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.
But it can’t operate without the greatly admired Village Manager, Gaynor O’Dell.
Gaynor 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 has already made an impact. She explains, “The village has always been excellently maintained and we’ve continued to enhance this standard. We’ve had tree surgeons in, resurfaced the roads and we’ve even reduced the service charges for the two consecutive years, which has delighted our residents.”
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 two years, I’ve only got closer to residents, there is so much 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 stunning 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 first two years as Village Manager have been a success, so we’re looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the next two years!
She said: “I’ve already completed most of the major works. But soon we’ll see the arrival of a brand-new mini-bus and we will shortly be officially launching a new Try Before You Buy property, where potential residents can see if village life is for them!