A pioneering inter-generational community project bringing together undergraduates at the start of their careers, with the elderly, in the manner of an extended family, for the benefit of both.
Equinox is a project that lends itself to a university, a housing association and the charitable sector working together to produce high quality sheltered flats, and students’ accommodation, at an affordable rent. An important element will be communal facilities that go above and beyond basic accommodation, to make a real difference to the mental and physical wellbeing of both groups of residents. In this case the project is a pilot that will socially connect single elderly veterans of the Armed Forces to medical students, in adjoining but separate homes, in a bespoke development, set in a flourishing part of Plymouth City Centre.
Supported by Plymouth University and in particular its Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PU PSMD) Equinox will work in partnership with Places for People (PfP) who, as experts in the provision of accommodation, and sheltered accommodation, will part fund the capital costs, own, manage and operate most of the Equinox Centre, in accordance with Equinox’s charitable constitution. Medical students will enjoy high quality affordable accommodation at competitive rates. Veterans will enjoy high quality accommodation on a means tested basis, whereby either local market rent or Local Authority subsidy will apply, according to individual circumstances. As this has more than just an accommodation component Equinox is required to part fund, through donations a percentage of the capital costs. Equinox will also work in partnership with Livewell Southwest who will operate the Veterans Healthcare Clinic through the professional management of Plymouth University’s healthcare students.
A Veterans’ Home for 43 resident veterans: With a military ambience, comfort, security and camaraderie which will dignify their twilight years.
Adjoined but entirely separate self-contained en-suite accommodation a Medical Students’ Residence will accommodate 48 medical students who will have a ‘social relationship’ with their neighbouring veterans.
A Veterans' Hall, available to the wider veteran community, for beneficial use, such as Association meetings, a regular Veterans’ Memory Café, and minor events.
A Veterans' Healthcare Clinic will provide a regular service to the wider veteran community through assessment, and then treatment as necessary by supervised healthcare students of Plymouth University, in such fields as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, dietetics, adult nursing, and dental assessments (with subsequent treatment available at the Dental School).
A vibrant Public Café will provide a convenient social venue for veterans, students, and the local community alike.
Residents will partake in weekly one-to-one student and veteran ‘buddying’, group get-togethers, and students will organise monthly entertainment evenings, and weekend day excursions. This non-medical relationship will be about helping to transform lives through social relationships and friendships, providing therapeutic advantage, alleviating loneliness and isolation, and enhancing well-being.
All residents will enjoy joint use of a gym, a fitness circuit, and a garden.
Medical School Students at work
Plymouth veterans of RAF, Army, Royal Navy and Royal Marines