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University approves Trust as training facility

Thursday 25 July 2019

Whiteley welcomes student nurse
following university approval as a training facility

Student Nurse Catherine Bangoura with her friend, resident Sheila Brewer

The care team at Whiteley Homes Trust were delighted to welcome first year student nurse, Catherine Bangoura from the University of Surrey recently after the Trust was approved as a training facility for mentoring the university’s student nurses.

Catherine’s eight week placement is based at the Eliza Palmer Hub, the Village’s brand new care home, where supported by her mentor, Registered Nurse Ellen Collins, she is working alongside other nursing and care staff to look after its 30 residents. Catherine said: “The Hub is such a caring place and I’m really enjoying working here. I’m so grateful to my mentor and to all my colleagues for their advice and support.

“Whiteley is my second placement this year. My first was in a hospital and although I learned a lot, it was difficult to spend any quality time with patients. Although it’s very busy working here too, I do have the opportunity to get to know residents as individuals and develop a better understanding of their personal needs.”

One resident Catherine has become especially close to is Sheila Brewer, ”It’s important to me to make a difference, and I’m so happy to have been able to develop a special bond with Sheila”, said Catherine. “She’s always pleased to see me and that really makes my day, and I’d love to come back to work at Whiteley Village if there was a job available in the future!”

Ellen Collins said: “It has been a pleasure to mentor Catherine and I am sure she has appreciated the unfettered opportunity to observe, learn and develop and also enjoy time getting to know our residents. I am pleased she has recognised the importance of providing person-centred care and shows a natural affinity for caring for people holistically too. I hope Catherine preserves this passion as her training continues over the next two years and her clinical knowledge and skills develop. I wish her success with the rest of her nursing studies.”

The Trust’s approval as a recognised mentor by the University’s School of Health Sciences, not only benefits the organisation as an employer, but is also important for the wider care sector, say senior nursing staff at Whiteley.

Ethna Mertens, Clinical Governance & Safeguarding Lead at the Trust said: “These placements give us a valuable opportunity to showcase our *award-winning practice in older people’s care here at Whiteley Village, but also help us tackle misperceptions. Nurses can be reluctant to work in care homes when they qualify because many wrongly believe it offers a more limited opportunity to use their clinical skills, in comparison to a hospital.

“Catherine’s experience – and I hope that of the student nurses who follow her, will help us to change perceptions about nursing in care homes for the better and to highlight the broader range of experience and personal satisfaction this environment can offer. I was very pleased to hear Catherine would like to come back and work for us once she’s qualified – you can’t get a better recommendation than that!”

*The Whiteley Homes Trust won 2018 Platinum Award for the 4th year running from the National Gold Standards Framework Centre.

May the Force be with you!

Monday 22 July 2019

May the Force be with you!

Volunteers from our local Neighbourhood Policing Team

The Trust is very grateful to have such a committed and diverse group of volunteers including residents and members of our local community. Our Volunteering Team has also been delighted at the growing interest from local organisations and companies in supporting our charity – with three sending teams of staff to work on various projects in the Village during July, including 35 officers from Surrey Police.

In mid-July a group visited from local company SHL (here in the green t-shirts) whose staff helped to give residents’ new sheds their first coat of paint. Last week staff from Surrey County Council’s Adult Social Services Team visited to help the Village Fayre Committee set up for Saturday’s Fayre and at the end of the week, we also welcomed officers from Runnymede, Spelthorne and Elmbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team, who worked on various projects and then spent time meeting and getting to know some of our residents.

Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Cole said: “Following the closure of our nursing home, Whiteley House, there was a lot of old and unwanted equipment that had to be removed and so during the morning the officers helped to remove a lot of this into an enormous skip.

“Despite the drizzly weather, the volunteers didn’t let the rain get in the way of hard work and groups worked to paint residents’ sheds and to weed, trim and plant flowers in the Village Remembrance Garden. The sun finally showed up in the afternoon and groups of volunteers were then able to enjoy games of golf, putting and bowls with our residents and share a well-earned lunch!

“We are hugely grateful to all the organisations and individuals who support us by giving their time, energy and enthusiasm. It really makes all the difference to our residents and to our charity.”

If you, or your company would like to explore how you could support the work of The Whiteley Homes Trust by volunteering at Whiteley Village, please contact our Volunteering Team at or call 01932 825847.

The Villager Magazine – July 2019

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

The Villager Magazine – July 2019

What better week for residents to move into their wonderful new home in the Eliza Palmer Hub than National Carers’ Week (10 – 16 June) We know our award-winning care and nursing staff do an incredible job every day but during the move in particular everyone including our fantastic volunteers; Housekeeping & Portering team and Caretaker/Security Officer, Stefan, really went the extra mile to ensure residents were moved safely and given a VIP welcome into their new home.
Relative, Coral Harding said: “It all went so smoothly and everything  was so well organised that residents were settled in their beautiful new rooms in no time….I just wanted to say how much my family and I appreciate all the hard work and thought that has gone into this wonderful facility.” (Read Coral’s letter in full on page 26.)
Gillian Lewis, whose mum Marjorie is Whiteley Village’s oldest resident at 107 said: “Mum and all the family were overwhelmed by the special efforts made by porters, carers, nurses and caterers on the day of the great move. Mum said: ‘It poured with rain but everyone was amazing!’ She particularly likes watching the builders at work while they finish the surroundings!”

“Volunteering is good for the soul!”

Friday, 7 June 2019

“Volunteering is good for the soul!”

So said one of our fantastic volunteers who we’ve been celebrating during National Volunteers’ Week (1 – 7 June). She went on to explain, “If you’ve ever helped someone in the smallest of ways, even crossing the street, then you’ll know the feeling. Whiteley Village is a lovely, unique place where you really do feel a sense of community spirit.”

Whiteley is fortunate to have 174 registered volunteers – a number which is expected to grow further once the Eliza Palmer Hub (an exciting new care facility with stunning public café and gardens) opens at the end of July.

Most volunteers are residents themselves but almost 40% come from the local community and The Whiteley Homes Trust (the charity which manages the Village), works with local schools and colleges as well as businesses – often through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.

Volunteer coordinator Laura Cole said: “We welcome volunteers with any skills and any amount of time to spare. We have developed some exciting intergenerational work between our residents and local children and young people, and our CSR projects are really appreciated by villagers and staff alike – for example recently when a team from the insurance company AXA worked with our Estates’ Team to transform an overgrown garden.”

Volunteers support a huge variety of activities, events and projects including the Befriending Scheme which helps residents who might otherwise be lonely or isolated. One community volunteer said: “I have made a close friendship with the lady that I visit and send her postcards when we travel which I know she enjoys receiving. Very small but I love sending them as much as she likes receiving them. Volunteering is now so much part of my life I can’t really imagine not doing it!”

These everyday heroes work alongside our staff to make a real difference to life at Whiteley – and it’s great to know the benefits can be mutual! If you would like to support The Whiteley Homes Trust charity as a volunteer or through your company’s CSR programme, please get in touch with Laura Cole, Volunteer Coordinator by email or by calling 01932 825847.

D-Day 75

Thursday, 6 June 2019

D-Day 75

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, also known as D-Day which took place on 6th June 1944. Read war veteran and Whiteley resident, Roy Lavender’s story in this month’s Whiteley Villager magazine with his memories of the intense fighting in Normandy after D-Day.

Donation will be a lasting legacy

Monday, 15 April 2019

Donation will be a lasting legacy

A generous donation from the Friends of Weybridge Hospital to support an exciting new care facility being built by the Whiteley Homes Trust will have a significant and lasting impact on improving the health and well-being of the charity’s residents and create a tranquil and welcoming garden for everyone to enjoy, the Trust has said.

The Trust which owns and manages Whiteley Village, was delighted to be chosen as the sole beneficiary of the Friends of Weybridge Hospital (FoWH) fund, when its committee members decided to dissolve the organisation.

The donation was made in two parts; £100,000 in May 2018 and £19,267 in March 2019. It will not only contribute towards facilities in the 30-bed ‘Eliza Palmer Hub’ but will also fund the design and planting of its centrepiece `Oasis` contemplation garden, which villagers will be encouraged to help look after, and the Trust hopes will become a special place for residents and visitors to meet and relax in, when the Hub opens later this year.

Chandra McGowan, Chief Executive of the Trust said: “We are extremely grateful to FoWH for their generous support. Weybridge Hospital and its former staff and Trustees had a proud history of caring for those in their local community and we are honoured to have been chosen as a custodian of that legacy.

“The therapeutic benefits of visiting and helping cultivate a garden are well known and we were delighted that Mary Jenner, one of the committee members of FoWH, agreed to join the judging panel that chose `Oasis’ as the garden’s name earlier this year from the various suggestions submitted by villagers and staff.

“Right from the beginning, we were committed to ensuring the Hub and its facilities embodied excellence not just in the delivery of care but also in the promotion of well-being and a thriving community. This donation will help us grow these ambitions for Whiteley Village – and a beautiful place for us all to enjoy.”

David Brown, Chair of FoWH said: “We, the Friends of Weybridge Hospital were very pleased to identify this opportunity to invest in this excellent facility, which will be available to the people of Weybridge.”

The £10.5m Eliza Palmer Hub is due to open later this year with 30 extra-large care suites, therapy facilities, an octagonal glass public café and a centrepiece contemplation garden. The Hub is integral to the Trust’s strategy to revolutionise how it provides care in the community.

Author: Andrea da Gama

Whiteley House care home strikes platinum

08 April 2019

Whiteley House care home strikes platinum

A Surrey care home dedicated to providing the best possible care for all its residents right up until the end of their lives, has been recognised with a major national award – for the fourth time.

Whiteley House nursing home in Whiteley Village, Walton-on-Thames, is one of 35 care homes from across England to have repeated its success in winning the Quality Hallmark Award from the National Gold Standards Framework (GSF) Centre, the UK’s largest provider of training in end of life care. Staff from the home received the award from Vic Rayner, Executive Director of National Care Forum, at a special ceremony in London on 5 April.

Vic Rayner said: “Residents in Gold Standards Framework accredited care homes like Whiteley House are receiving the personalised, proactive care people want and deserve as they approach the end of their life. These homes should be congratulated for being frontrunners by embedding the principles of the newly published NHS Long Term Plan ahead of time, helping more people die where and how they would choose as well as reducing avoidable hospital admissions.”

Rachel Hill, Director of Care  and Community for Whiteley Homes Trust said: “The care team at Whiteley House and across the whole of Whiteley Village, have a reputation for excellence – winning this prestigious award four times. But this year they have exceeded even that success by scoring 100% in their assessment and securing a platinum level award. This is a truly amazing achievement for which the Whiteley House team, guided by Ethna Mertens, Clinical Governance & Safeguarding  Lead, should be justifiably proud.

“Providing person-centered care, enabling choice and ensuring dignity, sits at the heart of what we do, but it’s especially important for residents who are approaching the end of their lives and so we are delighted to be recognised for the quality of our palliative care. The timing of this award is also a fitting end for the much loved Whiteley House, as it will soon close. Its residents will move into our new state-of-the-art care centre: The Eliza Palmer Hub, where although the building will have changed, our commitment to providing excellence will remain exactly the same!”

By satisfying the team of expert assessors who visited the home that they were still meeting the necessary quality standards, including leadership and support, dignity and respect, Whiteley House has proved that it has embedded all the elements necessary to deliver good care for all of its residents right up until the end of their lives, for the long term. Homes that demonstrate their credentials for the second, third or fourth time are recognised with the Platinum award.

GSF Quality Hallmark Awards are presented to homes that demonstrate real improvement in the quality of care they provide. Many halve the number of their residents dying in hospital as well as halving crisis hospital admissions, leading to greater satisfaction for families, residents and staff and significant cost savings for the NHS.

Everyone in the home, ranging from nurses to the activities coordinator and catering staff, is involved in regular reviews with the residents. All aspects of their lives are considered including spiritual beliefs, personal interests and care preferences. Staff talk to the residents about their end of life care, giving them the opportunity to decide where and how they would like to be cared for. This has helped the residents and their families feel secure that they will be comfortable, and their preferences considered at all times.

Professor Keri Thomas, GSF Founder and National Clinical Director, said: “The aim of the Gold Standards Framework is to help care homes ensure they are delivering quality care for all of their residents not just today but for tomorrow and the next day. Whiteley House has proved that its commitment to providing personalised, compassionate care is long term and should be congratulated for its efforts. Its residents can feel reassured that staff are dedicated to delivering a high standard of coordinated care, in line with their wishes right up until the end of their life.”

The GSF Care Homes Training Programme and Accreditation is recognised by Care England, National Care Forum, National Care Association and Registered Nursing Home Association and by Skills for Care as an Excellent Provider. GSF training and accreditation is a proven step towards improved CQC ratings. Of the 430 care homes rated ‘outstanding’ by CQC, 65 are GSF accredited.

Download the full press release here. 

Author: Andrea da Gama

The Villager Magazine – April 2019

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

The Villager Magazine – April 2019

New beginnings It’s just over six weeks to go to the opening of the Eliza Palmer Hub. This wonderful building will not only be a significant feature on our landscape but will also make an enormous contribution to the life of our community. Less prominent, but arguably even more important to the future and well-being of our Village, is our new Community Charter.
As you will have seen in the December magazine and on posters around the Village, the Care Partnership Forum (CPF), a group of residents, staff, volunteers and trustees have done a fantastic job in creating the Charter; distilling what good community living means in practice here at Whiteley. The Charter will become our ‘go to’ document for helping residents live and age well together. It will become part of our admissions process and part of the new residents’
handbook and so before we launch the Charter, I want to give everyone a final opportunity to review and comment on it if they wish to:
The Whiteley Village Community Charter
We are a welcoming, caring community who support and respect each other and, through being kind and understanding, strive to make this the happiest place to age in Britain.

I am extremely grateful to members of the Forum for putting the Charter together so thoughtfully and would now encourage you all to look at the words, the sentiment behind them and to consider how we can use this statement of intent to improve the lives of all those in our community. It is a statement that puts into words the expectations we all have of what good community living looks and feels like. It also creates a foundation that underpins our way of life here now, and in the future – one that I hope will stand the test of time even longer than the bricks and mortar in the Hub.
If you would like to comment on the Charter, or have ideas about how we can promote it amongst residents, you can drop off a note at Reception in Whiteley House or at the Admin. Building, or you can email:
Closing date, Tuesday 30th April 2019.

Rod Bennion OBE is new Chair of the Trust

18 March 2019

Rod Bennion OBE is new Chair of the 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