A £1.3 MILLION scheme which could see a former York care home transformed into a charity base has been given the go-ahead.

York Council for Voluntary Service is aiming to turn Oliver House, in Bishophill, into a specialist health and social care centre for the voluntary sector after its proposals for the building were approved by City of York Council.

If funding is secured, more than 20 York charities will be housed under one roof after the authority’s planning committee unanimously backed the plans at a meeting last week.

The elderly people’s home at Oliver House closed amid the council’s shake-up of care provision across the city, with nine existing care homes closing and being replaced with two “super care homes” and a care village at the former Lowfields School site.

The proposals have been drawn up by York-based mass architecture and a steering group comprising York Council for Voluntary Service, council representatives and charities.

Mass architecture partner Charlotte Harrison said: “The proposed redevelopment has received widespread public interest, and bringing multiple services together in this way will make it much easier for people to get the support they need.

“Crucially, it will also enable local voluntary organisations to operate far more cost-effectively than they would in isolation by sharing key resources within the refurbished building and generating sustainable income streams.”

Two extensions will be built, housing a reception area at the front of the building and a cafe and meeting room at the rear, as well as a new central lift and stairs.

Angela Portz, chief executive of York Council for Voluntary Service, said: “This project will inject new life into this area, creating a ‘voluntary quarter’ where local residents and charities can access the services of Oliver House and the nearby Priory Street Centre, bringing almost 40 charities together in one small area.

“It also supports the important role played by the voluntary and community sectors in providing early intervention services, and supports the continuing transformation of services to offer more choice and control to residents in need of social care support.”

The Council for Voluntary Service is now looking to secure funding through grants and loans from social investors and also hopes to attract support from local businesses, with the aim of completing the scheme early next year.