Category Archives: Community

Advocates Topic March 2016

How can we afford it?

Charitable Duty:
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.

Looking ahead
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.

Advocates Topic February 2016

Why Development and Progress is good for Whiteley

With February upon us, we would like to take this opportunity to explain more about the reasons why the Whiteley Futures development project, will greatly benefit our community. We are aiming to provide 70 new Alms-houses designed to offer homes in which people can remain independent for as long as possible, along with 40 additional extra care apartments and approximately 30 units of accommodation for those with high care needs

When William Whiteley wrote his will he made it clear that the money should be used to build “homes for aged poor persons”. Today, we are fortunate that we can begin to help more older people in desperate need of accommodation because of our assets, our land and our services.

Increasing demand due to social change

Only last year the SMF (Social Market Foundation) published a report which showed the gap between richest and poorest has dramatically widened in the past decade. It also found the poorest 20 per cent of the UK are less financially secure than they were in 2005, with their net wealth falling by 57 % and levels of debt and use of overdrafts increasing. This tells us that there are going to be many more older people who will need the safety and security of a home at Whiteley.

Impact of reduced public spending

Although we are all still feeling the strain of the 2008 financial crisis, this development has the chance to make a real difference to additional people who need the charities support, and to improve the quality of life for the existing community simultaneously. By increasing the number and diversity of people who live here, we can build better opportunities for mutual support. Our nature at Whiteley Village is to look after each other and lend a helping hand, which will become increasingly important as people age and the demand for support grows

Whiteley’s own needs for better accommodation

Whiteley House is an old building, with a growing number of problems that are making it increasingly difficult for staff to deliver the care that people need. Although everyone does their best, the building was not designed to cope with all the modern technology and equipment that can help. It is also very costly to run because of the original materials used.

Some facts and figures below that will help to explain our need to grow and develop

At the moment the annual income into the Trust is just over £9M. We make a small surplus each year, which goes into the bank for future use e.g. to refurbish homes, or assist with care costs in Whiteley House.

The problem we face, is that if we stay as we are, our income may grow slightly but we anticipate that some of our costs will grow significantly.
For example, our estimates show that in 10 years’ time, three times as many people living in the Alms Houses will need support to live independently, than is the case today. To meet these needs we must expand our income streams.

Alongside this we know that we must continue to spend money on all our other buildings and facilities to make sure that the Village remains the place that we love and cherish.
As a responsible charity we want to ensure our financial planning takes account of the fact that if we remain as we are, we will be able to put less and less money into the bank to invest in our long term future.

By growing our numbers gradually and improving our care facilities, we believe we can lessen these financial impacts and in 10 years can expand our income to meet increasing needs. This will help us to look after the Village better, bring more staff into the Village should we need them, reach out to the wider community and invest in broadening the activities and interests that do so much to make Whiteley Village the special place that it is today.

Advocates Meeting January 2016

The importance of good communication – residents and staff

In 1914, builders broke ground on what would come to be known as one of Britain’s finest places to age. A historic landmark, Whiteley Village was founded by William Whiteley in 1907, who, in leaving £1m in his will along with a clear set of instructions for homes that would serve the needs of older people with limited financial means, created a world where elderly people could retire and live with a sense of purpose and dignity.

But you know the story, so let’s fast forward to the present day – January 2016. In an effort to accommodate a growing elderly population in need of economically feasible living options, we are preparing to introduce the Village’s development project ‘Whiteley Futures’. In addition to the construction of more accommodation, Whiteley Futures will introduce new personalised models of care and improved facilities over the next few years that will not only enhance the quality of life for the Village’s current residents, but will enable us to help more people live happy and fulfilling
lives as they age, all while still honouring the vision of our founder.

There will be monthly Whiteley Futures Updates both on the Whiteley Futures website – in the Villager magazine and in staff meetings. These updates will serve as your central point for news and information regarding the project, with each month focusing on a different aspect of Whiteley Futures in order to quell any worries there may be about the development (as well as dispelling rumours before they begin!). We begin our updates by focusing a little on the importance of different channels of communication by taking you back to think about a simple childhood game that we have probably all played.

Here are the rules. Standing in a line one player begins by whispering a word or phrase to the person on their right. This is repeated until the end of the line has been reached. The last player repeats the word or phrase that they heard, almost always a message that bears no resemblance to the original. The game is known as Chinese Whispers, or Russian Scandal, or Whisper Down the Lane, among many others, depending on who you ask.

Its aim is to teach us how easily communication can be misheard, altered, and ultimately miscommunicated. It makes us think about the ways we communicate, and how good communication skills can mean the difference between ‘bananas’ and ‘the band, Anna’.

What does Whiteley Futures have to do with Chinese Whispers, you ask? The fundamental flaw of the game is that the information moves linearly, continually getting further from its origins as it travels down the line, inevitably picking up bits of misinformation along the way. Successful communication can only be achieved when information travels in a multitude of directions; from the top down, the bottom up, and everywhere in between.

ACTION : While we work to disseminate information from the top down,
we need the Advocates to join the conversation and build a grass roots network of communication in order to make Whiteley Futures a reality – we hope the Advocates will be able to speak to at least three people each week to tell them about the project and how they can obtain information or feedback comments.

In a world where ageing and retirement is so often associated with a loss of independence and freedom to choose the way one lives, we are asking you to help us create a community that you can be proud of because you helped create it. With that being said, Whiteley Village welcomes you, old and new, resident and staff to help build our future, together.

Next topic: Why we need change (why development and progress is good).