Rochdale Town Centre named Heritage Action Zone

We were really pleased to learn that Historic England have named Rochdale town centre as one of just eight new “Heritage Action Zones” across the country.

Specialists from Historic England will work with Rochdale Council and partners to help form an action plan, with the potential for up to £500,000 in funding to help improve some of Rochdale town centre’s most important historic sites.

This is great news for Rochdale town centre, and at RBH we are proud to have been part of the Council’s successful bid, with our wider proposals for improving the quality and mix of homes in Rochdale Town Centre a key part of the bid.  The bid was led by the council together with colleagues at the Co-operative College, the Co-operative Heritage Trust, Rochdale Development Agency and Link4Life as well as RBH.

If the action plan is approved, the Heritage Action Zone will begin in May 2018 and run for five years, to help regenerate the area.

We’ve added Browsealoud to our website!

Need help reading our website?  

We have added the world-leading digital inclusion software, Browsealoud, to our College Bank and Lower Falinge website – making our content more accessible with reading and translation support.

Click on the Browsealoud launchpad that appears on your screen (it’s an orange button!) to launch the support toolbar.  Then simply click on any text to hear it read out loud!

How does Browsealoud help?

Browsealoud offers a host of reading and translation support – helping you to access and understand our website better.

  • text-to-speech: click on or select any text to hear it read aloud
  • translation: written and spoken translations in multiple languages
  • text magnification: enlarges text and reads it out loud
  • mp3 generation: converts selected text into an MP3 audio file
  • screen mask: blocks distractions on screen with a tinted mask
  • web page simplifer: removes clutter from the screen, displaying only the main text
  • settings: customise options to suit individual needs or preferences

All the features are accessed from an easy-to-use, floating toolbar – allowing you to drag and drop it anywhere on screen.

Town Centre Community Workshop: Wednesday 13th December

Lower Falinge and College Bank Community Workshop

We are holding a community workshop for those who live and work in College Bank and Lower Falinge. The workshop will be held on Wednesday 13th December from 10am until 6pm, at the Pioneers Museum, 31 Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL12 0NU.

This will be your opportunity to tell RBH and the design team your ideas and thoughts on lots of different elements of RBH’s proposals for Central Rochdale, so that we can begin to work up the detail of the proposals together.

Each theme has its own time slot, please feel free to attend as many as you like! Don’t worry if you can’t make it, we will be hosting an online Facebook chat on Thursday 14th December from 5pm until 7pm, which will be another chance to chat to us about all of the different themes!

  • Getting About – Connections in to the Town Centre and beyond and getting about in and around the neighbourhood (10am-11am)
  • Homes – New homes and improvements to retained homes- sizes, types and design (11am-12.30pm)
  • The Neighbourhood – Public and open spaces, play areas and community facilities (1pm-2pm)
  • Residents Deal – What is a Residents Deal and how do RBH and the Community work together to achieve one? (2pm-3.30pm)
  • Employment & Career Support – What would make a real difference to support residents in to employment or to progress in their career (3.30pm-4.30pm)
  • Anything and Everything – This will be a free slot to discuss any element of the above themes and the proposals for the Town Centre with RBH and the design team (4.30pm-6pm)


Spotlight: Step Up / Step Down

One year since the launch of our Step Up / Step Down pilot, we look back at what’s been achieved and what’s still to come.

Delayed transfers of care in NHS hospitals (sometimes referred to as “bed blocking”) have more than doubled in the last seven years. This means that there are thousands of beds which are occupied by patients who have been treated but are unable to go home. In many cases, this is because it is not safe for them to do so or because their accommodation is unsuitable.

To help address this issue in Rochdale, RBH joined forces with the Pennine Acute NHS Trust last year to launch a pilot project called Step Up / Step Down.

Our Step Down service is for older people who have to stay in hospital because their home is unsafe or unsuitable. This may be because it’s in a poor condition which could be detrimental to their health, or an aid or adaptation may need to be installed.

RBH offers an independent living home which has been furnished and is ready for immediate use. The person can be discharged from hospital and live comfortably for up to six weeks until their own home has been made ready for them to return or a new home is found.

Our Step Up service is provided if a person is living in an unsuitable home which is putting their health at risk so moving into a hospital is the only alternative.

Through Step Up, RBH can accommodate people in an independent living home while their home is made suitable or another is identified.

These temporary homes form part of RBH’s Independent Living schemes located across the borough. They are ideal for people aged 60 or over who can manage in their own home but who may need a little help to stay independent. Most of our schemes have between 25 – 35 individual flats and bungalows, providing a real community feel but also guaranteeing privacy.

Delivering Results

Just over a year since the pilot launched, Step Down is now an established RBH service, successfully providing temporary accommodation for older people.

Success stories include an elderly person who was able to return home after repairs and adaptations were put in place, enabling them to continue to live independently.

One person was moved into specialist extra care after a long time spent in hospital. They were supported to live independently in Step Down accommodation while the application for extra care was progressed.

Another person was moved into a Step Down home while more suitable accommodation was identified and made ready. He is now living back in his new home in his local community and provided with care.

We launched the pilot with three homes, funded by RBH. Following its success, we’ve secured further funding via the Rochdale Housing Initiative so can now offer six homes as part of the Step Up / Step Down service.

Next steps

The Pennine Acute NHS Trust will focus on developing the Step Up service using its NHS community health teams to help identify people who may be at risk of needing to go to hospital because their home is unsuitable.

We hope to receive further funding in 2018 from the CCG social investment fund which will enable us to further grow the service next year, ensuring it is an integral part of the RBH Independent Living offer.

Regeneration isn’t just about buildings

Seeing positive changes in the lives of residents forms a vital part of regeneration. That’s why we’re working with a charity called the RSA to improve opportunities for residents in College Bank and Lower Falinge.  With input from the local community, we are exploring ways we can support people who are out of work to find jobs, and help those who are in work to progress their careers.

By improving employment and skills for local people, we can help to keep the community together, and deliver wider benefits locally as part of any future regeneration at College Bank and Lower Falinge.

This topic is explored by the RSA in a new blog. The article talks about the need for investment in local regeneration and more housing choice as well as the importance of working with residents to bring about change that not only benefits places but people too.

Read the article in full on the CityMetric website.