The Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well
A century of living longer and living well
For 100 years, the Whiteley Homes Trust has helped older people of limited means to live better and, on average, longer than they would have done outside Whiteley Village. Good quality almshouses and a vibrant community, with care and support from family, friends, volunteers, and professionals have all contributed to our success.
People often see the country’s ageing population as a burden rather than an asset – particularly a burden on public services struggling to meet increasing demands. The Trust works with villagers to support them whatever their needs, but also to benefit from their skills. We are increasing the number of beneficiaries because so many older people live in poor or isolated conditions outside the Village.
In our centenary year (2017) we are ambitious for the next 100 years. We are launching a major development programme to build new almshouses with technically advanced facilities so we can support and care for people where they choose to be: in their own homes.
We want to go further. Most research about ageing focuses on health and care. But that is only one aspect of ageing, ignoring everyday life. How do people’s preferences and priorities change as they age? What does it mean to enjoy the added years of life to the full? What choices are most important to older people? What do they value most from people who want to help them? What makes them feel valued in society?
These issues affect everyone simply because they are getting older. Businesses, charities, and public services all need better insights if they are to be effective in helping older people live well as they age.
Whiteley’s century of experience gives us many clues, and a unique base for research and experimentation. We want to engage with others who share our interest. They could be older people, thought-leaders, and people working with older people in many different fields. They could be businesses providing technology and other aids and services. In fact, anyone keen that longer life should be better life, too.
Launching the Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well
The Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well aims to understand what it means to live well in later life, and how best to help people do so. The Whiteley Homes Trust will then apply the lessons in its everyday practice.
The Foundation will search widely for best practice, and share our learning freely. The charitable objectives of the Trust are to house and support older people of limited means, but the Foundation will address issues affecting all people as they age, irrespective of their wealth.
We will start by inviting a diverse range of thought-leaders from around the world to contribute to a volume of articles that challenge our thinking and set the agenda for the future. This will cover all aspects of ageing well, including well-being, leisure, personal relationships, finance, health, care and support. It will look ahead to the opportunities and implications of new technology to help people live well in later life. We will publish the volume in time for the 100th anniversary of the first Villager moving to Whiteley, which was October 1917.
We will organise an inaugural conference to discuss the issues raised in the publication. The conference will explore how to grasp the opportunities and tackle the challenges that our ageing society faces.
We will set up a website to publish our work and link it with that of others.
And we will apply the lessons we learn to the everyday life of the Village.
Laying the foundations
The Whiteley Foundation will be a free-standing body hosted by the Whiteley Homes Trust charity. If it is successful, it will become a separate charity.
The Trust has already made a start. In February 2017, we published ground-breaking research into longevity at Whiteley undertaken by the Cass Business School. The International Longevity Centre launched this important work, sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Actuaries Charitable Trust.
We have already worked with Surrey University on research into ethical decision-making in social care, the impact of change on elderly residents, and training for nurses. We are in discussions about other joint projects, including research about using technology to support care, the benefits of companion pets, and training for doctors.
Will you help us to launch The Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well?
We have half the finance to produce the first volume of articles. We want to engage with people and organisations who wish to join us in developing an inquisitive, optimistic approach to living well in older age.
We will, of course, acknowledge all supporters in the first publication and resulting publicity.
Please email for further information The Chair of the Whiteley Homes Trust: firstname.lastname@example.org