Category Archives: The Villager Magazine

The Villager Magazine – January 2017

You can view/download the January 2017 issue of the Villager magazine HERE.

The Villager Magazine – January 2017
Welcome to 2017

Welcome to 2017 and all that it holds. We have an exciting year ahead of us as, with an opportunity to celebrate the last 100 years and look forward to the next. I am conscious as I write that this is a momentous time in the history of the Trust and it is incumbent on all of us, residents, staff and trustees of this wonderful place to ensure that we have given full attention to the lessons of the past, whilst planning for the future. I suspect the original trustees were equally aware of the big responsibility they were carrying and I imagine that if they could drop in today to see the results they would feel an enormous sense of pride at their legacy.
Today, to help keep us focused on the important things that need to be done, the Leadership Team and the Trustees are committed to further improving 5 key elements of our work , which I would like to share with you:
• Developing  a suitably qualified and motivated community of staff, volunteers
and supporters
• Ensuring we have access to flexible funding for the new building works
Increasing our use of helpful technology across all our services
Ensuring we continue to have a  beautiful  accessible and sustainable environment
• Telling others about how Whiteley makes a difference to people’s lives, so we are known as the best place to age in Britain

As a charity we continuously strive to offer opportunities that allow all who live and work here to enjoy life as part of this community.
I wish you all the very best for 2017 and look forward to your involvement and support this year.

Chandra McGowan, CEO

The Villager Magazine – December 2016

You can view/download the December 2016 issue of the Villager magazine HERE.

The Villager Magazine – December 2016
Festive Cheer

The end of the year is always a time of reflection for me, before I then rush head long into the New Year with a bag of hopes and dreams for the future. This year particularly I have been acutely aware that we are not living in a bubble at Whiteley, as it has been impossible to ignore the seismic shifts in world politics. Most of these global events seem very distant and sometimes of little relevance, but as we all know there are ripple effects which touch us all in different ways. In the meantime, as ever, Whiteley itself has produced some amazingly memorable events, touching and funny stories during 2016 that make me smile when I think back.
For me it’s been a joyful year with much to be happy about, but I am aware that for some it will have been a year of mixed emotions and some trepidation for what the future will bring. The best bit about what connects us at Whiteley is that we have all experienced highs and lows at different points in our lives and throughout the course of our time here, whether we are residents, staff, volunteers or family members. It’s that connection which is part of the Whiteley glue that makes this such a special place.
So whilst remembering both the good and the not so good times of 2016, I hope you will all find a connection with someone or something to smile about, and take that with you into 2017. We have much to be thankful for within this wonderful Village and sharing memories of the good times with family , friends and neighbours allows us to spread a little of that Whiteley magic just a little further.

I wish you all a very happy festive season and your own special bag of hopes and dreams for 2017.

Chandra McGowan, CEO

The Villager Magazine – November 2016

You can view/download the November 2016 issue of the Villager magazine HERE.

The Villager Magazine – November 2016

My piece for the magazine this month will be short and sweet. This is on the basis that I am hoping a large number of you will have been at the Village Hall for the Open Meeting on the 18th October, and as such will have heard my review of 2015 and the latest news about our development plans. As ever, I enjoy the opportunity to talk about our collective achievements and this meeting is an increasingly important way of highlighting these, particularly at a time when working together is critical to our future success. I know that building trust relies on transparency and honesty, therefore the annual meeting offers a chance to share information openly, raise issues and allow space for comments from all involved in Village life. I sincerely hope that those of you who attended found it a useful and engaging event, so I look forward with anticipation to what I shall be able to put in my presentation next year!

Chandra McGowan, CEO

The Villager Magazine – October 2016

You can view/download the October 2016 issue of the Villager magazine HERE

Villager Magazine – October 2016

This month I have had the privilege of working with our Home Care Team on an early morning shift in the Village. I wanted to tell you about this as I had so many positive comments from the people we visited about just how much they valued the care and support they received from the staff. Also because the staff I worked with were so dedicated and diligent in paying attention to the individuals who depend on them.
This team provides some important help with the tasks of daily living. The little things that make us all feel better about ourselves and ready to face the day. From helping you to have a warm cup of tea in the morning, to assistance in the shower, to make you feel fresh and clean, to checking that people have taken their pills which keep their long term conditions under control, all are hugely life affirming acts that provide opportunities for social interaction, sometimes with people who are housebound and don’t see many other people at all. It is difficult to imagine, for those who are hale and hearty, that we may ever be in need of these wonderful services. Indeed we sometimes feel that asking for help is failure. However, I can say from my own experience with the team that the kindness, care and attention to the needs of the individuals made me think how lucky we are to have this service in the Village. For anyone in need themselves and requiring information about the support available then please contact either Agnes or Lisa on 825846 and 825839.

Chandra McGowan, CEO

The Villager Magazine – September 2016

You can view/download the September 2016 issue of the Villager magazine HERE.


The Villager Magazine – September 2016


It was a beautiful day when the film crew arrived and I have to say what fun it was to have them in the Village. They had been let down by a previous location and were delighted that we could offer them a setting that was perfect for the scene to be shot. As a result they have made a generous donation to the Village and we will have the pleasure of viewing Whiteley scenery in a new film next year.

I came in to see the activity on Saturday morning and have to admit that I personally had no idea that the process was so complex, time consuming and labour intensive. Of course what we as consumers see is always the end product, the piece in front of the cameras. But behind the scenes there are myriads of people all making a contribution to the final production. It’s quite like that running the Village too.

Many of our staff and volunteers are seldom seen, but all play their individual part in the overall “production”. I know some residents have questions like, why do we need so many staff, what can they possibly all be doing and why are we changing what they do? All good questions, and in this analogy with making a film my response is that as the world around us places ever increasing expectations on the quality of the product ( film or village) the roles involved in production must change and develop too. We cannot stand still, otherwise the Whiteley world as we know it would still be showing silently in black and white, not the wonderful Technicolor we all believe it could and should be.


Chandra McGowan, CEO

Villager Magazine – August 2016

You can view/download the August 2016 issue of the Villager magazine HERE


Villager Magazine – August 2016

We have been on quite a journey with the magazine this year and as ever there is feedback which means we can continue to improve it. This month you will notice that we are putting all the Villager news at the front so that you can see, hear and discover the things which feedback suggests, matter most to current residents. We are also aiming to use far more photos than words as we move forward, thanks in great part to the very active Camera Club. This edition provides us an excellent opportunity to do this, with the many summer events that have been happening over the last few weeks. Our love of pictures to tell stories is something that many of us find reassuring and joyful, so we hope you find them a good way of capturing the important life of the Village.

For people who want to find out more about the management of the Trust, how we run, the decisions we make and our plans for the future, these pieces will continue to be available, and can be found in the second half of the magazine. We hope they provide the information you seek in a more “friendly” way and one that is more easily understandable, with less “management speak”.

As ever we look forward to your comments.

In the meantime I have been wondering if from time to time a village resident would like to take this front page slot and write a short welcoming piece for the magazine ? If anyone is interested then please do contact me.

Chandra McGowan, CEO

Villager Magazine – July 2016

You can view/download the July 2016 issue of the Villager magazine HERE

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Villager Magazine – July 2016

Surrey University Care and Support Research Report

This month it was a great pleasure to receive the research report undertaken by Surrey University on our behalf. Many of you will know that we had asked them to find out what our Villagers think about care and support here. The idea behind the research was to give us an independent analysis of what works well and what still needs to improve in the way we do things. Our hope was that whatever they discovered would then enable us plan improvements and to build upon the areas of good practice that you tell us you value the most.

The inclusive nature of the research has allowed 40 people to give in depth feedback on many aspects of care and support, and inevitably village life more generally. The team also asked staff about their experience of coordinating and giving care to those who need it. As a result they have been able to shed light on the areas where they too would like to make changes based on their current experience of care giving. This rich picture of information has given us much food for thought and we want to share the findings with everyone so that together we can decide on the things that are the most important to tackle first.

To that end the summary document is enclosed in this magazine. It is a set of recommendations that were formulated by the researchers as a result of their discussion with everyone. This however, is simply the start of further conversations about how we can now all work to improve care and support across the Village. If anyone would like to see the full report they can obtain a copy at the Admin office reception. In the meantime we would welcome your feedback and suggestions for what we should do next and how best to involve people who perhaps have not yet had a voice.

If you receive our magazine and live within The Village please feel free to use the feedback form that was attached to the Summary to let us know what you think are the priorities. We would be grateful if you could put your completed survey in the boxes provided, either at The Administrative Office, The Care Centre or Huntley House, by Friday 22nd July 2016.

My thanks go to all staff and residents who gave their time to be part of the research. It is another milestone for Whiteley by being the first piece of research specifically designed to help us improve.

Villager Magazine – June 2016

You can view/download the June 2016 issue of the Villager magazine HERE

June 16 - cover 2

Villager Magazine – June 2016

In my last two pieces I have been talking about connections – or more accurately, the lack of them. Back in April I was eluding the fact that within our village there are people who are lonely and not connected. Last month I was highlighting how some people never get the chance for a holiday and all the new opportunities for friendship and fun that it can bring.

This month I want to highlight the things on our doorstep that already connect people, and could do even more. Specifically, I want to mention our faith communities within the village. I have recently had the pleasure to meet with some of the leaders of these groups and with their colleagues from the local area too. They work together to ensure that everyone can gain support and comfort for their own particular spiritual needs, but they also ensure that the labels associated with some religious practice are not divisions that prevent connection.

In the spirit of friendship the churches reach out to many people both within Whiteley and further afield. We should cherish this network of connections and not be afraid to embrace the differences. Life is richer for these and sometime our friends and neighbours just need a someone to reach out to them to make that difference.

Whiteley welcomes one and all.

Chandra McGowan, CEO

Villager Magazine – May 2016

You can view/download the May 2016 issue of the Villager magazine HERE


Villager Magazine – May 2016

Many people have been away for some time in April, residents, staff, trustees and, most notably for me, Jacci. It is often at this time of year that people either go away or start planning to go away.

In my experience it is often the planning that is just as much fun as the holiday. By the time this article is published I shall be on a flight to Porto with a small group of very old school friends for a few days rest and relaxation. The joy and laughter we have had over a recent Sunday lunch in trying to work out who wants to do what in our role as “tourists” has been a great chance to re-connect with our long since forgotten school days !

In the meantime I am aware that very many of our residents within the village either cannot afford, or do not have sufficiently good health to go away. To that end we are trying hard this year to make the very most of the wonderful opportunities we have within the Village to support people to do something different or new, if they would like to. It may not be a holiday as such, but the chance to connect with new people in the Village, to nurture fresh friendships and maybe experience the Whiteley world in new way is always positive.

I do also want to remind everyone that there are sources of funding that can support people who simply need to get away. Agnes and her team are alert to requests for this kind of help and can assist with accessing funding in certain circumstances. Please don’t be afraid to ask. We understand how hard this is and will treat any request in complete confidence.

We will also support you to take a break from the Whiteley routine, by connecting with what is already available on our doorstep. A change is as good as a rest, they say!

Chandra McGowan, CEO

Villager Magazine – April 2016

You can view/download the April 2016 issue of the Villager magazine HERE


Villager Magazine – April 2016

Last month I was invited to a special celebration event at which Bob Chilcott, who is one of the most active composers and choral conductors in Britain today, conducted the world premiere of his new work called The Voyage. The opera explores life and loneliness across the generations through music.

This event was in aid of The Campaign to End Loneliness, which was launched in 2011, to inspire thousands of organizations and people to do more to tackle the health threat of loneliness in older age. It is governed by 5 organizations, Age UK Oxfordshire, Independent Age, Manchester City Council, Royal Voluntary Service and Sense, and works alongside more than 2,500 supporters, all tackling loneliness in older age.

The Campaign is made up of a network of national, regional and local organizations and people working together through community action, good practice, research and policy to ensure that loneliness is acted upon as a public health priority at national and local levels. But we know that this only makes a difference if real people, at a local level, get involved.

The Campaign to End Loneliness believes that nobody who wants company should be without it. They want to make this happen by ensuring that:

  • People most at risk of loneliness are reached and supported
  • Services and activities are more effective at addressing loneliness
  • A wider range of loneliness services and activities are developed

They have some wonderful ideas on their website and the activities they suggest chime exactly with what we want to achieve at Whiteley. The music was very moving and gave voice to this profoundly insidious malady by touching the heart. On a personal level I would urge everyone here to think about the times when you too have experienced that sense of isolation and just like Bob Chilcott, start to “conduct” your own tune to end loneliness here at Whiteley.

If you need any help with this then do let me know. If you are lonely, please call Agnes and her Support Services Team on 01932 825846.

Chandra McGowan, CEO