Cherry Tree House

Cherry Tree House at Moreton, Wirral has been designed to help older people with dementia to remain independent for as long as possible. The extra care scheme has been developed to include assistive technology, for example door exit sensors to ensure that residents maintain a high level of independent living. 

The scheme, which is operated by Rodney Housing with 24 hour care provided by Housing & Care 21, was developed in partnership with Liverpool Housing Trust and Wirral Council.  The development was officially opened in February 2008 and is located on a housing estate, within easy reach of a range of local amenities.

Cherry Tree House underwent complete refurbishment with major alterations, including a new build extension to the rear. The previous use of the block had been 14 units with shared facilities for older people, which is now changed into ten much better self-contained units with communal facilities. The generous sized apartments are equipped with: 

  • en-suite shower room
  • fully fitted kitchen
  • emergency call facility

They are designed to Lifetime Homes Standard and full Wheelchair Standards.

Communal areas include:

  • kitchen
  • living room
  • dining room
  • laundry room
  • outside seating area with a small communal garden. 
  • ‘pampering room’ which includes a bed and basin for hair washing and is set up like a hair salon. 

Care Service

Cherry Tree was planned and designed with the specific needs of people with dementia in mind.  This type of service provides a real alternative to residential care, ensuring that people with dementia continue to have choice and control in their lives. The service includes:

  • personal care and housing support plans to maximise individual skills and level of independence. 
  • ongoing programme of activities to stimulate and motivate residents to sustain their learning and social abilities, so they remain actively engaged in day-to-day living and decision-making.

The staff team at Cherry Tree consists of 14 staff, which includes one manager and one senior support worker.  The senior assists with rotas, checks files and organises activities.  There are six contracted support workers with contracts ranging from 20-37 hours, and three bank support worker staff (zero hours).  

Rotas at Cherry Tree are currently covered by two members of staff at all times. Nights are covered with one waking and one sleeping shift.  The sleeping night was added to allow the care provision for a tenant that requires two staff to assist them.


Activities are organised daily and include:

  • bingo
  • craft
  • music
  • games
  • life histories
  • tenant meetings
  • outings.

Tenants regularly cook and eat together.  All tenants have life history books, and all tenants and staff have been on holiday together. 

Cost Savings

The unit cost within the original tender document for Cherry Tree House was £13.45 per hour, and has not increased year on year.  

Using the care hours for current tenants the current minimum cost is £94.15 per week and the maximum is £376.60.  However, this maximum represents the care package being provided for end of life care.  

The average unit cost for the current tenancy at Cherry Tree House is therefore £233.62 per week. When rent and service charges are taken into account the average is £356 per week.

The average unit cost  for extra care has been suggested at £263 per week for local authority very sheltered housing or £418 for housing association very sheltered housing, and for local authority residential care at £893 per week. 

This indicates that Cherry Tree is comparable to other extra care settings and around a third of the cost of residential care.


Relatives feel involved and informed, they believe their relative is being able to live as independently as possible, and they rate the staff, as well as the care and support provided, as excellent.  

‘This is an excellent facility that respects the wishes of the individual tenants and their family members. The care team recognise the contribution that family members can make and appear keen to involve us in decisions about the nature of the care provided. Mum has been able to maintain a level of independence that would not have been possible in other circumstances. We are confident that staff have mums best interests at heart and are genuine in their levels of concern about her welfare’

‘I feel that X is in now in the best place for her, as her family and friend we feel this is the best place for her care and well being’

Evaluation of Service

An evaluation of Cherry Tree House was conducted by Housing & Care 21’s Research and Development Team during August 2010 and drew upon a previous observational visit by a specialist dementia worker.  Additional observations, interviews and consultations with staff, tenants and their relatives were conducted, and analysis of care and support plans, risk assessments and costings were all used to inform the evaluation.

The evaluation found that, although there are some areas that could be improved, in the main Cherry Tree is performing over and above expectations.  It is evident that Cherry Tree is delivering successfully against all the aims and objectives outlined in its Statement of Purpose.  Additional strengths were found to be:

  • the culture and philosophy which goes beyond personalised and positive care to providing care as though the tenants are family members
  • a relaxed and informal the leadership style
  • an environment of warmth and psychological security despite the lack of innovation in the building design
  • quality end of life care being provided
  • holidays with small groups of tenants and carers
  • open and transparent partnerships with social services
  • being part of the local community with local services understanding the needs and behaviours of tenants
  • equality and diversity is understood and built into support plans to ensure that cultural and religious beliefs are supported.

It is evident that Cherry Tree House provides the right sort of environment for the majority of dementia sufferers who reside there, enabling them to live as independently as possible.  A number of success factors have been identified through this evaluation, which include the strong leadership and staff team and these could be built into a model for replicating across extra care.  However, one success factor has been the closeness of staff to tenants, which in this case appears to have worked to the benefit not the detriment of the majority of individuals.