Thinking the unthinkable
Housing 21's 2011 National Residents' Conference began on a high as Pushpa Raguvaran, Chief Executive, opened the conference to over 80 residents with a look at the past year and then described how Housing 21 is gearing itself up to meet future challenges.
Pushpa painted a picture of an organisation that has changed enormously in the last months. She described the acquisition of Claimar Care in 2009 as:
' radically changing the organisation....and the first of its kind for a social enterprise, such as Housing 21. Our staff numbers have doubled and we can now offer a range of both housing and care services'.
One of the challenges for 2011/12 will be continuing to develop as one organisation so that Claimar Care staff and services are truly part of Housing 21.
Pushpa also explained that after last year's conference and external influences such as the election and credit crunch, it has been important to develop a new strategy that puts customers at the heart of everything that Housing 21 does. One of the key messages Pushpa took away from last year's conference is that Housing 21 should become an exemplar and that 'good is no longer enough'.
There have been some great achievements since the last conference and Pushpa brought these to life.
- She applauded the fact that our residents drive activities in the courts, constantly looking for new ways to work with voluntary groups and charities. For example, at Frank Howe Court residents are working with a reoffender rehabilitation group, while residents at Sycamore Hall saved the local post office by bringing it into the extra care scheme.
- Pushpa outlined how our innovative work in dementia services, including the Dementia Voice Nurse, has won several awards and our dementia conference is a nationally recognised event.
- She also talked about our pilot scooter scheme which allows residents to hire scooters and has already made a huge difference to residents’ lives.
She then went on to describe some of the challenges facing Housing 21:
- the number of older people are increasing and people are living longer
- people have higher expectations and an ever-widening range of needs meaning they want greater choice
- public spending is reducing
- people may have less disposable income.
Pushpa ended by talking about Housing 21's aspiration to be the 'trusted provider'. This includes:
- being more responsive to the needs of the individual and locality and offering a single point of contact for the whole range of Housing 21 services
- continuing to expand our dementia services
- investing in building ‘lifetime homes’.
We may never have been in tougher times but Pushpa conveyed her passionate belief that this helps us come up with radical ideas.
'Thinking the unthinkable is the key to how we thrive in the years to come'.