What does it mean to live in sheltered housing in Ashford?
Sheltered housing is independent living with the option of support for those who need it.
Within Ashford the council owns and manages 12 sheltered schemes run by a team of scheme managers who offer and deliver a wide range of support services.
The support offered includes looking after your health and well-being, providing tenancy support, and information and advice regarding your tenancy. The 12 schemes are covered by 8 scheme managers, who work 8.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 4pm on Fridays. Most scheme managers work in one scheme, although two members of staff each cover two schemes (close to each other).
We have approximately 440 sheltered flats and bungalows, and 730 dwellings spread throughout the rest of the borough specifically intended for elderly or disabled tenants. Most are one or two bedroom bungalows with a small number of three beds, and these are offered to people aged 50 and over.
Many of our units have been adapted to focus on specific housing needs to make life a little easier for our tenants – this may include level access, extra hand rails, and flush floor showers.
Some schemes have regular visiting services for the benefit of our tenants such as hairdressing, book clubs and chiropody.
We also work with care managers and social services to help deliver personalised care packages where this can be accommodated within our schemes, as efficiently as possible.
Each dwelling benefits from a Telecare Alarm system. The alarm system functions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need help in an emergency and the scheme manager is not on site, alarm calls automatically go through to the Ashford Monitoring Centre (AMC) where staff are able to contact family members and/or emergency services when necessary.
This service is dedicated to the sheltered schemes and offers an improved range of repairs and maintenance work, including some ground maintenance to help sheltered tenants with some of those odd jobs around the home that you may not find so easy anymore. e.g. fixing together some flat pack furniture; putting up a shelf.
The cost of providing the support is charged through a service charge which is in addition to your rent. In most schemes we operate a communal heating and water facility which is also paid through the service charge. This is calculated every year based on the previous year’s consumption.
Safety and security
Each of the sheltered blocks of flats has the added security of having an electronic door entry system connected to the Ashford Monitoring Centre (AMC). Most of the schemes also have their own CCTV for the added safety of its residents.
Buildings and gardens
We look after the buildings internally and externally but tenants are encouraged to be actively involved in the communal gardens and we will happily promote vegetable patches and flower beds. The bungalow schemes have their own gardens.
Sheltered housing schemes tend to have very active social clubs, although tenants obviously have the choice to be involved as much or as little as they wish.
Many of the social activities are arranged by the residents and include evening entertainment such as live music, cheese and wine nights, fish and chip suppers, bingo and coffee mornings, but in some units there are games of Wii and X-Box Kinect happening!
The scheme mangers practise positive engagement and will help organise the social activities where required.
Modernising our sheltered schemes
Ashford Borough Council have identified that some of our sheltered accommodation needs to be modernised and expanded. We have developed long term plans to modernise and improve the facilities, although this will take several years, and recent cuts in our rent income will also impact on how long this will take.
Farrow Court in south Ashford is already well underway with the first phase of redevelopment completed and phase 2 (of 2) due to complete in summer 2017. Work has also started to remodel Danemore in Tenterden.
How to apply
If you are interested in sheltered housing and currently meet the criteria then please complete a housing application form from Kent Homechoice and return it to Ashford Borough Council.
For more information or if you would like to talk to someone about sheltered housing in Ashford, email the housing services team or call 01233 330688.