First Ever Smile Homes Independent Living Unit Launched at Portland College

A new housing unit, you can see the front door and lounge window and trees

Portland College is excited to be working in partnership with ADS Independent Living Solutions (ADS) to launch their first Smile Homes® installation on campus.

This innovative installation delivers a new standard in sustainable, intelligent buildings for independent living for people with complex needs from learning to physical disabilities across the age spectrum. Smile Homes® are constructed off-site and delivered as a fully completed personalised home.  The building comes pre-fitted with a technology backbone to make the home clever enough to help look after the health and well-being of the person living in it, with the flexibility to support people with different needs in being as independent as they can.

The first unit installed at Portland College, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s research and innovation agency, will be used as a living lab and to demonstrate its flexible technology infrastructure, which can support a range of systems for integrated building, environment and personal management.

Portland learners and citizens will have the opportunity to test this innovative new way of independent living and provide feedback on their experience to help shape future developments of the Smile Homes®. Smile Homes® have the capacity to add personalised assistive technology driven by the needs of the person who will live in the home. It can be programmed to function as the user needs, creating a person-centred system to support routines and sensory needs with multi-sensors to constantly assess environment, physical and behavioural aspects whilst keeping data in the home for privacy and security.

A modern, single bed in the foreground with a floor to ceiling window and other standard window on the wall at the back. A small desk with a laptop and stool at the foot of the bed.

David Adams, Chief Executive of ADS said, “Our intelligent Smile Homes® system is a transformational change in the delivery of personalised homes for independent living for people with different abilities and complex needs.

We are delighted to have completed this milestone with our first Smile Homes® installation at Portland College.  We are looking forward to using this platform to drive innovation and delivery to enable people to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives in a home of their own, in a community of their choosing, which meets their needs and wishes.”

Almost exactly eleven years on from the Winterbourne View scandal, the pledge to offer people with learning disabilities and other needs genuine choice as to how and where they live has not been fulfilled. The failure to achieve this has been in part due to the lack of availability of the right facilities and support. Purpose built person-centred homes are few and far between, with the cost of converting existing accommodation too expensive, challenging and inconsistent with climate change objectives. People with needs continue to live and be cared for in inappropriate accommodation and, with the growing shortage of care staff in the UK, need has never been greater.

Smile Homes® also leads the way in sustainability as the buildings are highly insulated, targeting operation at net zero, have solar panels and a green roof and use no concrete – the prototype has screw piles. Furthermore, they are capable of being re-used or re-manufactured and moved effectively to a new site in line with the principles of a circular economy.

A over head image of a smart phone with data and graphs on the screen and on the right, a white, round smart device speaker.,

Dr Mark Dale, Principal and CEO of Portland College – the site of the first Smile Homes® unit, commented, “Smile Homes® is a fantastic example of exploiting technology to address major health, social and well-being issues, bringing innovation to the challenges of building fully accessible housing for people with disabilities and a range of medical conditions, using environmentally sustainable technology. We’re proud to be hosting the first Smile Homes® unit on campus and are looking forward to being involved in shaping the future of independent living.”

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