How can we afford it?
The purpose of Whiteley Homes Trust is to provide housing to older people of limited means and support them to live their lives well. Therefore it is our duty to use all the resources at our disposal to reach out to as many older people who desperately need our help as we can.
Significant Developments in the Past:
As a charity we have always adapted and expanded to meet people’s changing needs. We have added Drapers’ Crescent to our community, but also Huntley House extra care facilities and community services such as domiciliary care. Over time we have improved the lives of increasing numbers of people.
Today we have a building which is not fit for the purpose of modern nursing care and in need of renovation – Whiteley House. It is very expensive to maintain, which means we are not using our resources as a charity to best effect.
We also have homes that are not ideally designed for people to live independently as they age, with the care and support they will need. We can achieve even better value for the money we spend on buildings and on staff. For example – if new buildings are built to better standards then residents will spend less on heating and maintenance and they will be able to do more for themselves – staying independent longer and needing less help from public services and the Trust.
Previous Funding for developments:
Here are examples that we have taken advantage of in the last 20 years. All are relevant as options for us today, and provide a track record of success:
- Borrowing – the Trust took an £8m loan in 2011 from the Allied Irish Bank to complete the refurbishment programme, and we are in the process of paying this back.
- Philanthropic contributions – we received a substantial sum from the Drapers’ Company to build 16 new cottages in 2004.
- Land Deals – we negotiated the sale of land on the boundary in 2010 which allowed the development of Fox Wood and gave the Trust the benefit of significant capital receipts with which to continue the re-furbishment programme. Coach House Mews also generated funds for the refurbishment.
- Self funders – have played their part, and today we have Ingram House and majority of Whiteley House services paid for by people who can afford them. All surpluses go towards continuing our charitable activities.
As you will know, the government is implementing an austerity programme to balance the national budget, and this has already had a major impact on the NHS and local council services. Everyone expects the gap between demand for services for older people and what public bodies can afford to increase. We have to get the maximum benefit from all the Trust’s assets if we are to maintain and improve the current level of support to Villagers, let alone provide services to more people who need our help.
Funding the Development
It has always been our plan to continue to use a range of funding sources for developments. We cannot fund the large capital costs of the next phase of Whiteley Futures (the new cottages, the care hub and the extra care apartments) from our current operational income, the largest part of which is maintenance charges. We intend to use all other routes as identified above, including borrowing, philanthropy, and use of assets for self funders so as not to impact on the costs for today’s beneficiaries.
Additional resources for the project will come through –
- Increasingly efficient systems and processes for administering services and delivering support. This will be achieved through ensuring the best use of technology in the future.
- Well designed and equipped buildings to ensure ease of use for older people as they age and their needs for support increase.
- Thoughtful use of land assets and buildings to allow self-funders to contribute to and be part of village life, eg: rents and / or sale at market value for some units of accommodation.
Impact / Outcome
The costs of the development are being finalised currently and we have a number of options for funding which trustees are considering. The decision regarding the preferred option(s) will be taken in the light of the Trust assets and the wider economy too. We are clear that whatever we commit to we must ensure that we maintain and improve current levels of services, ensure more older people can benefit from the quality of life that Whiteley has to offer, and provide opportunities for staff to be working in a way that makes them proud. Thus every pound we spend will be in pursuit of making Whiteley the best place to age in Britain.