Gentoo marks £1 billion of investment

This year marks an exciting milestone for Gentoo Group as the company reaches its billionth pound invested in the City of Sunderland on a variety of property related activity.

This £1 billion investment includes the purchase of its properties in 2001, the subsequent modernisation of these properties, building almost 2,000 new homes and fitting photovoltaic (PV) systems to more than 4,000 homes.  The company marked this incredible achievement today with an official opening of its latest innovative extra care housing scheme, Haddington Vale in Doxford Park, Sunderland.

Haddington Vale is a £12.2 million development that provides residents with a safe and secure place to live, whilst also enabling them to live independently in their own homes.  A total of 96 homes have been built consisting of 42, two bedroom extra care and 40, two bedroom elderly person apartments, all available for rent by Gentoo customers.  14 bungalows have also been built with four for rent and 10 for sale bringing some much needed housing of this kind to the area.

The exemplar scheme is designed by Gentoo based on HAPPI (Housing Aged Persons Panel for Innovation) principles.  It followed a close study of the latest European thinking on building great homes for older people with developing care needs.  The building is designed to encourage socialising with the space cleverly planned to have large open central areas which are full of natural light, eliminate internal corridors and importantly make them more easily legible for residents with dementia.

As part of the Group’s drive to push the environmental standards in the built environment, the extra care facility has also been designed in accordance with the BREEAM excellent standards and the rest of the homes built to Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) Levels 3 and 4 specifications, helping to keep fuel costs at a minimum for customers whilst minimising the impact on the planet.

John Craggs, Acting Chief Executive of Gentoo Group said: “From day one we set out to deliver far more than bricks and mortar.  We believed in our ability to create sustainable communities people would be proud to call home – where future generations could have the lifestyle they deserve.

“Improving the Art of Living has been at the forefront of our investment and we are proud that our modernisation programmes, new build schemes and PV programmes have delivered wide spread benefits to the local economy, members of the community and the environment.

“Our investment and commitment doesn’t stop there.  We are passionate about the delivery of excellent housing products and services like Haddington Vale as well as making a lasting difference to society and the city.  As we progress into the future, we remain committed to improving people’s lives throughout a range of housing and social investment initiatives.”

The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City of Sunderland, Councillor Barry Curran officially opened Haddington Vale, he added: “Haddington Vale provides residents with a homely, sociable and safe place to live, and allowing them to remain independent.  It’s also great to see the environmental design features that have been included in the scheme as these will help lower customer fuel bills and minimise the impact on the environment.  It truly is an innovative scheme.”   

Karen Anderson, Area Manager at the Homes and Communities Agency said: “The opening of Haddington Vale shows how Gentoo meets the needs of everyone in the communities their serve.  High quality supported accommodation for older people is just as important as family and starter homes, and Gentoo is providing these across the city as part of the £1 billion investment that they have made along with our help.”

The Group continue to deliver even more high quality, affordable new housing for residents with developments recently underway at Doxford Park, Downhill and High Ford.  Its future renewal plans include further new homes at Houghton-le-Spring, Chester Road Pennywell, Glebe and Broomhill. 

In terms of Gentoo’s existing homes, in the last year alone they have invested £24 million on maintaining its properties and have committed a further £26.8 million to deliver its extensive planned maintenance programme in this financial year.

Gentoo Group will continue to use resources, be they people, properties, relationships or networks to make the maximum positive difference to society and continue to create great places to live.