2 April 2015

Social and creative projects at heart of new sheltered housing service

A radical shift in housing for older people has been unveiled developed in conjunction with more than 850 sheltered housing residents called ‘Seniors Housing – Independent and Community Living.’

All 850 tenants from 23 sheltered schemes had the opportunity to voice their needs through the Senior Housing Action Group, after which recommendations for the service review were heard by the resident-led Area Panels before Housing Committee. This has kept residents involved at every level. 

Peter Huntbach, Older Peoples Housing Manager, said:  “The new service reflects the changing needs of our growing older population: having consulted with residents at every stage, we are confident that the new service will be less institutional and more aspirational.

“We have seen how residents’ lives have been turned around by the range of social and creative projects bringing the wider community into their world. New friendships have been made and sustained with ongoing support giving residents a sense of belonging and connectedness that is vital to their wellbeing.”

The service review has come at a time when the population of over 65’s is predicted to increase by 12% in the next five years. There are currently 2,500 people over 60 on the housing register and 700 have expressed an interest in sheltered housing.

Not only are people living longer, they now expect to lead an independent, active and meaningful life well into their 80’s. As responsibility for public health has moved into the realm of local government under the Social Care Act 2012, the new service embraces a more preventative approach to health and wellbeing, offering support for flu vaccinations, smoking cessation and free health checks.

The revised service offer will bring a range of improvements, including:

A 3 year programme of refurbishment and remodelling of studios into one bedroom flats making them ‘fit for purpose’  
Four more managers to be recruited. We have recruited new staff and are looking to recruit two full time Scheme Managers
Decorating communal areas to the ‘Rainbow Standard’ which introduces a rich variety of bright and stimulating colours particularly for those with visual impairment.
Improving our communal areas with a programme of refurbishment
More opportunities have been created for the engagement of residents with the wider community, encouraging collaboration with creative and cultural organisations.
Partnership working with the council’s public health team to provide a wider range of preventative health and wellbeing campaigns throughout 2014 on stopping smoking, healthy weight and winter flu vaccinations. We will continue to bring messages about better health to residents during 2015.
To ensure the most vulnerable are supported and do not become isolated. Staff will intervene in a timely and sensitive way should it be required.