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

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

The Villager Magazine – March 2019

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


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 – January 2019

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.

The Villager Magazine – December 2018

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, 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

The Villager Magazine – November 2018

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

Whiteley Homes Trust Planning Appeal

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 Villagein 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

The Villager Magazine – October 2018

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:  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

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