18 March 2019
ROD BENNION OBE APPOINTED CHAIR OF THE WHITELEY HOMES TRUST
The Whiteley Homes Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of Rod Bennion OBE as its new Chair with immediate effect. The Trust owns and operates Whiteley Village in Walton on Thames, Surrey – a unique almshouse village community for 500 older people of limited financial means. It provides 25% of the specialist housing for the elderly in the borough of Elmbridge and a recent study of the Trust’s records of its first one hundred years noted that, on average, Whiteley residents live up to five years longer than the national average.
Rod is deeply experienced across the residential property and care sectors, with a particular passion for providing choices in housing and care for all. His distinguished career includes serving as Group Chief Operating Officer for The Wates Group and as non-executive Chairman of Home Group, the largest housing association provider of care and housing to vulnerable people in the UK.
He was for many years Chairman of St Christopher’s Hospice in south east London, the founding hospice of the modern hospice movement – a role he describes as the best he has ever had the privilege to hold. Rod was Chairman of The Construction Youth Trust from 2000-2014 and his passion for the not-for-profit sector spans being a trustee of the Worshipful Company of Lightmongers Charitable Trust, which supports people with sensory deprivation.
Commenting on his appointment, Rod said, ”I am delighted to be joining Whiteley Homes Trust, a very special community and organisation which brings together several of my personal passions – housing, care and the opportunity to make a real difference to peoples’ enjoyment of life by creating vibrant communities and respecting individuals. Not just for those living in the Village but through the work of the Foundation, developing and sharing best practice with other communities in the UK.”
Chandra McGowan, Chief Executive of the Whiteley Homes Trust adds: “We are delighted to welcome Rod to the organisation. His experience, passion and commitment in developing solutions that enable the provision of excellent services in both Social Housing and Care is inspirational. I am sure Rod’s pragmatic commerciality and clear affinity with the dynamics of the charity sector will be of great value to shaping the future of Whiteley Homes Trust.”
The appointment comes at an important time for the Trust as it prepares to open its new £10.5m care hub in May 2019, providing intensive care capacity for up to 30 people with complex needs associated with old age. The hub is integral to the Trust’s long-term strategy to revolutionise how it provides care within the community. It will also enable the further development of research partnerships* with third parties, including Surrey University and UCL, to explore and develop strategies and technological innovations to support and enhance the lives of older people throughout society.
*With support from a number of sponsors, in 2017 the Trust launched the Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well with the aim of sharing its knowledge of older people and to learn from others about what it means to live well in later life in the modern world. The Foundation is taking the lead in engaging with others who share its ambition that a long life should also be a good life.
Author: Andrea da Gama
You can view/download the March issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – March 2019
Hopefully by the time you read March’s magazine Spring will have sprung and we can look forward to warmer and lighter days.
New beginnings will certainly be the theme for Whiteley Village over the spring period, as we look forward to the opening of the new Eliza Palmer Care Hub. I am sure you have seen the building taking shape and are looking forward to the grand opening. This is a key milestone in our Village so over the coming months the Eliza Palmer Care Hub will be our main news feature and I am sure this will give you the opportunity to be kept fully up-to-date with progress.
Natalie Brotherton and The Magazine Committee
14 Feb 2019
The Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well has won an award from the British Society of Gerontology’s (BSG) Averil Osborn Award for Participatory Research, providing a £3,000 grant to fund the Foundation’s latest research project – one that will be led by Whiteley residents themselves.
The Foundation, established in 2017 by the Whiteley Homes Trust which manages Whiteley Village retirement community in Surrey, aims to understand what it means to age well and how best to help people do so, through research and collaboration.
The new project, entitled, ‘You, me and the big D’, will offer dementia awareness training to villagers and assess its impact on their behaviour and attitudes towards other residents living with the condition. It will also analyse whether training increases residents’ willingness and ability to provide support and companionship to others in their community with dementia.
A crucial aspect of the research is that it will be led by four Whiteley residents, supported by Dr Alison Armstrong, Director of the Whiteley Foundation and Dr Rachael Frost, a specialist in older people’s mental health, at University College London. Dr Armstrong said: “This decision is excellent news for the Foundation and Whiteley Village. We applied for BSG’s Averil Osborn Award as it specifically supports projects which focus on encouraging and enabling older people to participate and play a central role in research.
“It is estimated that over 7% of over 65s in the UK are currently living with dementia, and only 35% of those feel included in everyday life. As a retirement community this issue obviously affects us more acutely. There is generally a great deal of misunderstanding and fear about dementia and understandably negative perceptions are significantly higher amongst older people, so although the Village has a strong ethos of community and neighbourliness, dementia is the one area where there can be a reluctance to reach out.”
Dr Susan Venn, a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, and member of the BSG judging panel said: “The committee felt this was an important, relevant topic that could bring real benefits to residents. Our decision was unanimous and the project was highly recommended for acceptance.”
Whiteley Villager, Pauline Simpson who is a member of the project team said: “So many of us either know someone with dementia or are affected by it personally. But in comparison to cancer, there’s much less research funding available and unfortunately there is definitely a stigma attached to it. If this project can help us understand how people are affected by dementia, how we react to those who suffer from it – and more importantly how we can play a part in helping our friends and neighbours navigate their journey along the way, it can only be a good thing.”
Dr Armstrong added: “I’m delighted we’re able to proceed with this research. Through it I’m hopeful we can tackle misperceptions and encourage more people to support and engage with dementia sufferers and their carers – helping improve their quality of life and inclusion in the community.”
The research is due to start in early Spring and will last for seven months.
More information about the Foundation and Whiteley Village can be found on this website.
Author: Andrea da Gama
You can view/download the January issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – January 2019
At the time of writing this we are actually in the middle of many Christmas Festivities!
The Christmas Celebration Evening and Festive Family Fun Event have just taken place and these have made the Village feel very festive. It has also been great to welcome parents and children from the local community to meet Santa at Whiteley, enjoy the lantern trail and lots of Christmas crafts. However, with the festive season now behind us and a New Year to look ahead too, there is much anticipation with the opening of the new Care Hub in 2019 and a new phase of preparing us for the next 100 years of Whiteley Village.
Editorial Team & The Villager Magazine Committee.
You can view/download the December issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – December 2018
We hope you all enjoy the Christmas Festivities going on throughout the Village in the month of December. It would be great if you could let us know your stories and take photos of yourselves enjoying the Christmas season, we can then share these in the Villager Magazine in the New Year. You can email them through to email@example.com, or pass them on to one of the Villager Magazine Committee.
In the meantime, it just remains for the Editorial Team and Villager Magazine Committee to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year 2019!
Editorial Team & The Villager Magazine Committee
You can view/download the November issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – November 2018
When collating November’s issue it struck me how many articles demonstrated the community spirit which is very much alive within the Village. So many of you give your time to run clubs and societies, to volunteer, arrange trips and events, and this really does bring added value to living and ageing well at Whiteley Village.
The Thank You’s section in the Villager Magazine has also really taken off in this months’ edition. Villagers are full of praise and recognition for others and I really think this generates a warm-hearted spirit. Keep up the Thank You’s!
Natalie Brotherton – Village Magazine Committee
Major housing opportunity missed at Whiteley Village in Elmbridge as permission rejected for sheltered housing for older people
Walton on Thames 27th September 2018 Whiteley Homes Trust is hugely disappointed that its application to build additional extra-care homes for up to 120 pensioners of limited financial means has been rejected by an independent inspector, appointed by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The Trust is the provider of over 90% of the enhanced sheltered housing and extra-care for older people in Elmbridge* and has over 100 people currently on its waiting list, making the proposed development a vital expansion on its current support to over 500 residents living on the Trust’s 225-acre site.
This rejection at Appeal came after Elmbridge Council’s officers, with whom the Trust had been working to devise a suitable scheme for over 2 years, had recommended the scheme for approval. Had planning consent been granted the Trust would have created vital income to build the 60 additional charitable almshouses designed for dual occupancy for the borough’s poorest pensioners, through the construction and sale of 40 private leasehold extra-care apartments.
In his report, the Independent Inspector cited the exemplary work of Whiteley Homes Trust and the growing lack of suitable housing locally: “There is a clear local need in Elmbridge for all forms of elderly persons’ accommodation, and indeed this need is both urgent and growing. It is important in the public interest that solutions are found, and the needs of older people met. The two linked developments now proposed would help to meet a significant proportion of this need. Moreover, they would do so in a way that would address both ends of the market, and with a generous 60:40 split in favour of the affordable sector. They would also cater for a very wide range of individual needs, in terms of physical ability, dependency and personal care requirements. In addition, the new accommodation would be provided and managed by a charitable organisation with an exemplary record in their field, who clearly have a willingness to innovate, and a desire to achieve the highest standards. These considerations weigh heavily in favour of the appeal.”
The inspector concluded, however, that these merits were not sufficiently special to outweigh the impact on green belt, and were not “limited” infill, the appeal was dismissed on that basis.
Chandra McGowan, Chief Executive Whiteley Homes Trust, comments: “Not only is this a tragedy, given the lack of affordable housing across the country, it is also a lost opportunity for joined-up care and support for older people, something which both Surrey County Council Adult Services and the local NHS are grappling to fund. For example, in January this year the estimated saving target for Surrey County Council was £100 m.
“Whiteley Homes Trust’s proven ability to provide support in this type of community setting is hugely beneficial to individuals, incredibly efficient in terms of public resources, and has a proven impact on longevity**. We already have existing infrastructure in terms of facilities, staffing and expertise, and the land to use for more quality accommodation- an asset we are being prevented from using to maximum benefit for public good. In a time of increasing austerity in the provision of state support this makes the judgment even more onerous on local taxpayers.
“We had previously identified with Elmbridge which parts of the estate we could use for infill, but this seems to have had little bearing on the final decision and adds to the inconsistencies in decision, despite our fundamental objectives being the same. I will be discussing this with Rob Moran Chief Executive of Elmbridge Borough Council. Interestingly, we were given permission last year to develop a new care hub and convert an old nursing home to extra-care facailites, both being within our grounds and therefore in the green belt. The building of these fabulous new facilities is underway and will provide hugely beneficial services when they open next Spring, to the village and also more widely across the Elmbridge community. The innovative solutions in the recently rejected planning application were aimed at assisting our ageing population and could have increased support for more, older people of limited means. The decision is even more incoherent and inexplicable given the perilous state of housing, care and support for people who are reliant on state benefits and for a council that is struggling to find solutions to meet the needs of older people.”
The state- of- the- art new Care hub which is under construction (completion Spring 2019) will enable work in partnership with 3rd parties including Surrey University and others to explore and develop technological innovations to support and enhance the lives of residents. The Trust plans to share its learnings through the Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well for the greater good of society.
With support from a number of sponsors, in 2017 the Trust launched the Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well with the aim of sharing its knowledge of older people and to learn from others about what it means to live well in later life in the modern world. The Foundation is taking the lead in engaging with others who share its ambition that a long life should also be a good life.
The properties proposed in this appeal would have provided an opportunity to test the best ideas in a real-life environment designed to be ‘future-proofed’, and to compare the results with retro-fitting technology to older properties. The Trust has had initial discussions with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and the Almshouse Association with a view to a joint publication of lessons we learn in building Almshouses of the Future.
Elmbridge is one of the most expensive boroughs in the UK with average house prices (Zoopla September 2018) in Weybridge of £899,375, Walton £624,746 and in Esher reaching £1,060,106.
* Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) for Kingston North East Surrey 2016
** Longevity Boost at Whiteley Village – in February 2017, Cass Business School published research showing that people – especially women – living at Whiteley Village enjoy up to 5 extra years of life than the general population.
Media contacts: Anne Kavanagh, Whiteley Homes Trust T: 07966 447 024 firstname.lastname@example.org
You can view/download the October issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – October 2018
Thinking about future issues of the magazine I wondered just how many interesting stories and anecdotes there are in the Village. For example, at another retirement scheme, I came across two residents. One had been a RAF pilot in the war and the other flew for the South African air force. It turned out that both had been imprisoned in the same Prisoner of War camp. What were the odds that years later they would end up living in the same retirement scheme? In the same place was a retired professional dancer who called her prosthetic leg “Matilda” (as in the song, “ I’ll go no more a-waltzing, Matilda, with you.”). Yet another lady told me of the time she was a sixteen-year old schoolgirl when war was declared in 1939, and she was left stranded in Paris with a few francs in her pocket. How she got home to England, dodging both the ticket inspectors and the unwanted attentions of young soldiers could be written up as a play.
I get to hear some fascinating stories and I am often left saddened that they will never be told again. There are lots of amazing and amusing stories out there and I’ll bet you have one or two. Why not share your stories with us? If this is something you’d like to do you could write to or email the editors or give us a call and one of us could write it up for you. Please be assured
you would have the final say before ever it was published.
Email: email@example.com or if you wish to discuss in person please contact Sue Kirby, Rachael Milling, Mary Chapman, Max Cordell, Len Curtis or Helen Johnstone.
Max Cordell – Village Magazine Committee
You can view/download the September issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – September 2018
Highs and Lows
As some of you may know, my eldest daughter is leaving home this week. It’s a bitter sweet time, as I know she is setting out on her own path for the future, but I shall miss her. Most of us have coped with change and loss in our lives, both very human experiences, and the kind of everyday events that can bring people together. It’s often an opportunity to share an experience and get to know someone just a little better. It’s also a time when you can provide support simply by knowing just how they feel.
I enjoyed Paula, Colleen’s and Daryl’s articles this month because they talk about how tolerance, thankfulness and feeling safe and secure, enable us to live life in full colour – even when things around us change and at times life is hard. What never changes is the roller coaster of life that keeps serving up unexpected highs and lows.
So, our wonderful opportunity at Whiteley is to recognise when people around us need a hug and to be around to celebrate the good times with them too.
Chandra McGowan – CEO
General Office – Relocation
Please note that the General Office is no longer based in the Administration Building but has been relocated to Reception in Whiteley House (opposite St Mark’s Church on North Avenue)
- The doors to Whiteley House close at 5pm.
- Guest House: Anyone wishing to make booking payments or to collect/drop off keys, should do this at the Clubhouse during normal opening hours (see Village Magazine for details).
- General Office email box: This will be monitored regularly – please refer to the Village Magazine for all key contact numbers.
Should you have any queries regarding this change please do contact the team on Whiteley House Reception (From 9am—5pm): 01932 842360.
You can view/download the August issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – August 2018
Having read reports that this summer so far has been beaten some of the records of the summer of 1976, it is no wonder our usually very green grounds are looking rather sandy looking! But hey, the upside is we have had day after day of blue sky and sunshine!
All this lovely weather has coincided with great national sporting events such as The World Cup and Wimbledon, and as always Villagers have played their sporting part with all the club
tournaments happening during the summer months.
At the time of writing the Village Fayre is days away and there is a hub of activity in the Village. Working in events myself, I know how much work goes into making these events successful, there are many months of preparation and leading up to an event there are many hours of hard work put in. Well done to you all, for all your efforts.
This month we have The Annual Flower show to look forward and I am sure you are all busy growing your produce/plants, baking, creating and crafting away, good luck!
As we move into September there are more events to look forward to, look out for details of the WW1 Celebration Tea Party and the Dog Show in this edition.
Well that’s all from me for now, other than to say hope you enjoy the rest of this lovely summer!
Natalie Brotherton – Editorial Team
You can view/download the July issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – July 2018
Summer is finally here and the weather is being kind to us. Looking back at June we had a sterling day at the Whiteley Village Races with a record number of runners this year. Many people have said how nice it was to see the village so busy on such a lovely day. My hat goes
off to all the volunteers and staff that supported the day so well, as without them the day would not be the success that it was. It makes me very proud to be part of a team of people that work
so hard for the benefit of our beautiful village and its residents.
Some of us also had the great honour of representing the Trust at two events held at Buckingham Palace for the charities HRH The Prince of Wales is patron of, such as the Whiteley Homes Trust, as part of his 70th birthday celebrations (some photos are featured later in this edition).
In June we also saw the start of the new Café Church which was well attended and a great time for some reflection and friendship with a bit of learning too. This month is set to be a busy one with the ever popular Village Fayre and Flower Festival on the weekend of 21st and 22nd
July. I know just how many months of hard work goes into organising these events and I am sure it will all pay off with something for everyone to enjoy and hopefully some great weather too!
I was delighted to be asked to write this editorial and when the magazine committee approached me they didn’t realise just how timely their request would be – for as you will all know by now, I am moving on. My time at Whiteley has been interesting, challenging and
inspiring but after three years working at Whiteley I have been offered the chance to work on the Isle of Wight for the local authority there. I have always split my time between the village and the island and this is the perfect opportunity for me to move to the island full time. By the time you read this I will be on my summer holiday in Israel but I will be returning on 9th July and will be working until the end of the month, so will hopefully have the opportunity to say goodbye personally to as many of you as possible before I leave. My thanks and very best wishes to each and every one of you.