Thompson.
Councillor Marjorie James questioned whether the chosen location was the best place for the service with crime and and drug use in the area, but did vote in favour of the application.
Coun Shane Moore said: “I do know the work that’s done by Families First North East and how well they run those services and look after the people in their care.
“I have no concerns at all they won’t be able to continue with this service to the same high standard.”
Coun Jim Lindridge added: “I feel this is a great project. It’s much needed.”
Councillor Sue Little, who is chair of the council’s adult and community based services committee, and Burn Valley ward councillor Dave Hunter both spoke in favour of the application.