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13th April 2016
By Bernie Martin, Scheme Co-ordinator, Cedar Court Independent Living
I’m a scheme co-ordinator at Cedar Court in Whiteabbey - one of Clanmil’s 34 independent living schemes throughout Northern Ireland. You may know this type of accommodation better as “sheltered housing” but here at Clanmil, our tenants have a different sense of where they live. They aren’t, and don’t want to be, “sheltered” – hidden away and shielded from the world. They are, and want to continue to be, independent, active and connected to the communities in which they live. It’s my job to support and encourage the people who live at Cedar Court to be just that.
You see, what we provide at our independent living schemes is not just housing, it’s a lifestyle. And no matter why they made the decision to move to one of our schemes – an easier to manage property, good company or ailing health – our independent living schemes are about supporting our tenants to continue to live life to the full.
Every tenant is different and some will need more support than others to continue to live independently and to get the most from life. Each tenant’s individual support plan reflects that, taking account of their social, physical, emotional and health needs, and through my daily contact with each and every tenant I ensure that they are receiving the care, support and access to services that they need, unique to that person.
A major part of my job is ensuring that my tenants feel part of their community, both within the scheme and in a wider sense, within our neighbourhood. Regular activities in our communal lounge range from exercise and craft classes, IT courses opening up a whole new digital world and intergenerational projects with pupils from local schools. There’s always someone around with time for a coffee and a chat, not forgetting party nights when the dancing has been known to go on well into the wee small hours. We get out and about too. Shopping trips, meals out and regular museum trips through Clanmil’s Big Lottery funded Treasure House project help my tenants stay connected.
Through these activities our tenants really get to know each other, build strong friendships and good support networks. There are many benefits to social inclusion as we grow older supported by all sorts of research, but from my perspective when someone’s a bit under the weather, it’s really heartening to see other tenants rally round with home cooked meals, visits and good old fashioned neighbourliness.
No matter what age we are we all want to feel settled, safe and included and that’s exactly how I want my tenants at Cedar Court to feel every day. And most of all, independent. But with me, their neighbours, Clanmil and all of our partner organisations here, ready and willing to offer company when they want it and support when they need it.
Clanmil Housing has scooped two top prizes and a Highly Commended at the annual Housing Aw
Clanmil Housing Association held a Heat Your Home for Less information event this week as
An NI-wide community cinema initiative is stepping into Christmas with a range of movie sc