Scheme offers fun with friends and peace of mind
Retired nurse Sue Bowler says moving to an Independent Living scheme managed by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) was one of the best things she’s ever done. This year’s winner of the SARH Good Neighbour Award, moved into a two bedroomed apartment at Lotus Court in Stone with her husband, Paul, around seven years ago and has not looked back. “Paul worked as a caretaker at a special school in Uttoxeter and as he approached retirement we had to move out of the house that came with his job,” explained 66-year-old Sue. “Private rental accommodation was very expensive so when this apartment became available we thought we would give it a try, although some of our friends were a bit surprised as they thought we would have to be much older to qualify! “When we moved in we were amongst the youngest here in Stone, but you only have to be over 55. We’ve since made a lot of friends of different ages and from a wide range of backgrounds. “In fact it’s the sense of community that makes it so special, everyone is very friendly and sociable. But, at the same time you don’t have to get involved with any activities here if you don’t want to, you really do have your own space and privacy. Whilst Sue and Paul are originally from the Potteries, Sue worked at Stafford Hospital for many years, and always liked Stone and the surrounding area. “It’s a great place to live and Lotus Court is very convenient for the town centre and I love being able to sit by the window and watch the world go by,” Sue continued. “At the same time, SARH has been a fantastic landlord. If there’s a problem you can count on a swift response, something that’s not always the case in the private sector. “We also have the benefit of knowing that, as we do get older, we can count on the You First Telecare service, which can be contacted any time of the day or night in the case of an emergency.” According to Sue, as well as offering the couple additional peace of mind, the benefits of the Independent Living Scheme has meant less worry for their two grown-up daughters. “Instead of worrying whether we are alright, they know we’re not on our own and can get on with their lives, as can we!” she added. Not only is Sue making the most of her retirement, she’s also helping her neighbours to enjoy themselves by helping to arrange meals out a local pubs and even trips to the seaside. Her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed and she was recently presented with the annual SARH Good Neighbour award.