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The Whiteley Homes Trust

Press Releases Published: June 21, 2021 2:52 pm

A charity which provides housing and care for older people of limited means and has benefited from significant funding from social lenders Unity Trust Bank and Triodos Bank, has been increasing support to its 400 residents to help counter the long-term impact of the pandemic as lockdown eases.

The Whiteley Homes Trust manages historic Whiteley Village in Surrey – a unique 225-acre site which includes a variety of accommodation for older people including the new, state-of-the-art Eliza Palmer Hub care home which was financed by Triodos Bank and Unity Trust Bank.

With Covid restrictions in place for almost 18 months, the Trust has been working to organise and encourage activities to support villagers’ health and wellbeing to help prepare them for life after lockdown.

Rachel Hill, Trust Chief Executive, said: “We’re very aware of the long-term impact of isolation and anxiety on residents’ mental health due to Covid. Many have no family at all or none living close by, and some have been shielding for many months.

“Whereas some residents are raring to go out, others are much more anxious, so as  lockdown has eased, our teams have been working to help people feel comfortable socialising again.”

The Trust worked with villager volunteers to organise a popular fortnight of Community Wellbeing events including, outdoor exercise classes, arts and crafts workshops, guided nature walks, a treasure hunt, cookery classes and drama taster sessions.

Rachel said: “We were delighted at the response to our Wellbeing events, but we needed a longer-term solution too. So, in partnership with our local NHS we will soon be launching a free mental health counselling service to offer ongoing support as residents adjust.

“In normal circumstances Whiteley is a vibrant community with dozens of clubs and societies and extensive facilities. What makes us particularly special however is our pathway of care, which means beneficiaries don’t necessarily have to leave our community as their needs change but can move into different accommodation on site, keeping their familiar surroundings and friends.

The Eliza Palmer Hub replaced a century-old nursing home that was increasingly unfit for purpose. Thanks to the loan from Triodos and Unity, we have been able to create this award-winning place for our residents to call home. The Hub offers 30 spacious care suites and modern open-plan living, in addition to a stunning public café, hair salon and a Wellbeing Suite for therapy sessions – making it a vital social space for residents, staff and the wider community to share. The funding also enabled us to improve outdated heating in many of our century-old almshouses. We have been delighted with the banks’ support.”

Matthew Conroy, Relationship Manager at Unity Trust Bank, said: “Whiteley Village is in a Conservation Area and most of the buildings are Grade 2 Listed which means the Trust’s maintenance costs are higher than many other housing providers. Not only did Unity and Triodos’s finance support the creation of the new Hub, but it also enabled the Trust to undertake much-needed maintenance repairs, ensuring it maintained the Decent Homes Standard for all its beneficiaries.

“Unity Trust Bank aligns its practices to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include supporting the needs of older people to keep them healthy and independent in their communities. The Whiteley Homes Trust encourages its residents to live happy and fulfilling lives and we’re delighted to support their vision.”

Peter Borgers, Relationship Manager at Triodos Bank UK, added: “It’s wonderful to hear that Whiteley Village is able to look ahead to its future and safely bring back these hugely important social activities for residents. We only support organisations with human dignity at their core, and Whiteley is a key example of one that puts wellbeing at the heart of its care.”

Whiteley Village consists of 261 almshouse cottages where residents can live independently, Huntley House – an extra care facility with 51 flats, and two care homes – Ingram House and the Eliza Palmer Hub, which opened in 2019 and is named after the Village’s first resident who arrived in 1917.

Despite the numbers of vulnerable people living onsite, more than half are aged over 80 and the oldest of eight centenarians is 106. The Trust has an exceptional Covid safety record – with just 12 cases in the Village to date during the pandemic and only two resident deaths, both of whom contracted the virus in hospital and later sadly died there.

Following excellent reports from the CQC on its management of Covid-19 infection control, the Trust was asked to provide best practice advice to other providers.

To find out more about Unity Trust Bank and how we can support your business, call our UK based Customer Centre team on 0345 245 0020.


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