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Duke of Devonshire to open landmark Skipton housing scheme

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The Duke of Devonshire will tomorrow cut the ribbon in North Yorkshire at a stand-out housing facility for older people.

Up to 100 people are expected to be at Woodlands Abbeyfield House for the opening ceremony, including three long-standing residents Cynthia Heywood, Hugh Walker and Freda Tickner, who lived at Woodlands for many years before its recent development.

Woodlands was originally opened in 1980 by a group of Skipton volunteers who formed the Abbeyfield Skipton Society.

The charity housed up to eight older people for over thirty years before the local volunteers identified a growing need for quality housing for the area’s older people and drove the £4.5 million development of the now enlarged Woodlands Abbeyfield House.

Michael Lovitt, one of Abbeyfield’s volunteers in Skipton, said:

“This has been a real local initiative. It is only through the drive and vision of so many local people that this place is now a reality.

“Our reward is in seeing so many residents enjoy this wonderful place, I think everyone in Skipton can be proud of what has been achieved.”

John Robinson, chairman of The Abbeyfield Society, said:

“Without this determined band of Skipton volunteers this wonderful development would never have got off the ground.

“We aren’t just talking about a place to live, this is a supportive community which allows older people to live their lives to the full.

“Woodlands House isn’t just a flagship for Abbeyfield, it stands out in the UK nationally as a model for how great older people’s housing can be.

“I am incredibly proud that Yorkshire is leading the way.”

Abdul A Ravat, area manager at the Homes and Communities Agency said:

“These 31 homes show what we can achieve working in partnership – our investment of £755,000 has made a real difference but together with investment from Abbeyfield and a £950,000 grant from North Yorkshire County Council we have been able to make a real difference providing independent living for older people in the Skipton area.”

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