Independent Living in Ashford
What does it mean to live in an independent living scheme in Ashford?
The population of Ashford is growing and we are catering for the needs of our ageing population. We offer independent living – vibrant homes appropriate for the needs of those who live there. It is ‘care ready’ accommodation with the option of support for those who need it in later life.
Within the borough of Ashford the council owns and manages 10 independent living schemes. These are 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 10 schemes are covered by eight 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 independent living 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.
- Find out more about the schemes we have in Ashford
- Frequently asked questions about independent living
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). The AMC staff are then able to contact family members and/or emergency services when necessary.
This service is dedicated to our independent living 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. For example, fixing together some flat pack furniture or 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 independent living blocks of flats has the added security of having an electronic door entry system connected to the 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. We will happily promote vegetable patches and flower beds. The bungalow schemes have their own gardens.
Independent living 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. They include evening entertainment such as live music, cheese and wine nights, fish and chip suppers, bingo and coffee mornings. In some units there are even 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 independent living schemes
Ashford Borough Council have identified that some of our independent living 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. Recent cuts in our rent income will also impact on how long this will take.
All phases of Farrow Court in south Ashford are now fully complete. Danemore in Tenterden is open. East Stour Court is currently on site and Oakleigh House is also scheduled to undergo renovation.
How to apply
If you are interested in independent living and currently meet the criteria then please complete a housing application form from Kent Homechoice and return it to Ashford Borough Council.