Residents celebrate awards for best housing for later life

The best retirement and extra care housing – decided by the votes of older people themselves – won national recognition at an awards ceremony in Doncaster on 25th November.

Nearly 300 residents and staff of the winning schemes were welcomed by the Civic Mayor of Doncaster, Councillor Pat Haith. Before lunch entertainment was provided by singer and actress Anita Harris and comedienne Mrs Barbara Nice (Janice Connolly), and jazz duo JustUs calmed the tempo during lunch. MC Jon Hammond then managed a tightly organised presentation of Awards to this year’s 35 winning and 27 commended schemes.

More than 3300 residents of nearly 300 specialist housing schemes had helped choose the award winners in a unique process overseen by EAC. The residents rate their scheme on a variety of statements relating to both the quality of the property and the care (where relevant), support and general sense of wellbeing they enjoy there.

Specific factors under these headings include:

  • 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 accommodation.

To make the process more entertaining the statements are written on cards, effectively allowing the residents to form small groups and play a card game while contributing to the awards process.

EAC chief executive John Galvin says the awards are helping to establish a clear picture of what matters to older people and to what extent developers and providers are meeting those expectations. “In any sector it is the voice of the customer that matters most. These awards provide an opportunity for older people to comment on the wide range of factors that shape the quality of their life. They can have their say on everything from the location and design quality to the attitude of staff. By doing so they are recognising high quality accommodation or service and helping to shape new specialist accommodation by contributing to a database of customer views.”

Graham Precey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Legal & General (main sponsor of the Awards), said: “Legal & General is delighted to continue the valued relationship we have with EAC Awards as a sponsor once again of this year’s awards.

“As a responsible and caring insurer, we are always interested in opportunities that enable people to let us know what they really think. The link with EAC and the awards helps to improve our understanding of our society. The valued feedback we receive helps us to develop and define the contribution we can make in providing for our customers with dignity in the future.”

Jeremy Porteus, Director of the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (Housing LIN), another sponsor, said: “What makes these housing awards so special and distinct is that they represent the voice of the residents and tenants. It is their voices – not those of housing professionals or staff – that count. They are all winners and shining examples of the effective resident or tenant participation that the Housing LIN advocates.”

Click here for full details of the Award winners and photos of the Awards event