Sapphire Independent Housing is a growing and developing association responding to the changing needs of affordable housing in London and Hertfordshire whilst, at the same time, keeping the residents at the heart of everything we do
Sapphire Independent Housing was originally established in 1969, as Irish Centre Hostels. We purchased our first supported scheme, Hope House, in Kilburn in 1973. Hope House, formerly a nursing home run by the Sisters of Hope, was refurbished in 1974 and renamed Conway House. The Association purchased St Louise a large all female hostel, from the Daughters of Charity in 1976.
In 1994 our first self-contained general needs property, Highgate Road and College Yard, was purchased using funding supplied by the Rough Sleepers Initiative to create bed spaces in hostels. The Association went on to build three more additional self-contained general needs properties throughout the 1990s. Dunne Mews and Caulfield Court were built using Rough Sleepers Initiative funding. Forde House, originally an alternative therapy practice, was purchased and planning permission was granted to rebuild a nine-bed multi occupancy shared house. This was later redeveloped into four separate general needs flats, to help meet the needs of single people requiring independent living.
Sapphire underwent its first rebranding in 1995, when Irish Centre Hostels changed its name to Irish Centre Housing. This name change was an indication of how the Association was developing services to provide more than short-term hostel accommodation. We had begun to diversify our services across the public housing sector and this subtle rebrand helped to clarify the Associations plans for the future.
Sapphire continued to grow throughout the nineties. St Eugene Court, our development for older independent residents, was purchased and redeveloped into 25 independent flats for the elderly in 1999. St Eugene Court was originally part of the Irish Centre Club and still has a strong connection with the Irish community today. Hackett House was also purchased, in the same year, from the Local Authority and was refurbished as a shared house. Up until 2016 Hackett House was used as part of Sapphire’s Recovery Service, but due to a change in the need for “high risk” services and reduced funding for the Very Complex Needs (VCN) service our Recovery Service closed in March 2016. Hackett House is now used as a shared general needs house, for both male and female residents, moving on from the final stages of hostel life and on to independent living.
Sapphire acquired Bethany House, our 93 bed all-female hostel, in 1999 from the YWCA. Formerly known as Alexandria House, a resident competition helped decide on it’s current name, Bethany House, after the Bethany Sisters who previously owned the hostel before the YWCA. Sapphire purchased Townsend House from the Girls Friendly Society (GFS) in 2003 and Hepburn Court from the YWCA in 2006. Both schemes are based in Hertfordshire. Another indication of the Association’s vision to develop services in-keeping with our mission of valuing people and improving lives.
Conway House and Tara Lodge are our most recent developments. Conway House was completely refurbished as a 60 bed male hostel in 2012. The service offers en-suite facilities, shared training facilities and a fully equipped Training and Resource Centre (TRC.) The TRC is open to all Pathway and Sapphire residents as well as the local community. Tara Lodge, is situated adjacent to Conway House and comprises of five general needs family flats and one single bed flat. It is Sapphire’s first venture into offering family accommodation.
Sapphire rebranded, in 2015 as Sapphire Independent Housing, to more accurately reflect the organisation as it is today. A modern and diverse housing association offering a mixed-tenure portfolio that provides support and services to people, some of whom have a vulnerability, in housing need across four London boroughs and South Hertfordshire.