Wealden District Council
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Older Persons Housing and Support Strategy Action Plan


Action Update as at April 2023



Update as at March 2022

Priority 1: To provide older people with advice on the housing options and support available locally so they are able to make informed decisions





Ensuring our website is up to date including maintaining a specialist area for retirement living accommodation

Specialist area on the website which is spilt into rented and leasehold council. Updated regularly.


Signposting/referring tenants/leaseholders to the Council‘s Housing Options service for advice on what housing options exist, including options outside of Council owed accommodation

Website under housing options area has been updated to include links to Retirement Living including non-council options. It also explains the application process for social retirement living both to rent and buy. Details are also provided on extra care with link to ESCC supported accommodation.

Allocations Policy has an Older Persons Pathway as part of the Appendix.

Online leasehold application form now live


Ensuring older residents are financially included through the actions set out in our Financial Inclusion Strategy

Outreach program on benefits advice started in October 2019 and took place in a number of courts until Covid hit. Further outreach sessions took place in 2022 and are scheduled for 2023 – residents are notified of these via our newsletters. We are also providing more information on benefits and extra support available due to the Cost of Living. With a Cost of Living Hub set up on the council’s website. A Cost of Living Strategy will be approved by the Council’s Cabinet in June 2023.


Promoting services designed to help encourage older people online

Worked with ESCC library service to provide outreach IT support – promoting library service which offers this at the libraries on a regular basis.

During Covid lockdown the Library Service offered IT support.

Street Learning programme has a range of IT courses.

22-24 Wi-Fi to be installed in the retirement living courts.

Promoting Care for Carers and Library Service tablet loan scheme.

We introduced a tablet loan scheme in 2022 which those that get involved with us can access.

Through the Cost of Living internal group we are currently exploring other options to get residents online.


Providing IT training in Retirement Living Courts where a need exists

Outreach has taken place at Rumsey, Mary Burfield Courts and Church Bailey Court to date. Residents at Rumsey were provided with a mini bus service so that they could access the sessions at the Crowborough library.

More sessions will be arranged during 2023.


Actively promoting the activities run at Retirement Living Courts and elsewhere including those specifically for older people

All retirement living courts have different approaches with regards non-resident attending activities

Other activities have been actively promoted to residents e.g. dementia sessions

Good links between the Community Regeneration and Retirement Living Courts

Activities had to stop with Covid restrictions.

A number of RL courts have set up or are setting up since Covid Resident Groups which are resulting in new activities both one-off and ongoing.

Worked with Freedom Leisure to do some taster sessions and from there explore what residents want. Post this through the Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022 we were able to deliver activities in Joan Hughes Court, Maryan Court and Hampton House, Mary Burfield Court and Cherry Tree Court.

We are exploring the use of technology to deliver activities using online sessions once Wi-Fi is installed


Funding a Housing Solutions worker to support those needing a more intensive support service to find suitable accommodation to meet their needs

The post continues to be funded and is provided in-house

Priority 2: To make the best use of existing housing stock


Providing a Tenant Incentive Scheme to encourage and financially assist under occupying households and those requiring retirement living to move

A revised scheme came in on June 2018 and continues to run. In 203 we will be reviewing our current package.  

Wealden were part of a review of incentives to downsize carried out by consultants for the Isle of Wight to help understand best practice and research in this area.



Actively marketing our accommodation options for older people to existing tenants

Article written for Spring 2020 and Spring 2021 Threshold.

Have done lots of marketing for Grants Hill House which attracted some general needs tenants out of their properties.

Spring 2021 Threshold an article was done on Transfer Incentive Scheme.

In 2022 we surveyed our tenants currently living in retirement living to see what they liked and didn’t like about the product and to understand their motivations for moving there. We also surveyed existing tenants of retirement age to find out their perceptions of retirement living and to understand what would put them of considering it as an option now or in the future. 

Promotional video produced in 2022 and is on our website. In summer 2023 we plan to hold a number of open days to allow residents the opportunities to visit and explore what is on offer 


Ensure adapted properties are re-let to people needing adaptions

Adapted properties are advertised as such on Sussex Homemove. Work is done in conjunction with housing Solutions Officers and in-house Occupational Therapist.

This is to ensure adapted are utilised for those who need the adaptations that property has.


When carrying out refurbishment works to retirement living properties ensure they meet current building regulations standards for accessibility level 1 – visitable dwellings

Joan Hughes Court which was refurbished now complies with all accessibility standards.



When leasehold retirement living properties become vacant, the Council aims to buy them back in mixed tenure blocks, subject to funding being available

Buying back at Cherry Tree Court when they become available subject to finances.

In Hailsham rather than removing leasehold at Maryan Court we will increase supply there and reduce leasehold at Hampden House.

As leasehold properties become empty we will bring them up to standard – new kitchens, bathrooms, redecorate them etc. and £20k is set aside per annum for this work.


Identify retirement living schemes for leasehold only accommodation

Bungalows are popular – Newnham Way, Buxted, Hillside Drive.

Highest numbers are at Buxted, Church Bailey and Hampton House

Looking to expand shared ownership at Maryan over time it could become a leasehold only scheme.

Priority 3: To ensure the Council offers a range of affordable, suitable, good quality housing options for older people to rent and lease


Converting all bedsit/studio accommodation in Retirement Living Courts to one or two bedroom flats

Joan Hughes Court was refurbished to eliminate bedsits.

Stretfeild House has been demolished.  

As a result of both projects above  there are no longer any bedsits.


Ensuring retirement living courts provide good value for money accommodation and related services

Scrutiny review of the role of the Retirement Living Court Manager to took place in 2019.


Developing local lettings plans to help create balanced and mixed communities

Done as needed.



Developing a set of standards for new developments for older people, including meeting current building regulations standards for accessibility level 2- accessible and adapted dwellings

Grants Hill Court will be used as a template for any future developments.


Exploring the feasibility of new council built homes meeting current building regulations standards for accessibility level 1

Our most recent new build, Grants Hill Court complies


Provide new build homes meeting current building regulations standards for accessibility level 3 – wheelchair user dwellings, subject to demand

The site of Stretfeild house will include adapted/wheelchair accommodation


Ensuring all housing designed for older people offer safe and secure environments. Looking at the suitability of all bungalows for different groups of customers e.g. older people

The new build at Grants Hill Court meets older person requirements including flexible accommodation, level access showers, accessibility etc.

Our refurbishment of Joan Hughes Court was done with older person requirements at the forefront ensuring that suitable bathing facilities are available throughout the court and dementia friendly colouring schemes and signs were put in place.

We have adapted a number of bungalows at void stage where it is was considered that the adaptation would provide more suitable older person accommodation. These continue to be assessed on an individual basis as and when properties become void.



Looking at the feasibility of developing a programme to make existing bungalows suitable for both elderly and wheelchair users

We have adapted a number of bungalows at void stage where it is was considered that the adaptation would provide more suitable older person accommodation. These continue to be assessed on an individual basis as and when properties become void.


Exploring the need for future provision of older person’s accommodation, including additional retirement living courts and extra care accommodation both for rent and leasehold


No current need identified and Stretfeild is being converted to general needs


Looking at how we can re-model the age-restricted properties including providing additional support services to ensure they meet the needs of older people

No additional services have been identified as being needed. Linking to a retirement living court is unviable -See 35.

We are looking at each of the two bedroom bungalows that become available to ensure any additional works that are needed are done at void stage.



Considering physical constraints for those with mobility problems accessing the building and their flat when refurbishing or building any new retirement living courts


When Joan Hughes Court was refurbished –  the building already has a broad range of residents with mobility issues so no further works for accessibility were  required as standards were already met

Priority 4: To allow older people to live independently in their homes for as long as they choose or it is safe to do so.


Continuing to provide Housing Revenue Account funding to assist those needing minor and major adaptations


Funding still set aside each year. Since 2019 we have employed and in-house Occupational Therapist and assistant to help and assess those with adaptation needs


Exploring the possibility of providing floating support outside retirement living courts


The Scrutiny Review Panel 2021 suggested that a pilot project is run to identify whether any support can be given by Managers to vulnerable people within the community.

In 2022 we did survey existing council tenants of retirement ag to see if there was any demand to provide outreach support similar to that provided by the Court Manager in Retirement Living, however only a few people expressed an interest. This means that the pilot is currently unviable.



Exploring the feasibility of new council built homes meeting current building regulations standards for accessibility level 1


See 18


Ensuring the alarm call services are able to work using internet protocol technology once the digital switchover happens


The digital l switchover has not happened yet, but new contractor Progress is able to meet this requirement. Will need to set aside £60k to ensure this happens with Tunstall technology.


Exploring the provision of telehealth/telecare services

Housing Management team aware that they can refer to Health and Social Care Connect at ESCC –  for customers needing an assessment for a variety of needs including telecare. They will carry out a much wider assessment of need as part of this referral. HSCC number is 0345 6080191   and HSCC@eastsussex.gov.uk

Some of the main areas ESCC are concerned with are washing/dressing/mobility/safety.   



Explore enhanced living services within retirement living courts to enable residents to stay within the court for longer


See 29.


Encourage older tenants living in general needs accommodation to use the council’s telecare provider for alarm and other services


article in Threshold Spring 2021 and will appear again in Autumn 2023.


Funding a Housing Solutions Worker to ensure residents have assistance and support to access long term housing solutions that meet their needs

2 part-time Housing Solutions Workers are in post

Priority 5: To provide and/or signpost (refer) older council tenants/leaseholders to appropriate support services


Reviewing current provision of alarm equipment and support in retirement living and age-restricted properties ensuring there is a link to the wider health services


Alarm equipment now provided by Progress.

See 29 re Social Care Connect re  extra services


Exploring what other telecare provision exists and whether there is a need for these additional services e.g. motion sensors, medical prompts and consider the feasibility of providing these e.g. practical and financial implications

See 29. Re Social Care Connect on extra services


Considering how we could link age-restricted properties to retirement living court to ensure tenants benefit from the support and other services available at the courts

We have looked at the possibility of linking age-restricted properties to a retirement living court. However, some are too far away to make it feasible. Having focussed on those that are close to a retirement living courts the cost of linking them currently makes it unviable, both for the Council in terms of set-up and for the tenants in terms of the cost of associated service charges.

Priority 6: To promote involvement in the community, well-being and healthy living


Working with partners to deliver activities for older people

We will closely with the Wellbeing Team and other partners to deliver dementia screenings and active for life programme.

Activities stopped due to Covid restrictions but post Winter 22 have started up again.

In 2022 Freedom Leisure delivered a number of activities in some courts funded through the Shared Prosperity Fund – see point 6.

Working with RL Resident Groups and Freedom Leisure. 


Providing a range of activities in the retirement living courts to ensure health and wellbeing

See point 36.

In 2022 we have also carried out a survey of what activities each court wants and will work with the Resident Groups where they exist to see what can be delivered.  In 22/23 we provided Community and Environmental grants to 2 courts including arts materials and tv/stereo/notice boards to help facilitate activities.  


Actively encourage older non-retirement living tenants to attend activities in the retirement living courts

Done as appropriate taking into account the activity, security, membership issues etc.

Put on hold due to Covid but will be explored further in 2023.

Open days planned for the summer of 2023 at some courts.


Promoting partners activities for older people

Use Threshold for example Spring 2021 promoted Wealden walks. Court managers receive information on dementia activities. – Court notice boards are utilised to advertise activities.


Delivering our Tenant Involvement Strategy ensuring we offer a wider range of opportunities for tenants and leaseholders to get involved

Ongoing – the Strategy has its own action plan which is reviewed and reported upon. Jan 2021 new Tenant Involvement Brochure sent out to all tenants. New Plan in progress


Supporting the work of the Retirement Living Residents Group

RLRG no longer exists due to lack of interest from RL residents. Instead work is underway to set up Resident Groups in each court subject to demand. Supported by Tenant Involvement Team