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Customer Annual Report 2021-22

2021-22 saw us continuing to deal with the Covid pandemic, supporting customers and maintaining service delivery despite the challenges and restrictions. 

CHS systems that were set up in response to the pandemic in 2020 continued to be used in 2021-22 to provide services safely. In July 2021 most government coronavirus restrictions were lifted. However, coronavirus cases in our county continued to be high and to have an impact, for example, repair appointments were often rearranged due to tenants having symptoms or operatives’ sickness absence. Many CHS staff continued to provide services to customers remotely, working from home and Covid put intense pressure on our care services. Although we had small outbreaks of Covid in some of our supported housing services and one of our care homes, our care staff worked extremely hard to safeguard our residents to bring the outbreaks under control. In October 2021 the government published its Heat and Buildings Strategy. CHS worked with a building consultant on assessing how much we will have to spend on our homes to make them more energy efficient and reach net zero carbon.  We have continued to replace old gas boilers with new ones because for now they are the most cost-efficient heating  system. We know global warming is a huge problem, and CHS is committed to improving the quality of our new homes and retrofitting our existing homes to make them more energy efficient.

The cost-of-living crisis began to be felt in late 2021 as real incomes fell, caused by high inflation outstripping wage and benefit increases. The removal of the Universal Credit (UC) uplift of £20 per week from October 2021 and the end of the furlough scheme increased financial pressure on many households. The impact of rising prices was felt by most households, but rising bills had the biggest impact on lower-income households because the price rises took up a greater share of disposable income. CHS is seriously concerned about the impact of high energy and food prices on our tenants. CHS as an organisation faces significant cost increases, the rate of inflation for energy and building material costs for our contractors and suppliers are far higher than the headline rate of inflation. That puts pressure on our ability to provide services to our customers.

The longer term solution is to reduce energy costs by insulating homes, contributing towards our work on zero carbon. In the meantime, we are looking at what we can do now to help tenants through what’s going to be a very difficult period for them. In 2021-22 Money Matters Advisors helped 369 CHS tenants with money, benefits and debt management as well as looking at ways to maximise their income.

The number of new homes that we developed in the year was slightly lower than planned because we are still suffering from the impact on our developers of the pandemic slowdown in the construction industry. Although Brexit also had a negative effect on the supply and cost of building materials, we successfully completed 31 affordable rented homes and 32 shared ownership homes during the year.

Despite all these challenges, we are still committed to providing housing and care services in Cambridgeshire for people on lower incomes or who may be vulnerable

Listening to our Customers

STAR results

‘STAR’ is the Survey of Tenants and Residents that is sent to every CHS household every two years and we use these results to improve our services. In 2021-22 overall satisfaction increased by 0.1% to 77.4% (6.8% of customers were dissatisfied). There were small improvements in how people felt about the rent they pay and having their say. The satisfaction measures that fell slightly were around the quality of homes, the repairs service, service charges and how easy CHS is to deal with. Complaint handing satisfaction was down by 3% and satisfaction with the neighbourhood was slightly down due to issues with parking and anti-social behaviour (ASB). Shared Owners were our least satisfied group of customers, who told us this is often about service charges.

Customer Satisfaction Measures

• Satisfaction of new tenants or shared owners with the moving in process 90%
• Satisfaction with Anti-Social Behaviour case handling 60%
• Satisfaction with last repair – Foster 90%, Gasway 86%
• Estate Services satisfaction 79%
• Formal Complaints – In 20/21 there were 18 formal complaints
(5 Property, 11 Housing management, 1 Development, 1 Supported Housing).

Learning from complaints

The Housing team handled 11 formal complaints during the year and noted the following learning:

• We need to be clear from the outset with customers who report neighbour issues about what we will or will not to be able to act on and explain the reasons why

• We could consider referring a neighbour dispute to our regular multi-agency meeting involving the local authority at an early stage to share ideas and build partnerships with those working on the case

• Suggesting someone may wish to move away from a problem/dispute can appear insensitive and make them feel pressured into moving

• We should always ensure a paint pack is issued on day one of a tenancy if the property does not meet the relet standard for
decorative condition

• We need to make sure we mention the option to contact the Complaints Panel and Housing Ombudsman at every stage of
complaints handling Our supported housing team had one formal complaint and the learning was that we could have completed the complaint more quickly.

Development had one formal complaint and the learning was they should have progressed defects more pro-actively at end of a newbuild defects period.

The Property Services team handled 5 formal complaints and noted the following learning:

• Grounds Maintenance – there were high levels of customer dissatisfaction with the delivery of grounds maintenance which is paid for directly by customers through service charges. The main areas of dissatisfaction were the quality of the service and attendance by the contractor.  CHS found a new contractor that would deliver the quality expected and be able to show they had visited to carry out the work. A group of customers were involved in this exercise to look at the proposed ways of working and how these met the required standards. A new contractor was appointed from 1 November 2021, and initial satisfaction feedback has improved. This contractor can also send reports to customers on request after each visit to show the time spent on site, and ‘before and after’ photos.

• Time taken to complete boiler repairs – boiler breakdowns are inconvenient for customers, and when parts are required, this means there is added inconvenience. Working with CHS’s contractor Gasway, the most common parts required were identified so that these could be held in vans and repairs can be completed more quickly

• No access for appointments for gas safety checks – complaints were received from customers that they had re-arranged appointments but still received a ‘no access’ card from the contractor. The process has now been changed so that the
contractor does not leave a card when a new appointment has already been agreed

• Contractors to ask for more details when customers call through repairs to avoid multiple visits. Customers are now able to send photos of the issue to Foster.

Complaints handling

The internal complaints team worked with the Customer Complaints Panel to improve satisfaction with complaints handling. This included launching a complaints handling guide for staff, delivering cross-team workshops and developing reporting.

The CHS Customer Complaints Panel

The panel dealt with 2 complaints; one was on anti-social behaviour (ASB) and the panel recommended that CHS make the tenant aware early on of all the options for resolution, including advocacy or speaking to the Housing Ombudsman. The complaint was referred to the Housing Ombudsman who found in favour of CHS for the case handling and support around moving, but they found a service failure around the complaints handling process. The second complaint the panel looked at was about repairs to a bathroom carried out by Foster. A member of the panel acted as an advocate and the complaint was upheld and the tenant received compensation.


Housing and Customer Services

CHS manages over 3000 homes for low-cost rent, and 400 shared ownership homes. We cover seven local authority areas across
Cambridgeshire, West Suffolk and north Essex, and provide a wide range of homes for families, single people and couples.

Anti-social behaviour

We increased our communication about anti-social behaviour through the newsletter and a new leaflet to increase understanding that we only give advice in neighbour disputes, unless tenancy conditions are broken. Many cases can be resolved by communication and advice before they become too serious. There were 27 cases this year down from 56 cases during the first year of the pandemic.

Domestic abuse

Everyone should feel safe at home and here at CHS we believe that you should not live in fear of violence or abuse from a partner, former partner or any other member of your household. We will support you if you are experiencing domestic abuse to help you rebuild your life, agreeing with you how you want us to support you and working in partnership with other agencies. We know every case is different so we will advise you of what options you have. We will be supportive and non-judgemental.

The Domestic Abuse Act passed into law in April 2021 which introduced a statutory definition of Domestic Abuse. It places a
greater responsibility on local authorities to house a person who is homeless as a result of being a victim of domestic abuse. During 2021-22 CHS began working towards re-accreditation with the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance, which we first achieved in 2019. This challenges us to make sure we continually offer the support needed and work with partner agencies to tackle domestic abuse.

While lockdown restrictions began easing in July 2021, people experiencing domestic abuse were still more isolated than before the pandemic. CHS opened 15 new cases this year compared to 17 the previous year.

Call Handling

Our Customer Service team continued to answer calls throughout the pandemic and beyond, adapting to the different new ways of working to make sure your requests were answered. The average time to answer was well within target.

Customer Involvement and Communication

CHS joined Tpas, the Tenant Participation Advisory Service, and completed a self-assessment against the Tpas Engagement Standards. We used this to identify areas where we wanted to strengthen our customer engagement and we worked with the Tenant Committee to agree a Customer Engagement Action Plan. This was further streamlined into a set of 11 core actions. This plan was regularly reviewed and prioritised with the Chairs of the tenant committees and panels. We continued to increase wider e-mail communication to deliver the twice yearly digital newsletter, Customer Annual report and one-off announcements.

Scrutiny Panel

The Scrutiny Panel researched the role of Housing Officers and agreed recommendations including a clearer job description, better communication and to consider using a ‘Noise App’ for anti-social behaviour cases involving noise. The project helped to confirm the need for more support for complex cases, and a restructure of the team has since been agreed. The Scrutiny Panel received training which was delivered by Tpas.

Tenant Committee By Jacquie Taylor, Chair of Tenant Committee

The Tenant Committee had a busy year and we held our meetings online due to Covid. We have a number of standing items that we update members on regularly, such as the work of the Complaints and Scrutiny panels, feedback from our Core Groups with Gasway and Fosters, and quarterly meetings with Mark Walker Grounds Maintenance, Fire Safety and our Community Investment Strategy and Social Housing Network Group. This year we were fortunate to have had presentations from Gasway, Corona House (our women only supported housing) and Mehwash Hussain, one of our housing Officers. We discussed the new Virtual Complaints team, created a new Volunteer leaflet, conducted an Effectiveness Survey and approved numerous policy updates. The Heads of Service and Chief Executive Nigel Howlett keep us appraised of what is going on around Covid, Brexit, budgets, Community Investment and Customer Engagement.

If being a member of the Tenant Committee is something you would like to be involved with, please contact Laura Papanikolaou on 07540 122624, or

Property Services

We started a new contract with Mark Walker Grounds Maintenance (MWGM) in November 2021, which led to significant improvements in tenant satisfaction in the gardening service. In the first 6 months we were happy that the new contract was working well and MWGM were very responsive to any issues we identified. Regular reports of their visits were available via the portal and these included details of the work carried out, with before and after photos. Quarterly meetings with MWGM including a CHS tenant were held in 2022.

We agreed to extend our contracts with Foster for property repairs and kitchen, bathroom and window replacements until March 2025, and we negotiated a number of service improvements from them, including improved communication and an improved digital offering. We have also increased the extent of repairs that are now included in our contract with Foster which will mean better value for money and allows Foster to carry out more repairs, without approval from us.

The overall repairs and maintenance spend was £4,372,397, and included:

• £2,003,000 for component replacements (kitchens, bathrooms, boiler etc)
• £743,301 for cyclical works (external and internal redecorations, gas servicing, electrical testing etc)
• £1,626,093 for responsive repairs, including works on empty homes between tenancies

We continued to deliver repairs and maintenance services to customers throughout lockdown and customer satisfaction with the repairs and maintenance service remained above target at 89%. The percentage of customers reporting that repairs were carried out right first time was 97% and this was measured from customer responses to telephone surveys, that were carried out once the repair is marked as complete. We are also pleased to report that Foster recycle 92% of waste materials during their responsive repairs.

Gasway Services Ltd deliver our domestic gas safety checks, heating repairs, boiler and other heating type system replacements. Their contract is in place until 31 March 2024 and we have fixed the costs of day-to-day repairs and gas safety checks until then. CHS maintained our landlord gas safety compliance above 99%. CHS agreed a contract with a new contractor (ABCA Systems Ltd) to service and maintain fire alarms and emergency lighting, from 1 April 2022 for four years.

Fire Safety

CHS appointed a specialist consultant to carry out in-depth Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) at approximately 100 sites. At the end of the year 75% had been completed, and no major issues had been identified with the structural elements of the buildings or with cladding, and no immediate risks requiring urgent action were reported.

The areas highlighted were:

a) Control of contractors on site;
b) Understanding of customer vulnerabilities and how this may affect their ability to escape in the event of fire;
c) A programme to check smoke detectors in individual flats;
d) Review of recommended evacuation procedures

The FRAs were completed at the end of May 2022. A workshop is planned with relevant staff and the consultant to agree a way
forward with the above actions. Specific actions have been identified for some sites, these are underway and completion will
be monitored as part of the on-going compliance monitoring.

Net Zero Carbon

We have used the information we have on all of our homes to work out the measures we could take to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. We have also worked out how much this could cost and when we would need to spend that money. We now need to carry out a more detailed investigation with some specialist consultants to give us more accurate information, and start to plan when this work can be carried out. Additional resources have been agreed to do this.

Community Investment

Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS)

CLAS provides information, advice, and practical support to people in times of hardship and exceptional pressure. A CLAS award can include white goods, furniture, paint, and supermarket vouchers, in times of emergencies. CLAS played a key role in relieving hardship in Cambridgeshire during the year and will continue to do so for next 3 years as a result of CHS being awarded the contract for 22-25. CLAS played an active role in the community by:

• Developing an information check list for households who are struggling
• Bringing partners together e.g. Fenland conference on poverty
• Improving take up of social water tariffs
• Testing out new solutions e.g. social supermarket
• Building relationships with other local grant making bodies

There was no disruption to the services despite the lockdowns and people in hardship were able to access the support throughout the year.

Money Matters

Our Money Matters service is free to all CHS customers. We provide advice and support with managing money, applying for benefits and filling in forms, checking to see what you are entitled to and helping you to understand the system, appealing benefit decisions, dealing with debts and helping you consider all the options available to you.

Demand for the service continued to be significantly higher than pre pandemic levels, though lower than in 2020-21. An average of 5 tenants were referred each week in 2021-22 and in total 495 people were helped in 2021-22, 369 of which were CHS tenants.

Money Matters Case Study Mrs AP.

Mrs AP is a CHS tenant living alone in a rural village. She is pension age and was in receipt of a state pension and a small private pension. She was referred into Money Matters by her Housing Officer. When she first spoke to CHS Money Matters Advisor, Sally, she said “I don’t think I am eligible for anything. I am struggling financially, and I worry about my future.”
She explained “Due to my health and medical issues I am really struggling to walk and use the stairs. Getting in and out of the bath is now impossible and I can only have a wash at the sink. I am waiting for an OT assessment. Due to my very low income, I am also struggling to pay my rent and pay for utilities and food. I am getting very anxious.”
Sally initially phoned Mrs AP and they had a lengthy conversation. Sally visited her in her home, Mrs AP explained all her health problems in detail and Sally completed an Attendance Allowance (AA) Form with her. She did a benefits calculation to see if she would be eligible for Pension Credit and confirmed that if AA was awarded then she would be eligible.
Mrs AP was awarded Attendance Allowance and notified Sally. On her second visit she applied on Mrs AP’s behalf for Pension Credit, a Blue Badge, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. Mrs AP said “I feel more positive now after meeting Sally, as I found her very helpful and friendly. Sally explained things simply and clearly and made me feel relaxed”. She continued: “I am now financially secure and do not have to worry about paying my rent, putting on my heating or buying food. I can also afford to pay the fee of £99 for a quicker OT assessment which is being offered by my local council. I also have a blue badge.”

Digital Inclusion Network

Digital connectivity is hugely important and the pandemic made us all more reliant on the internet, and knowing how to use it is an essential skill, but many people are still missing out. We helped to set up a Digital Inclusion Partnership for Cambridgeshire together with Cambridge CVS, Cambridge Online, and Cambridge Youth Panel and the partnership aims to improve digital inclusion across Cambridgeshire.  We continued to deliver services both remotely using phone and video, and face to face where restrictions allowed.

New Horizons

The New Horizons project helped 85 people in 2021-22. New Horizons helps people make sense of their money, get on-line and get closer to the job market. The project is aimed at those who are struggling to make ends meet or are facing financial changes.  Participants each receive an average of 20 hours of one to one support from a coach, who helps them to set realistic goals and take the necessary steps to meet them. Whilst the primary focus for most participants is around managing their money, participants also receive help to get on-line, and to start to look for work, or get into training or education. Those who need can also have access to debt management services.

We published our latest evaluation report from the University of Cambridge: New Horizons: Digital exclusion and the importance of getting online. The report written by Hannah Holmes and Gemma Burgess, highlights the various factors which influence individuals’ levels of digital exclusion, and shows that many of these factors are rooted in poverty and entrenched inequalities. It also indicates how New Horizons can help participants to move towards a greater level of digital inclusion, and shows that this is important for meeting aims set out by the New Horizons project, including managing finances, and finding work.

Learning during the year

We’re all hearing how living standards will fall further than ever in the coming year. Our CLAS champions tell us that they’re increasingly seeing people who are panicked, feeling desperate and hopeless at the likelihood of things getting even worse. In February we wrote to senior managers and Councillors at Cambridgeshire County Council to share our concerns about the cost-of-living crisis and the challenges that CLAS is facing in 2022-23.

CLAS has given people one off crisis support. However, if we heed the warnings that things are going to get worse for many people, we need to encourage clients to come back and seek help again if they need it. If they remain engaged, they can be supported to stay ‘afloat’. The alternative to this will result in more costly interventions in the long term.

Community Support

We participated in partnerships led by Longhurst Housing Group and Riverside Group to successfully win tenders for housing related support services:

a. in Fenland for young people
b. in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire for young people
c. in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire for adults

In addition, we successfully bid on our own to deliver housing related support services for young people in East Cambridgeshire.  These support services are funded by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Young Futures Partnership

CHS is now part of the Young Futures Partnership (YFP), working with four partners, Riverside, Orwell Housing, YMCA Trinity Group and Richmond Fellowship, to provide support and accommodation for young people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness in Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire. This new partnership will make a difference to the lives of many young people in Cambridge, drawing on our collective experience, expertise and resources to offer a consistent and quality service. The partnership will work together closely to ensure the service develops and evolves. YFP will have a ‘helicopter’ view of current provision, identify emerging gaps and trends and seek out opportunities to innovate in response.
The key service developments that are currently being worked on include:

• A new referral process; with a single point of access for referrals
• A new delivery model, consisting of a ‘Hub and Spoke’ approach;
• Community support;
• A broad range of accommodation based services.

The ‘hub and spoke’ model, has a focus on community-based accommodation and support, where young people will live in
shared housing within the community, rather than in hostel accommodation. The livelihoods of the people we support are of
paramount importance to us and, through this new scheme, we believe they will be given greater opportunities to make lasting
improvements, live independently and feel part of their community.

Cambridge City Council

The Young Parent Project and Corona House have been granted funding through the Cambridge City Council Homelessness
Prevention Fund and Community Fund to support our work with young parents and homeless women. CHS provides housing and support for 8 young parents and their babies at the Young Parent Project and for 6 homeless women at Corona House as well as 30 women in the wider community.

CHS wins Hopkins Homes Cambridgeshire Charity vote

CHS won the Hopkins Homes Cambridgeshire charity vote receiving the top donation of £7,000. Andrew Church, Head of Community Investment and Support at Cambridge Housing Society, said: “We are delighted to have won the public vote and feel very moved to have received so many votes from the people of Cambridgeshire. All the other charities do great work locally too, so to have finished top means so much. At Cambridge Housing Society, we believe it takes a village to raise a child so the £7,000 received through the vote will be spent on building a mentoring programme for young people at risk of homelessness.”

Surviving Winter Appeal

CHS tenants benefited from the Surviving Winter Appeal, coordinated by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, thanks to the generous support of individual donors who donate their winter fuel allowance. We helped redistribute the donations to households facing fuel poverty and the cost-of-living crisis.

Cooking course grant

Railway House provides accommodation and support for young people aged 16-25 who would otherwise be homeless. Cambridgeshire Community Foundation awarded our Railway House service a £1588 grant to run a 6-week cooking course for residents.

Fullscope Mental Health support

Railway House is also working in partnership with Romsey Mill, Arts & Minds and the YMCA, with funding from Fullscope, providing creative and sporting activities to support young people with mental health needs. Weekly sessions of football, music, cooking, boxing or art are available as well as a drop- in Creative Café.

Evelyn Trust

Corona House have received funding from the Evelyn Trust to provide support to women in Cambridge with homelessness and
mental health challenges to enable them to get on in life and thrive. Through this funding we have been able to deliver group activities, peer support and one to one sessions including creative sessions, leisure/sport, social activities, and opportunities for women to engage with local facilities and services.

We have also been able to organise and coordinate an allotment project, which has helped women to develop their confidence and skills in growing vegetables, as well as building friendships and supportive relationships.

Social Value

CHS has a strong record of investment in the local community, and we use the HACT Social Value calculator to assess the social value generated by some of the activities and our Community Support Services teams generated a social impact of over £1.5m in 2021-22.

Sunflower Nurseries

In September 2022 our two Sunflower Nurseries in Cambridge and Cambourne were sold to Kindred Education (Cambridgeshire) Ltd. Kindred Nurseries continue to run both nurseries as they are, providing the same excellent level of nursery care with the same staff. We sold the nurseries when they were performing financially well and we were able to choose the best provider to protect the spirit of our nurseries and to look after the children and staff. The decision to sell the nurseries was made to reduce the risk to CHS of having so many business streams. No longer running two nurseries will allow us more time to focus on the needs of our customers in our core business, to improve the services we can offer to them and to tackle wider challenges.

Case study: the Corona Community

B has an enduring struggle with her mental health – she hears voices and has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. She lived at Corona House for 2 years and following that she moved into another supported housing service, where she remained for 3 years before recently moving into her own independent permanent accommodation.

Corona House has provided support to B throughout this journey. Whilst at the house, staff supported her via regular key working sessions, regular liaison and joint working with her Mental Health Team and her mother who was involved with her support. Staff at Corona House worked with her to help her with strategies to manage her voices. She used to see staff daily in the office for reassurance and she would come to the drop-in sessions for short periods of time.

Staff at Corona House supported B for the first year following her move-on in a one-to-one capacity. During that time B’s mother died and this had a significant impact on her. She attempted suicide twice. She also found lockdown extremely hard. However, with support and encouragement, B has recently been able to move into her independent flat.

B continues to access the activities at Corona House, she attends the allotment, creative groups and she loves the swimming, and seaside trips. Through these she has been able to form a friendship with another woman in the Corona Community who has similar mental health experiences to her.

B said “I talk to the staff at Corona House every day and now I am really pleased because I have moved closer to Corona House! When the voices tell me unpleasant things, I call the staff to check that they aren’t real, and they are always very reassuring. I love the activities and seeing the other women. I like food and animal related activities and going to the allotment. I have felt calmer since we started going there because it is very peaceful.”

Older People’s Services

Housing With Care – independent living with 24hr on-site care and support

Also sometimes called Extra Care, Housing With Care is designed to provide independence and choice to older adults with varying levels of care and support, enabling them to rent a self-contained flat designed to meet their needs. Tenants of CHS also have the security of knowing that our highly trained and caring staff are available for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via a community alarm system.

CHS has 121 flats across 3 sites in Extra Care. Dunstan Court and Richard Newcombe Court are located in Cambridge and Moorlands Court is located in the village of Melbourn, South Cambridgeshire. Our CHS Homecare service which provides the care in these schemes retained it’s Good rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Residential Care Homes

CHS has two residential care homes in Cambridge offering 24 hour personal care and support for residents who are frail, elderly and may be living with dementia. We deliver a high standard of care, companionship and support to the tenants, whilst respecting the rights and dignity of the individual and promoting independent living skills. Our priority is maintaining a safe and good quality service and in a recent survey 88% of customers would recommend our homes, giving us a score of 8 or above out of 10.

Alex Wood House was last inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on 12 February 2021 and Langdon House was last inspected by the CQC on 12 March 2021, both homes retained an overall rating of Good (Langdon House Outstanding in Caring).

Langdon House also achieved a very good result from the County Council inspection and retained the 5-star rating for the kitchen from Environmental Health. The staff at both our homes have worked incredibly hard this year with the ongoing challenge of Covid 19. The testing and infection control regime required in the care homes was successfully maintained throughout the year with our staff continuing to use masks and PPE, whilst ensuring continued social distancing, ventilation, hand washing, vaccinations and testing. There were some staffing challenges in our care homes due to sickness and made worse by the continuing difficulty in recruiting and retaining care staff, as a result of Brexit, the pressures of working during the pandemic and the high cost of living in Cambridge.

Case Study: Living in Extra Care

“I have cerebral palsy and I have managed to live independently for most of my life. About four years ago I was living in George Pateman Court, and I could just about manage with someone coming in to help twice week and living off frozen meals but even so, it was tiring me out. I knew I needed to think about what was the right next move for me. By coincidence, I was invited to join the CHS tenant committee, and at my first meeting I heard about Extra Care and decided it was worth exploring. I got a care assessment from Social Services and I went and looked round both Richard Newcombe Court and Dustan Court.
I moved into Richard Newcombe Court in January 2019. I was quite nervous about what it was going to be like, but within a few days I felt at home. I was now getting the help that I really needed with my personal care. I was getting a proper wash, particularly for my lower legs, feet and back, which had been just getting water run over them for a long time. My hair suddenly felt cleaner too. I was able to wear the clothes I wanted to wear, rather than what I could manage to get on. I was getting a fresh-cooked meal every day, with a much wider variety than I was used to, as the menu is only repeated after five weeks. Also, I tried and found I liked a lot more things. When it came to my evening meal, I could buy more of a variety as I had someone to come and prepare it. The assistance is reliable and always friendly, and I don’t have to worry if it’s going to turn up. If I get into trouble between times, I can buzz and ask for help. I am much less isolated now. It was almost like having a new family.
Lunch each day was a great chance to meet with other people as we had it in the restaurant. I found it a friendly community right from the start and felt welcomed by both the staff and residents. I made plenty of friends quickly but was equally free to keep up my existing friendships. There were a number of activities available; I particularly enjoyed playing scrabble, attending Communion services and the read aloud group”.

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