Putting on the Ritz in Milton Keynes

A sheltered housing scheme in Milton Keynes which transforms itself into The Ritz has been named as winner in a Live Active awards competition. Frank Howe Court in Fishermead received the first prize in Housing 21’s competition to highlight their most active housing schemes.

The leading provider of housing, care and health services for older people launched the competition through their residents’ magazine, Full House, last autumn.  The idea was to find schemes where residents are working together or with local agencies to create opportunities for taking part in a variety of activities, either within the scheme or in the local community.

Frank Howe Court faced strong competition but the judges were impressed by the residents’ determination and outlook.  Activities at the court, which will benefit from the £200 prize,  include an over 55s lunch club, IT and computer classes, physical activities, arts and crafts and many social events and trips out, including intergenerational links to the wider community.

However, it was the regular Tea at the Frank Howe Ritz which led to first prize. Once a month the communal lounge is transformed with lace covered table cloths, cake stands and bone china tea sets as the tables are waited on by gents in black bow ties and ladies in white frilly aprons.

Commenting on the success, resident Kay Warren said: “I have been here for 15 months and my life has changed drastically. I find myself organising all sorts of activities from days out, to cracking evenings of entertainment and a chance to indulge in the things I love doing.

“I think being part of a community is very important especially as we get older and our families lead their own lives. They can get on with their lives knowing that their parents are not vulnerable and that makes the time they spend with their parents more rewarding.

Runners-up in the competition were:

  • Ebbage Court. Woking
  • Lawrence Hill Court, Gateshead
  • Dennis Potter Court, Birmingham

Field Marshall Slim Court, Bristol received a special innovation award. The residents have built links with a nearby homelessness hostel. Hostel residents dig gardens and wash cars for court tenants.

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Photo caption: Frank Howe Court residents receive their certificates from David Grayson, Chair of Housing 21


Notes to editors

  1. For further information, please contact Wendy Gornicki, PR & Information Officer, Housing 21 on 0370 192 4338 or email wendy.gornicki@housing21.co.uk
  2. Housing 21’s mission is to promote independence and choice for older people through quality care, health and housing services. It provides around 126,000 hours of community care each week and manages 17,800 sheltered and extra care apartments.