Stonewater housing scheme for seniors in Bickley scoops national award

A Bickley sheltered housing scheme for older people owned by Stonewater, a leading social housing provider, has received national recognition for its top-rated accommodation at an awards ceremony in Manchester (17 February).

Robert Whyte House in Oldfield Road, received top marks from residents in 11 categories and was commended in the National Housing for Older People Awards presented by media star and former politician, Ann Widdecombe.

Robert Whyte House is a sheltered and supported housing scheme for the 55+ age range and has 35 bedsits and flats set in leafy Bickley. Residents rated the scheme particularly highly in consultation, meals and links with the community at large.

More than 4000 residents from nearly 360 specialist housing schemes helped choose the award winners in a unique process overseen by the national housing charity for older people, Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC).

“We are thrilled to receive this national award which is a great achievement and testament to the work our dedicated staff do and particularly meaningful as it was our residents who took the time to take part in the survey and rate our performance,” says Stonewater Project Manager Linda Lawless.

Robert Whyte Houses residents scored their accommodation on a variety of statements relating to both the quality of the property and the care, support and general sense of wellbeing they liked.

To make the process more entertaining the statements were written on cards, effectively allowing the residents to form small groups and play a card game while actually scoring their housing and contributing to the awards process. They evaluated their accommodation on the basis of location, building quality, their own apartments or rooms, services and lifestyle.

Specific factors under these headings included:

* Whether residents feel part of their wider community

* The level of privacy they can enjoy when they wish

* Whether their views are sought and taken account of

* Staff attitudes towards residents

* The opportunity for social activities and other interaction with fellow residents or neighbours

* The space, natural light and design quality of their home.

“The game was a fun way of getting our views across. I am very happy with my accommodation and I have everything I need,” says Robert Whyte resident, Irene Saisi. Fellow resident George Bennet also comments: “I enjoy meeting new people and have not long moved in, I like my room, meal times are nice and I have settled in very nicely”.

EAC Chief Executive, John Galvin, underlined the importance of the Awards. “They continue to convey a strong, positive message about the success of retirement housing and housing-with-care, and also to celebrate the fact that provision is becoming more diverse”.