Bristol: Apartments for the Muslim elderly

New flats for elderly people have opened in Bristol - with toilets that do not face Mecca.


The Muslim-friendly Very Sheltered Housing (VSH) scheme in Lincoln Street, Lawrence Hill, also includes beds that allow a tenant's feet to point in the right direction.



Lincoln Gardens cost more than £6 million, has 55 bedrooms and was put up by the city council and the Guinness Trust on the site of the former Wainbrook elderly persons' home.



It includes 19 flats suitable for "tenants from the Muslim community" following local consultation.



A council spokesman said: "The toilets in these flats are orientated so that the user doesn't face Mecca.



"Beds are placed so that feet are facing south east and not north west.



"There is a door between the kitchen and living room plus extra ventilation in the kitchen to stop smells escaping.



"And plumbing has been carried out to allow for the addition of a bidet or a shower head to allow the washing of the toilet bowl."



Councillor Derek Pickup, cabinet member for care, tackling crime and deprivation, said: "Older people consistently tell us they want to live as independently as possible for as long as possible.



"This very sheltered housing programme helps do just that and is already one of our city's major success stories."



The development is the seventh VSH scheme to open in the city.



Work is under way on an eighth, in Bishopsworth, which is being developed in partnership with Brunelcare and contractors Leadbitter.



The scheme is not the first to be designed with religious sensibilities in mind.



Two and a half years ago a block of housing association flats opened in Wilson Street, St Paul's, with bathrooms especially designed not to offend Muslims.



The toilets were built so they did not face south east. They had powerful extractor fans in the kitchen because, it was said, Asian families preferred steam-cooking, which leads to condensation problems.



They had larger kitchen cupboards because Asian families apparently tended to use more pots and pans.



There was also a designated area of worship for Sikhs.



Aashyana Housing Association chief executive, Saeed Anwar, said at the time: "We didn't need to consult with the Muslim community about the toilets. We knew this would be pleasing to them if the toilets were not facing Mecca. It didn't mean any extra cost to us - it was just a question of making sure they were not facing south east.


"If we can build homes which are pleasing to all members of the community, then this is a good thing.



"If an English tenant moved in, they would use the cupboards or the toilets and not think about them - but it can make an extra difference to others."



At the time Farooq Siddique, from the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society, welcomed developments which considered the cultural diversity of tenants.



Source: Bristol Evening Post (English), h/t Infidel Blogger's Alliance

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