Located on the outskirts of the historical lace making town of Honiton, in East Devon, Gittisham Hill Park is the perfect retirement village for anyone who can appreciate a stunning woodland setting and countryside views with a wide variety of wildlife.
But it can’t operate without the Village Manager, Gaynor O’Dell.
When Gaynor took up the role at Gittisham Hill Park she made a job switch from HR to retirement villages and explains: “It was quite a spontaneous decision and it’s a completely different role. But the most significant part I enjoy, is how appreciative people are of the work I do.”
Making a difference
Having started the position in March 2017, Gaynor made an impact with tree surgery and resurfacing the roads. Since then, we have improved the gardens and generally updated the grounds.
Residents live in a variety of 32 independent living bungalows with access to the central clubhouse which forms the social hub for village activities.
Gaynor takes great pride in the relationships she’s formed with these residents, she said: “Throughout my time at Gittisham I’ve got closer to residents and I value the interaction between us.
“A key part of being a successful village manager is a strong relationship with residents, trying your best to get them involved into the community and closely managing their expectations.”
The village also offers a sense of peace of mind by having a care home on site and domiciliary care can also be arranged if it’s needed.
Gaynor said: ““I have an excellent relationship with the care home, run by HC-One, who specialise in dementia nursing and residential care. Also, with RV Extra Care, who provide excellent domiciliary care for our residents with a variety of services on a temporary or permanent basis.
“I was so pleased when they performed so highly in the latest CQC inspection. They ranked as ‘outstanding’ overall, particularly for their care and responsiveness.”
Postcard perfect location
The age-exclusive retirement village is in a stunning location which adds to the pleasure of the job. Gaynor said: “The village is set in 12 acres of mature parkland in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – it’s a beautiful site with equally beautiful views.
“It would suit anybody who has a love of the countryside and wants to live independently. Even if you aren’t able to drive, the village operates a regular minibus for outings, seaside trips, visits into the town of Honiton and generic shopping trips too.”
Gaynor’s time as Village Manager has been a success, so we’re looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the years ahead.
She said: we are looking at further development of the grounds in creating a pond and resurfacing the woodland paths. We recently set up a Try Before You Buy property, where potential residents can see if village life is for them!