WORK is under way to restore a historic Grade II listed building.
The Old Orphanage, in Hendon, is to be renovated, with a 38 apartment extra-care housing scheme built alongside.
The project will cost £4.5million and will provide one and two-bedroom apartments and communal space, with a hair salon, restaurant, activity room and landscaped gardens to dementia sufferers over 55.
Councillor Iain Kay, Mayor of Sunderland and Mayoress Councillor Barbara McClennan were on hand yesterday to mark the start of the work.
“This building is iconic and an important piece of Sunderland’s history. The project is bringing a renovated historic building back into use, providing facilities for the local community, and an innovative and well-designed extra-care housing scheme,” said the Mayor.
“This is a good and important scheme that is supporting those in our communities with a dementia diagnosis.”
Mark Kearney, operations director for developer Keepmoat, said: “This orphanage is a historic landmark within the city and Keepmoat is proud to be involved in refurbishing it and bringing it back into use.
“To provide an extra-care scheme within the grounds maximises the opportunities for the community alongside providing much-needed, well designed and quality independent living for the city’s older households.”
Pete Ottowell, chairman of Inclusion Housing, added: “Not only will the scheme provide much-needed specialist accommodation for people with dementia it will also see the Grade II listed building brought back into use for the community of Hendon.
“We are looking forward to welcoming new residents in 2014 and building relationships and working with the local community.”
Philip Pattison, a partner in Extra Special Properties (ESP) LLP, said: “I am delighted that grant is being made available by the Heritage Lottery funds to support the refurbishment of the Orphanage building. We are pleased to be able to invest in Sunderland, and assist in providing the much needed facilities.”
The orphanage was opened in 1861, providing sons of seafarers with beds, clothes and a nautical education.
In keeping with that history, the new building will be named Seafarers Way.