An injection of hope, something the vaccination rollout has given us all after a turbulent and downcast year and a half. Last year’s report was produced amidst the worrying uncertainty, care homes in particular were struggling and no one knew what the future would hold or how long the pandemic would go on for.
But this year, despite the delay of ‘Freedom Day’, we have hope and with that hope we are looking forward. We are looking forward to that first journey on an aeroplane, we are looking forward to gathering with friends and families without needing to headcount, we are looking forward to finally walking down the aisle after several cancellations. Indeed, there is much to look forward to and what we are hoping for in the coming weeks, months, or years will differ for us all.
So with this year’s annual report, we wanted to look forward because we could all do with some positivity. We invited our staff and residents to share their hopes with us, some small, some big but all personal and important to them. From travel and family reunions to seeing maskless faces, some are things we all hope to see in our near future.
And what is Rapport Housing & Care hoping for in the future? I joined the board of trustees two years ago and was appointed Chair in March, with my new role I have many hopes for the organisation, as we anticipate and plan for a return to normal life.
It is our hope that the organisation will lead the way in older people’s housing, continuing to provide exceptional care and support to older people from all walks of life. To keep building new homes that are of an incredibly high standard and available to all. We hope to see adequately funded care, and respect and appreciation for care workers, a change in the perception that it is unskilled work and not a career.
I hope you enjoy reading this year’s annual report and that it encourages you to think about what you are hoping for as we edge closer to freedom with an injection of hope.
We want everyone who meets us, no matter in what context, to experience our friendly, caring, compassionate philosophy, which runs through our whole organisation. We are a leading housing and care provider in the south-east, flexible and responsive to the needs of people in later life.
Compassion: behaving in a manner that treats people with respect and dignity, listening to what they say and responding;
Openness: offering high quality services that are adaptable, flexible and that meet the changing needs of service users in a manner that offers genuine choice;
Integrity: acting at all times in an honest and straightforward way with all those with whom we come into contact;
People focussed: reflecting the ethos inherent in the organisation’s philosophy.
A New Opening at the end of the Year
After a challenging final few months on site, due to the pandemic, Meadow View Court, our extra care housing scheme in Wateringbury, opened for business and welcomed its first residents in December. Like all of our schemes it is beautiful and its semi rural location and elevated position mean it offers spectacular views over the surrounding countryside.
The scheme is filling up and residents are looking forward to getting to know one another and enjoying some social activities, as restrictions ease.
New Chair Leads the way
Reaching the end of his nine-year tenure (as trustee then chair) Zach Miles, stepped down as Chairman of the board of trustees and handed over the reigns to fellow trustee of two years, Steve Kemp.
On bidding farewell to Zach, Steve said: “I changed my career to work in the social housing sector because I wanted to help older people. Sadly, my career took a different turn but I did pick up a lot of valuable skills in the process. When I saw the ad for trustees, I thought it was a great opportunity for me to get back to that purpose. The idea that I came into housing to help older people and I was now returning to that, at the end of my career, felt like it was full circle.”
Care Staff at the Front of the Queue
Our residents and staff being invited to receive their vaccinations first was a wonderful way to end a tough year. Vaccinating started in December and presently; our vaccination statistics are above average for the care sector.
Upon receiving his vaccination and urging others to do so, our Chief Executive, Leon Steer said: “Minimising the risk is an expression we commonly use in health & social care, essentially because we care for vulnerable people and we don’t want to put them or ourselves at risk. Like most risks, however, you can’t always remove it entirely it is essential, however, that we do all we can to reduce a risk and this is the view I adopted regarding having the Covid-19 vaccination.”
Hugs, at Last as Indoor Visits Resume
Following lockdown 3.0, spring saw the vaccination rollout going well and from March, indoor visits in care homes could resume, with safety measures in place. The long awaited news meant that after a year of no human contact, our care home residents could hold the hands of their loved ones.
Upon visiting her mother, Zarine Kemp, Connors House visitor Laila said: “It is just wonderful to come in and visit mum in her room, in person. To be able to at least hold her hand has been really nice.”
And the Award Goes to…
In its opening year, Meadow View Court was selected as a finalist in the 2020 LaingBuisson Awards in the ‘Housing with Care’ category.
Sadly, we lost out to McCarthy and Stone and whilst it would have been great to take home the trophy, we are delighted to be nominated alongside some of the leading nationwide providers.
The scheme is also a finalist in the 2021 Inside Housing Develoment Awards in the ‘Best Older People’s Housing Development (Rural and Suburban)’ category. The winner will be announced in November, fingers crossed!
Commitment to the provision of a quality service that meets the needs of the people we support. We will strive to be a person-centred organisation with people at our heart – both the people we serve and people we employ. We will put decision making as close to the people we support as possible, transforming the traditional organisational hierarchy to one that is person centred
To demonstrate this, we will strive to;
Achieve at least a ‘good’ Care Quality Commission rating within all of our care services;
Support older people to live well through the personalisation programme;
Implement the Kings Fund ‘Enhancing the Healing Environment’ model focus on an environment that promotes wellbeing, independence and social inclusion;
Communicate in an open, honest and accurate manner horizontally and vertically across the organisation in accordance with our Duty of Candour;
Maintain an active commitment to the National Care Forum Quality First Pledge;
Combat loneliness through meaningful and purposeful occupation and a programme of daily activities.
2. Investing in our Property Assets
Our property assets are an important part of enabling us to deliver services to the people who we support, both now and in the future and it is therefore essential that we have an innovative and forward-thinking strategy in place to manage them. (as before)
To demonstrate this, we will strive to;
Ensure that our property portfolio is sustainable both in terms of meeting housing/ residential care needs and aspirations, also that it is economically viable, as well as ‘fit for purpose’ across a range of likely financial scenarios;
Work in partnership with local authorities who commission housing and care services for older people;
Have well maintained, good quality homes which meet regulatory, health and safety and legislative requirements.
The implementation of this strategic plan supports the continuation of a journey of change. It reflects the recognition of a need for the organisation to realign its property portfolio, to meet the changing needs of the market.
3. Investing in our Workforce
Our workforce will continue to be our greatest asset. To thrive in a competitive sector, our strategy will improve our effectiveness to value our workforce and recognise achievement. (as before)
The organisational development strategy is our key document, which draws together all that we will do to attract, retain, reward and develop our staff. Our aim is to have a healthy organisational culture, sustainable and capable employees, working in an integrated manner where leadership and management is values based, efficient and effective
We strive to;
Implement a continued programme of coaching, mentoring, learning and development;
Develop a well-trained workforce;
Continue to invest in our in-house Academy programme, which offers the opportunity for career development.
4. Delivering Value for Money
Our Value for Money (VFM) strategy confirms the actions that we will take to achieve an understanding of how our services compare with others.
In delivering our strategic priorities, we will consider the VFM implications throughout. This means that in some cases we may increase spend to achieve a positive outcome. The introduction of a new integrated housing management and property repairs system is an example of one such ‘invest to save’ project, where the increased use of technology will modernise our existing practices and offer a more efficient service.
We have identified performance indicators that will demonstrate that we are delivering VFM. We will use these to bench mark our performance against that of other comparable organisations. These will inform our annual assessment of whether we are achieving VFM in the delivery of our strategic objectives, published within our statutory accounts. (as before)
As well as understanding how our services compare with others, we will aim to improve VFM in our own services by;
Reducing the cost of our resources through effective procurement;
Attracting more external resources to enable us to deliver more/improve quality;
Achieving future savings through investing to save where we can;
Improving service quality through investment in our people.
Investing in IT
We will invest in our information technology to enable us to achieve our strategic priorities, both now and into the future. (as before)
We aim to ensure the provision of information technology that;
Is fit for purpose and responsive to the needs of the business;
Supports our future growth;
Supports our drive for greater VFM;
Is integrated across the organisation.
Key IT priorities for completion over the five years of this strategic plan will include;
The replacement of the organisation’s existing finance and rent accounting systems;
The implementation of a new integrated housing management and property repair system;
Making better use of electronic communications.
An Injection of Hope
After a challenging year, we are looking forward to the future and enjoying the little things in life once again.