Category Archives: All

“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

Whiteley wins grant for resident-led dementia research

14 Feb 2019

Project team from left to right: Dr Rachael Frost; Villagers Mary Chapman; Sue Kirby; Pauline Simpson; Peggy Ruff and Dr Alison Armstrong

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

The Villager Magazine – September 2018

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

The Villager Magazine – June 2018

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

The Villager Magazine – June 2018


Events and activities are what make Whiteley Village special and there is plenty of both on offer here at Whiteley. The wet weather of winter and spring delayed the opening of the outdoor activities at Whiteley Village but now they are in full swing – Putting, Bowls and Golf are all available. There are plenty of indoor activities too; if you are interested just contact the club secretaries listed at the back of this magazine.
In June we host the Whiteley Village Races (10th June, 8 am to 12.30 pm). At the time of writing we already have twice as many entrants as we had this time last year. Laura Cole, Volunteer Coordinator, is looking for villagers to help with the bag drop, the car park and for race marshalling. Please get in touch with her if you can help.
It’s not too early to start thinking about the main event of the year, either. The Whiteley Village Fayre (21st July) is a great day out for all the family and major fundraiser for the Village. Money from the Fayre goes towards the Welfare Fund, Huntley House, The Library and the Care
Homes and it is this money that enables the clubs and societies to function. So please give your support to the Village Fayre in whatever way you can, however small. Please tell your friends and family, consider buying raffle tickets (available from your section reps) or perhaps you
can help in some way on the day?
We hope you enjoy this edition of The Villager Magazine.
Max Cordell