Our retirement villages aren’t here for people to exist in – they’re for living. Every Village’s Residents’ Association is there to ensure that social interests, both physical and cultural, are met as far as possible.
Here is what she had to say about her role.
Why did you want to become Chair of Elmbridge Village Residents’ Association?
“I am an active and forward-thinking person who truly wants the best for both the village and its residents. Two years ago, when our previous Chair retired, a group of friends suggested I might apply – so I did!
“We can only serve for three years, so I know it won’t be forever. In the coming months, there will be an Annual General Meeting where a new person will be voted in or I will remain as the Chairman – I’m fairly confident the residents will vote me in for another year!”
Do you have any experience that helps you fulfil this role?
“I’ve always kept busy! I taught Maths in a senior school at Croydon College for many years; I ran a hotel, taught Bridge for the U3A; and I was the Chair of our local U3A Association too.
“I have experience in organising classes or meetings to get the best out of people by listening, encouraging and delegating when necessary. I think it is important to involve as many residents as possible in an active village life.”
What advice would you give to future Chairs of the Association?
“You definitely have to make your own personal mark, be understanding, and be determined to do the best job possible.
“You may not be sure that you can do it at first but give it a go! Once other residents recognise that you are fair and listen to their grievances, they are very supportive indeed. Remember you’re not alone, you can involve as many others in the village duties as you wish.
“It’s also really important to encourage people to speak out, so it’s the best village for every resident to be involved with. I implemented a monthly open meeting which provides all residents with an opportunity to speak out, giving both praise and criticism as they think fit – these meetings are very well supported.”
Tell us about some of the positive initiatives you have helped spearhead as Chair of the Residents’ Committee.
“As well as the above, I’ve recruited a new line dancing teacher and I have initiated and supported links with a local infant school. We are also involved with the local National Citizen Service (NCS) which is a voluntary personal and social development programme for 15–17-year olds. Last time they came they taught us how to drum!”
Do you enjoy your work at Elmbridge Village?
“Yes, I like to encourage everyone to make the most of their lives and make the point that getting older doesn’t mean stopping!
“I lead by example. I try to get involved in as many activities as I can. Bridge is my passion but I have a go at many other activities from the thirty or so which go on at the village. This includes concerts, quizzes, film nights, jazz, dancing-and there was even a lip-reading course which residents could take!
“The groups achieve some really amazing things too. For example, the knitting group make items for local new-born babies, balaclavas for fishermen and twiddle muffs for dementia sufferers.”
What advice would you give to a new resident coming to Elmbridge?
“Don’t leave it too late in your retirement to make your move! You can then benefit fully from all Elmbridge has to offer. And you will be joining the Elmbridge family.”