Wilkie Gardens almost ready for tenants

The Eildon Group’s new 39-flat extra care housing facility in Galashiels will welcome its first tenants during January.

By Kevin Janiak
Friday, 26th November 2021, 4:50 pm
Updated Friday, 26th November 2021, 4:54 pm
Bill Wilkie MBE cuts the ribbon on Friday to open the new facility. Photo: Rob Gray.
Bill Wilkie MBE cuts the ribbon on Friday to open the new facility. Photo: Rob Gray.

Wilkie Gardens, in the town’s newest street, White Rose Place, off Glenfield Road West, was officially opened today (Friday) by the man it was named after, former Eildon Housing chairman Bill Wilkie MBE, who was with Eildon for more than 40 years.

He told us: “I think the greatest kick I get from this is to see that Eildon is continuing as a strong organisation and is developing new ideas and doing it for people in the Borders.

“This facility is absolutely first class.

Bill Wilkie MBE.

"These buildings can very easily have some institutional look about them. But this is certainly not about that. It’s got a nice, friendly atmosphere about it.

"I know it's five stories high, but each floor is different and they are all colour-coded, with the lift buttons showing the colour of the floor … you press the colour you’re used to and hey presto, you’re there.”

The lounge is certainly light and airy, with a pleasant yellow theme, with a large TV for those special occasions from rugby internationals to just a bit of your favourite soap opera with friends. On the ground floor, there’s even a small hairdressing salon.

The flats themselves are a good size, with four two-bedroom and 35 one-bedroom homes.

There are views across the River Gala, with the Borders Railway passing in front and Gala Hill in the background.

The flats, all of which have been pre-allocated, with the offers being sent out next week, offer high-quality and accessible accomodation in a safe community setting, and are designed to meet the tenants’ changing needs after the age of 60.

The facility offers an integrated service with a high degree of flexibility in how much care is required, with the aim of supporting people to live in their own home for as long as possible, while remaining part of the community.

Meals will be offered to tenants, who will be urged to join other tenants in the dining room for that real sense of community spirit, although each flat does have a small kitchen with two cooking hobs if they wish to make something themselves.

A wide variety of activities are being proposed, with Eildon talking to Live Borders about yoga classes, and the chance to grow their own food in raised beds out in the gardens also a possibility.

The flats also include plug-in and play Sky tv, and wifi is available in all flats for those silver surfers.

There's also an option to have their pets stay with them, as long as they complete a permission form, and are able to take care of the animal themselves.

The building, which was completed by Cruden Building (formerly Hart) cost £8.3million, with the Scottish Government putting in over £3.06m, Scottish Borders Council £1.8m and Eildon Finance just over £3.5m.