Sheltered Housing
Between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014:

During the year we carried out a review of our sheltered housing to make sure that our sheltered homes are sustainable in the future. As a result of this, we are now investing in 27 of our sheltered schemes which will receive a range of improvements such as new kitchens, bathrooms, front doors and windows and boilers. A further two schemes which have been re-designated for general needs housing have also been included in our improvement programme and one other scheme has been added to our Castlefield Regeneration Programme

For the remaining six of our schemes, they cost more money to maintain than we receive in income, so they are not as financially sustainable in the future. After an extensive consultation with tenants, a decision was made to close four schemes and partially close another two.
We have met with the 76 affected tenants to talk about their needs and are helping them find suitable homes within our other schemes.

A total of £66,241 was spent by tenants at our sheltered schemes. Each of our schemes is given a budget of £50 per home to spend on things that will improve the quality of life for the residents. The idea is that it brings the communities together to spend the money for the benefit of all residents. On 31st March 2014, 13 schemes had formed committees to manage their budget with their own bank accounts, with three schemes yet to spend the money they have available. Examples of things that have been purchased include garden furniture, plants for communal grounds and renewing communal TV licences.

Our Community Call service was transferred to Tunstall Response in February 2014 and as a result, response times for answering calls within 60 seconds improved from 96.5% to 98.5% since the service was transferred

981 tenants have been provided with ongoing support by our Scheme Managers, so that they can maintain their independence, safety and security. 

The next year will see some changes to the way we provide services in our schemes, due to a review that is being carried out by Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC).They are looking to reduce the available funding by up to 25% and refocus the type of support they will provide in the future, which means we will incur substantial losses on the contract. As a contractor of their services, we have to respond to these changes. We are therefore separating the support and housing management service from the Scheme Manager’s role, so that we are in the best possible position to bid for any future contract

A programme to convert 26 empty bedsit flats in our sheltered schemes to one bedroom or two bedroom homes has been developed and will be starting towards the end of 2014. These conversions will provide more homes for tenants aged 55 and over.

After transferring the service to Tunstall Response, we have been able to reduce the cost of providing the Community Call Service so there is more money to invest elsewhere in sheltered housing

Two of our schemes have been converted to general needs housing as they were not sustainable as sheltered accommodation. By doing this, we have been able to make best use of these homes and provide more homes to those in need 

Scheme Managers have been working more flexibly, with better technology, and they can now cover each other and each scheme much more easily.

Bernie Hunter (chair of the Sheltered Housing Interest Group)

"The last twelve months have been a great learning curve for me as a member of our Sheltered Housing Interest Group and a member of the Annual Report team. With the help of staff and other involved tenants, I have started to understand what it takes to run a business of this size and complexity. I can only thank everyone involved for their help, and friendship over the time I have been working with them."

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