North Devon Homes recognises positive impact of supported housing

North Devon Gazette

With Covid restrictions still preventing many face to face activities, people living in supported accommodation were recognised on Friday, September 3, with a special day from the National Housing Federation.Â

Starts at Home Day celebrated the huge impact that sheltered housing has upon residents' lives. Â

North Devon Homes (NDH) is a provider of assisted living schemes which according to Fay Duerden, Independent Living Support Officer for NDH, still comes as a surprise to some: “People aren't fully aware of what we do but I think our Independent Living Service has been such a benefit for people especially if they've moved into the area and they're unfamiliar, just to have that connection to put them in touch with relevant services.Â

“If someone has poor health then by getting an occupational therapist involved, nurses etc we're able to integrate all the different support services for people to help them to remain safely in their homes.”Â

The pandemic has been a difficult time as many of the activities that North Devon Homes regularly puts on for residents and the community had to be stopped temporarily.Â

The sessions not only provide an activity but importantly they help people remain connected with friends and help to reduce social isolation.Â

During the pandemic many sessions moved online with technological help given to residents who need it.Â

With restrictions easing small gatherings and events are starting to be organised with safety measures in place to ensure this vital lifeline for many continues.Â

Starts at Home Day helped to raise awareness that the lives of residents can be greatly improved by focussing this support at the home of the resident itself. Sandra Brown said: “Independent living is being able to live in your own home but know there is somebody there who can help you with any issues that you might have and sometimes it's just as simple as somebody has a letter and they just don't understand or it could be as big as someone moving here and sorting out all their benefits, all they're entitled to and hopefully making their lives just a bit more fulfilled.”Â

Sandra added: “We've had people who've come from private houses and they're very worried about giving up their independence that's not what we're about. We're just here to enable people to live an independent life and they can come and go as they like, we're here to help them with any financial difficulties, if they've been financially abused, physically abused, we're here to help without encroaching on their lives. We're just here when they need us."Â

North Devon Homes runs independent living schemes in Barnstaple, Braunton, Ilfracombe and in South Molton where Sellick Court was opened in 2019.Â

Residents have communal areas that they can use and an Independent Living Support Officer who visits the site and supports the customers.Â

In Barnstaple one of the most popular events was the Friday Breakfast Club where residents and the community could come along for a cooked breakfast but as Fay Duerden knows it meant more than simply having some bacon and eggs: "It's not just breakfast, you know if someone is having a bad day just to have that inclusion with everyone can make them feel so much better. It's everything. You never know what's going to happen at breakfast and we all have a nice time."Â