Sheltered housing welcome guide

Sheltered Housing

We understand that when it comes to housing and support everyone has different needs. That’s why we tailor our services to meet your needs and design them to help you keep your independence through choice, involvement and control.

We believe that sheltered housing helps to remove any fears of isolation and loneliness that many people experience as they become older.

Each scheme is made up of bungalows or flats which have their own front door. A Sheltered Estate Officer is on duty from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday to manage the schemes and to provide sign posting for extra support residents may need.

Most schemes have a communal lounge and kitchen where we encourage residents to meet and socialize with each other. Some also have a garden or patio area for you to enjoy, as well as laundry facilities.

The right home environment is important for everyone’s general health and wellbeing. The Care Act 2014 says local authorities must promote wellbeing and suitable accommodation is a key part of that. Our care, support and housing services will work with other local housing and health care providers and do everything within its power to provide suitable accommodation, particularly for older and vulnerable residents.

Rent and Service Charges

The weekly amount you pay for your bungalow/flat is made up of a number of different charges:

Rent - this covers the cost of your bungalow/flat

Service charges - this covers the cost of the shared services in your scheme (for example staffing costs, lifts, door-entry systems, shared lighting, heating, communal facilities which includes laundry and grounds maintenance).

Monitoring Centre - this covers the cost of operating the 24 hour alarm service response in the communal building.

Find out more about ways to pay your rent and other support available.

Safety and Security

Key Safes

All of our sheltered housing properties have key safes in place. front door

The key safes are to store your front door key in. We will only use the key safe to access your bungalow / flat in an emergency or when you have clearly agreed this.  Some examples of when we may use the key safe include:

  • If you have used your alarm to ask for help but you cannot get to the door to let the Emergency services in
  • If you have used your alarm but the monitoring centre cannot get a reply
  • If you don’t respond to any of the statutory services who have visited your home and/ or your neighbour's haven’t seen you
  • If you are away and we need to get into your flat to carry out an emergency repair for example if there was a flood or a gas leak.

Door chains

If you have a door chain, please only use this when answering the door. A chain at other times may delay access in an emergency. If you add a chain or a new lock to your front door and the door is damaged when getting access during an emergency, you may have to pay for the repair.

Your security

If you are concerned about your security, please speak to your Sheltered Estate Officer. Please keep your front door locked at all times (but not with a chain) and do not feel that you need to leave the door open for the Sheltered Estate Officer as they will use your key from the key safe on the wall outside your front door; please don’t put yourself at risk.

Please remember to take your key out of the door once you have locked it, as leaving the key in the door will restrict access in an emergency.

Personal Information

It is very important that we have up to date contact details of your next of kin, which we will use in case of an emergency or if you need us to contact them. Please make sure you tell your Sheltered Estate Officer if any of these details change.

Your Sheltered Estate Officer may keep other records about your tenancy, for example copies of benefit forms or important medical information.

Shared Facilities

Many of our schemes have facilities that are available for all sheltered housing residents to use.  Most of our schemes have a communal building. The lounge is for residents to use but people who live in the surrounding area can join in any activities if they have been invited.  The lounge is used for regular activities such as coffee mornings or bingo, as well as a place for you to meet other residents. older people playing chess

In some schemes you may be able to use the lounge for a private party. Please speak to the Sheltered Estate Officer if you would like to arrange this. They will let you know whether the lounge is available.

We do hire out communal buildings for outside users; there is a communal booking hire guidelines booklet on all schemes.  The revenue that is taken from a hire charge is paid into the Council and will then be offset against your service charges.

Guest Rooms

We have three schemes that offer a guest room, which you are welcome to book in advance through your Sheltered Estate Officer.

There are twin guest rooms located at the following villages:

  • Stapleford
  • Great Shelford
  • Whittlesford

You will need to supply your guest with towels and please ensure all items that are either yours or your guest’s are removed from the guest room at the end of their stay.

We will give priority to people who need to stay to look after residents who are ill.

Your Sheltered Estate Officer

Your Sheltered Estate Officer is usually on duty from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays). An staff member talking to a couple over tea.

They will make sure that you have access to services and facilities that help you to maintain your independence. They are on hand to give you advice and information about the care you receive and help you to get as much support as you need.

They are responsible for your scheme and will also be responsible for:

  • Housing management; such as changes to tenancies, management of nuisance or breaches of tenancy.
  • Managing the cleaner for communal areas
  • Carrying out property viewings and tenancy sign ups with prospective new tenants
  • Estate inspections (including ensuring communal repairs are carried out)
  • Reporting and following up on any repairs needed in your home (if you are unable to do this or if you encounter any delays)
  • Test your Lifeline alarm monthly, or if you have elected not to have a Lifeline they will call three monthly to test your smoke alarm. You can elect to self test, however it is preferred if this is done by a member of staff
  • If you self-test your smoke alarm or Lifeline, your estate officer will visit you every six months to ensure the details we have for you are up to date, such as phone numbers, next of kin information etc.
  • Working closely with the visiting support team, who support residents with more complex needs.
  • If you are ill and unable to contact your doctor they will do it on your behalf (and your family if they have your permission to do so) and will help to make the best arrangements for your care.
  • They will help you to contact Social Services, health services and other organisations that can help you. If you want to talk, they are there to listen. They will always respect your privacy and your right to confidentiality.
  • If you need your home to be adapted, your Sheltered Estate Officer can help by contacting Social Services.
  • They will give you advice about the 24-hour helpline and other telecare services
  • Tenancy advice and information on things such as your rent account, tenancy matters and moving home.

Each Sheltered Estate Officer is responsible for around four sheltered schemes, which unfortunately means that it is not possible for them to be at your scheme all day, every day. However, they will be on site at your scheme at an allocated time, details of which are listed on each scheme notice board.

What Sheltered Estate officers aren't able to help you with

Although your Sheltered Estate Officer will do a lot of things for you, there are some things they unfortunately cannot do.

Sheltered Estate Officers are not nurses, so they are not allowed to change dressings or give you any kind of medication. Instead they can make arrangements with your doctor or the health authority; for example arranging for the district nurse to visit you regularly. 

Cooking and shopping are also not part of your Sheltered Estate Officer’s normal duties. However, if you urgently need a prescription or cannot do your own shopping for a short while because you are ill, they will try to arrange for someone to give you the help you need, whether this is a neighbour, family member or the home care service.

Sheltered Estate Officers don’t handle your money or deal with your finances. They are able to support you with minor financial advice and can sign post you to specialist financial services should you need it.

We offer a visiting support service to our residents, residents must be 65 years of age or older to be eligible for this service.  This is a short-term support service providing confidential, emotional, financial and practical support and promoting independent living in the community

Lifeline Alarm 

We provide an around the clock helpline alarm call service for all sheltered residents that have opted to have a Lifeline fitted in their home. When the alarm is set off, a call will be made to the monitoring centre.  Find out more and how to apply.

Cleaning of communal rooms

A cleaner is employed at every sheltered scheme to keep the communal areas clean.woman vacuuming

Your cleaner will:

  • Clean communal toilets and replace items.
  • Clean the communal kitchen.
  • Empty all bins and replace bin liners
  • Clean communal lounge (tables, floors)
  • Clean all communal areas (corridors, and entrances)
  • Clean guest room and facilities
  • Clean the lift compartment if you have one at your scheme.
  • Clean laundry room.

Your cleaner will also report:

  • Health and safety issues
  • Communal repairs
  • Lighting defects

Notice Boards

You are welcome to use the notice boards that are designated for residents, although we would like to approve notices first. This is just to ensure that notices are valid and would not cause offence or any misunderstanding.

Please contact your Sheltered Estate Officer if you’d like to put something onto the notice board.

Social Activities

There are regular residents forums to discuss any issues that you may have about the scheme and we encourage you to come and take part.

You can also suggest social activities that may interest the group.

We can help you to arrange social activities and cater for a wide range of interests. Some events and trips are run jointly with our other sheltered housing schemes.

If you have any ideas or want to help with any activities please speak to your Sheltered Estate Officer.

Our Sheltered Estate Officers book the communal lounge for an event and the staff will update the scheme calendar in order to avoid double booking.

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