Caretakers join forces in Aldershot
The Sentinel Caretakers have joined forces to blitz the Dukes Park area in Aldershot. Collecting rubble and rubbish, clearing leaves and a build up of sludge on the road, the Caretakers worked tirelessly for the whole day to leave Dukes Park sparkling.
Dukes Park was chosen for the day of action because the regular caretaker for the area was coming across a large amount of fly-tipping and was spending all his time allowed for the site removing rubbish. He highlighted that if he had some help that the area could be improved with a bit of extra effort. Residents had said that had been trying to improve the situation by litter picking but had asked us if we could do a bit more to help.
Caretaker, Sid Bradley, said it had been a really effective day, “quite a few residents came out to say thank you to us. It was an area that really needed some extra help and so it’s great to really make a difference.”
Facilities Co-ordinator, Sam Paul, explained how the Caretakers role has changed significantly over the last year, “They aim to visit every block of flats on a monthly basis. They do a wide range of jobs including: checking the Estates; clearing rubbish; checking play parks; making sure bins are collected and the bin areas are clear; putting up signage; undertaking small repairs and any number of other duties that arise.”
Business as usual at the Fleet office
We’d like to reassure our customers that we still have and will continue to have, a Sentinel office in Fleet and are currently looking for alternative premises within the town.
The announcement follows the publication of an article in the Fleet News and Mail on 3 August implying that we are pulling out of the town.
Sentinel Chief Executive Martin Nurse said: “The offices in Church Road are much bigger than we need and no longer suitable for our requirements. We are looking for a suitable alternative within the town and are disappointed that our customers have been mislead. The planning application gives us an alternative option should we continue to be unable to attract suitable commercial tenants.
"We pride ourselves on giving our customers excellent customer service and are very disappointed to find our organisation portrayed in such a negative light.
"We will let our customers know once suitable premises are found and will keep them and local residents informed about any future plans for the offices in Church Road.”
Winning party delights Winstreet residents
As the clouds dispersed and the sun came out, guests of Sentinel and residents of our new £9.5million development in Chawton Park Road in Alton joined us to celebrate the official opening of this 54-home estate on 4 July. The break in the weather was timed exactly right, as we had planned our celebration to be held on site in the open air, followed by a street party with entertainment for children of all ages.
Ceremonies opened at 3pm with a welcome by Sentinel chief executive Martin Nurse and a short speech from Councillor Pat Seward of East Hampshire District Council, in which she spoke of the urgent need for affordable housing in Alton and congratulated Sentinel for its contribution to meeting this need.
Our development partners Willmott Dixon joined us for a special ribbon-cutting photo shoot and deputy managing director David Issott said that the success of this project heralded a new alliance between Sentinel and Willmott Dixon. Several guests then went on an informative tour of the site, visiting a flat which had been specially adapted for disabled use and a three-bedroom family home.
Official ceremonies merged seamlessly with the street party, which started with music and dance routines demonstrated by tutors from Alton’s Bell House Dance Studio. They were joined by several other local organisations such as Alton College, Alton Community Centre and Alton Buckle children’s support group – all of which are keen to extend their services to this new community.
For the youngsters we had a very popular bouncy castle, two brilliant face-painters who were much in demand, a treasure hunt and colouring competition. A delicious hog roast was provided by Greenfield of Andover and everyone raved about the quality of the food. Throughout the day our photographer Jason Allen expertly captured the smiles, sights and colours through the lens of his camera.
Eventually rain stopped play, but not until everyone had had the chance to enjoy themselves, meet their new neighbours and get together as a community. As one resident told us: “Sentinel is the only organisation I’ve ever come across that makes the effort to run celebrations like this – it’s wonderful.”
Official opening for Campbell Place
Campbell Place residents got together with staff and local dignitaries on Thursday 26 April to celebrate the official opening of their new homes. We developed the scheme in partnership with Hampshire County Council, handed over the first keys to the state of the art apartments last autumn and one of the earliest residents to move in was Judy Pearson, you can read Judy's story further down this page.
Created with flickrSLiDR.
The £12m development offers 74 spacious apartments – most of them two-bedroom with lounge, kitchen and bathroom. There are plenty of communal areas so that residents can socialise, eat together or take part in organised activities. Facilities include; a restaurant, arts and crafts room, lounge, library and computer suite, hair salon, therapy room, and attractive sensory gardens. Here residents can make the most of their green fingers or take a leisurely walk around the landscaped grounds.
Our Chief Executive, Martin Nurse said: “Campbell Place is the first of our new Extra Care projects that takes facilities for older people to a totally new level. We have combined great homes to live in, with excellent facilities as well as optional support and care 24 hours a day seven days a week. Campbell Place is where older people can really enjoy living and get the support they need to stay independent for longer. We see people as individuals and want to ensure that all residents are safe and well looked after according to their specific care needs. I am delighted to say we have a very happy newly-established community here and we hope it will become a focal point for the wider area too.”
Hampshire County Council Leader, Councillor Ken Thornber, officially opened the new development and said: “Campbell Place is a fantastic state of the art facility where our service users can now choose to live. It not only helps them remain as independent as possible but enables couples with different care needs to remain together.
“The Council has seen a trend towards people wanting more choice and control over their care and we are working with organisations such as Sentinel Housing Association to meet this demand by providing outstanding new services such as Campbell Place.”
Over the next year we will continue with ambitious plans to modernise homes and services for older people, including the redevelopment or refurbishment of it’s remaining out-dated sheltered housing schemes within Hart.
New van helping more local people
The Lions Community Store in Fleet is now able to help more local people thanks to contributions from us for a brand new van.
The local charity, run entirely by volunteers, collects unwanted furniture, white goods, bedding and other household items to deliver to those in most need. Recipients of goods are referred by support workers. Last year volunteers distributed just under 10,000 household essentials across the area.
Store Manager, Beverley Allardice MBE, explained, “Our van crews are again and again horrified by the distressing, deprived and often insanitary conditions in which some of the families we help are existing. In many cases they have found themselves in poverty through no fault of their own but as a result of unexpected unemployment, accident, illness or domestic violence.”
Find out more about the work that the Lions Community Store do at www.communitystore.org.uk.
Settling in to Campbell Place
Judy is one of the first residents settling into Campbell Place, a brand new extra care scheme in Fleet.
The sun is shining on Judy’s new two bedroom flat which faces a blossoming garden courtyard and communal conservatory. Judy explains that 10 days ago she had moved from a three bedroom house in Meadow Walk where she had lived for 35 years.
“It was great because all the schools were in close walking distance and it was a nice house. My old house was lovely but it was a family house and there needed to be a family living there.
"Moving here has really helped me to be more independent, I only have to go up the hill to get into town. The apartment itself is all new and very modern. I’ve never lived in such a place.
"There are so many places to go and sit and it has everything you could possibly want. I can’t
think of anything else that they could have put in that would make it any better.”
Campbell Place also offers residents access to 24 hour, flexible care and support designed to suit individual needs. “Ali and Michelle* are lovely and always so helpful. And it’s nice to know that there are carers on hand, it gives me a feeling of security.”
Although Judy’s family have now grown up her three daughters and six grandchildren still live locally, “My apartment faces on to a path and every day my grandchildren go past on their way to school and wait for a wave from me.”
As Judy had previously lived locally to Campbell Place she had been past the site regularly and seen adverts about the new scheme, “Because I had walked past before, I could see the sunny spot that I really wanted and I was able to choose where I wanted to live. When I applied I didn’t think I had a chance but it all came together. Because I was coming from a three bedroom house I was given priority.”
You can find out more about Campbell Place at www.sentinelha.org.uk/campbellplace
*Allison Flaherty is Scheme Manager and Michelle Rayner is the Liaison Officer for Campbell Place.
Resident's seal of approval on new homes
Members of Sentinel's resident design panel visited the Notcutts Nursey site at Bagshot recently to inspect completed houses and flats. The site will provide a total of 91 houses and flats for rent and shared ownership in Surrey Heath. So far over 40 homes have been occupied, providing much needed housing in the area.
The site has been developed by Charles Church to a high quality. Members of the panel were very impressed with the properties and facilities on the site. Kathy Hine commented, “These are lovely homes of a high quality. There are good facilities for families including a play area and lots of open space nearby”.
Wickham Court gets web-wise
Residents of our Wickham Court sheltered scheme in Fleet recently proved that older dogs can learn new skills by getting online with the help of students from nearby Court Moor school. Computer savvy students ran training sessions for scheme residents which proved so popular that 70% of them would like to carry on. The project was also shortlisted for a prestigious housing award.
More information about learning computer skills and information about courses and events can be found on the Computer skills for life website.
Spreading Hamper Happiness
The Hen House Group, at Heathlands Court, have been working hard in this cold weather to raise money and bring hampers to community members.
This year they have endevoured to raise money not just for resources for the group, but more importantly to support fellow community members.
Earlier this year the Hen House team raised £180 at district events like Fleet fireworks night supplying hot drinks to staff, volunteers and the public. More recently they braved the cold to hold two stalls at Fleet winter festivities. The stalls, a bottle tombola and a homemade craft stall, raised an amazing £280.
This year the group decided the they would like to use the money to support some individuals and families in the community by supplying a little Christmas cheer in the way of goodie hampers and children's gifts. The group asked key members of the community for confidential nominations and were able to put together custom hampers for them.
The Hen House, consisting of past and present residents, ran for five years. They got together every Wednesday over a coffee and cake to learn new skills, support their peers and promote community spirit. The group's mantra was 'Help us, to help ourselves and our community'
Residents share Christmas crafts
Heathlands Court residents have been working hard to create a selection of Christmas craft kits for children to take home from this year's Fleet Festivities on 24 November, 4-9pm. The crafts include Santa stockings, hand puppets, Christmas hats plus a host of other craft ideas.
The Fleet Festivities celebrate the start of Christmas by staging a huge community street party. Fleet will be buzzing with attractions and activities to suit all ages and the main stage at the end of the High Street will showcase local talent plus a community sing along.
Parking in all the main car parks is free from 4pm onwards but please note that Fleet Road will be closed from the Oatsheaf Pub through to the junction with Church Road from 12 noon until 11pm.
Hart youngsters get a hosing down
Young people in the Hart area flocked to our Get With summer activity programme over the summer holidays.
Local partners including Hampshire police, the fire service and Hart community wardens gave up their time to support the scheme and treat local youngsters and teens to some summer fun. On Thursday 29 July the fire service were at The Base Youth Centre in Ravenscroft, Hook. Kids got a hands on feel for the job, handled the hoses and tested their skills in a water assault course.
Our Neighbourhood Manager, Melissa Chapman said: “Young people are often misunderstood, giving them a chance to spend time with positive role models from the police and fire service is a great way to build better relationships and helps to cut down on youth crime.”
Cheryl Edwards, Manager of Hart Neighbourhood Centre added: "In this economic climate it is great to be able to give kids the opportunity to do things they might not normally be able to do."
‘Get With’ was set up in 2005 by Sentinel, and is now run in partnership with Hart Neighbourhood Centre in the Hart area. See www.getwith.co.uk to find out more.
And the winner is...
Residents of Heathlands Court in Yateley rallied round again this year to raise money at their local May Day Fayre.
The Hen House group had loads of donations from local businesses and friends of Heathlands Court for their tombola.
Top prize was a £100 Argos gift card donated by Sentinel and overall they managed to raise £690.00. The money will go towards projects and activities for residents of Heathlands Court as well as the wider community.
A clean sweep
Sentinel caretaker Bob Grover covers around 80 square miles from Fleet to Camberley and Farnham to Guildford. As a man of many talents, you may see him repairing communal doors, changing light bulbs or making sure shared open spaces are kept clean, tidy and safe. We’ve got around 178 apartment blocks and Bob checks them all out, “some blocks need more attention than others,” says Bob, “so I tend to visit them more regularly.
Of course if someone spots a problem in their communal area, they can let the me know by phoning in and I’ll come and check it out.” To contact Bob, phone 0800 555 5515 from a landline or 0300 666 5515 from your mobile or use the contact us form.
At Heathlands Court in Yateley, the children’s Christmas party was a big hit with our younger residents. The children danced the night away to party games and a disco put on by children's entertainer Sarah Groombridge. We had home made food and a surprise visit from Santa who brought gifts donated by The Yateley & District Lions. Thank you to everyone who supported this event.
New apartments in Aldershot
Residents are settling into our latest new homes in Aldershot. Printing House Court in Crimea Road is built on the site of an old printworks close to the town centre, transforming this ex-industrial space into an apartment complex with 73 homes to rent and part-buy part-rent.
Use your voice
Young people living in the Hart district now have a chance to influence local services. The “Voice” group was set up in partnership with Hart District Council and the Hart Neighbourhood Centre.
Keeping your neighbourhoods safe
Hampshire police secured a Crack House Closure in January following complaints from residents about disturbances and nuisance from a bungalow in Odiham. We’re supporting the police action and served a notice to regain possession of the property after the police found evidence of class A drug use.
Cheap as chips
If you live in the Hart District you can get your dog microchipped for just £15 (£10 if you’re on benefits) and only £10 for second or third dogs (£5 if you’re on benefits). For more detail phone the Dog Warden Service on 01252 774594.
Fleet first for over 60's
We’ve now demolished the outdated bungalows in Campbell Close, Fleet, to pave the way for a new £12m Extra-Care apartment complex for over 60s who need access to round-the-clock help and support. Extra Care is a new concept for older people who need a bit of help around the house, but want to remain as independent as possible.
Sheila's hit the write note
Hartley Wintney resident Sheila Standing was over the moon when she won a £350 laptop computer in a prize draw from our recent Residents’ Week.
Sheila has been writing poems for her church magazine for years on an old typewriter, which was on its last legs when her name came out of the hat for the main prize.
“I’ve never won anything before”, the Walpole Gardens resident says. “My children have been on at me to get a computer, and I was thinking about it when I got the call. It’s fantastic.”
Sheila – who has 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren – attended our tea dance event at Church Crookham on 10 September, and was automatically entered into the draw for filling in a form to tell us what she thought we should do more or less of.
Fun in the sun
Families on the newly refurbished Dukes Park estate, in Aldershot, made the most of the summer sun. We teamed up with the Ministry of Defence to organise a community barbeque, so residents could mingle with each other and staff, over a delicious BBQ and irresistible chocolate éclairs provided by Army chefs. “This type of event really helps to break the ice and gives neighbours a chance to get to know each other better”, says Neighbourhood Manager Alison Bone, “it also gives us a chance to meet residents and offer our support to set up a residents association.”
If you’re interested in setting up a residents association in your area give Richard Pilbeam a call on 0800 195 5515 free from a landline or 0300 666 5515 from your mobile.
Tears over Farnborough
There were tears of joy as residents moved into our new Amber Gardens development in Victoria Road, Farnborough. Many of the new residents were overcome by the quality of the 16 rented homes and 7 part-buy part-rent homes, and both us and our partner Cove Construction have received fantastic compliments about the £6m project.