bpha thanks Community Heroes to mark National Volunteer Week

8 June, 2016

To mark National Volunteers Week (1-12 June 2016), Housing Association bpha proudly hosted an awards ceremony on 7 June to celebrate and recognise their volunteers, who have given over 2,500 hours of their time to making a difference in their local bpha communities.

Over 60 volunteers braved the bad weather and storms to attend the evening ceremony at the Harpur Suite in Bedford. Some truly remarkable community groups and individuals were presented with Community Hero Awards to recognise how they have helped to improve the lives of people in their communities.

A special Long Service Certificate was also presented to Rev. Richard Howlett, who was inducted as Vicar of the Church of St Mary in Goldington Bedford in 2005. With the support of his wife Katherine, Richard has led on a number of important community initiatives, such as building a shelter in Milburn Road and developing an award-winning community garden project, Golden Gardens. On receiving his award, Richard said: “I am amazed and very honoured to be presented with this award. I have been pleased to work with volunteers and bpha in our common aim to transform our communities.”

Community & Financial Inclusion Manager, Nicky Dahl, who hosted the evening said: “Our volunteers make such a difference in their communities, and they don’t receive a penny for all the hard work they do. Our volunteer awards ceremony is bpha’s way of saying thank you to them for their efforts.”

This year’s bpha Community Hero awards were presented to:

Chris Forse – Digital Hero

Hockliffe Road Community Garden – Green Hero

John Hammond – Local Hero

Ivor and Lind Owens – Local Hero

Elsie Dawson – Local Hero

Rev. Richard Howlett – Long Service to the Community

In June 2015, bpha also launched its first Employee Volunteering programme to mark its 25th Anniversary.

Over the past year, over 300 bpha employees have contributed 2,000 hours of their time to support community projects and initiatives, such as foodbanks and the Re-Use Centre in Bedford.

Minister sees how technology-enabled care impacts on people’s lives in Bedford

19 May, 2016

The Minister of State for Community and Social Care, the Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, today visited Tavistock Court, a 32 bed Extra Care scheme owned by bpha in Bedford.

During the visit, the Minister was able to visit the Dementia Friendly scheme, meet with staff and residents and explore how technology is supporting carers, and people living with a range of needs.

Mr Burt said: “It was great to see how housing with care, coupled with advances in technology, can enable people to remain independent, and live somewhere safely and with dignity. Technology can enable people to have the care and support they need and feel connected to our families and community in so many ways.”

bpha manages 18 Extra Care schemes, providing varying levels of care support tailored to individual needs.

During the visit, the Minister heard about bpha’s future vision for the provision of affordable retirement living, and how bpha plans to make digital technology more accessible to its customers.

bpha works closely with Tunstall Healthcare Group, the leading provider of technology enabled care which supports older people and those with living with dementia, learning disabilities, mental health and chronic health conditions, to live as independently, securely and happily as they are able.

Julie Wittich, Director of Service Delivery at bpha, said: “With nearly one in four people in the UK expected to be aged over 65 by 2040, providing housing with care support is vital to bpha. Our Extra Care schemes enable some of the most vulnerable people to live as independently as possible in a safe, secure environment. bpha’s future vision is to build more homes for older people in the communities we serve and we are currently developing 4 new Extra Care schemes including one in Wootton in Bedfordshire.”

Ali Rogan, External Affairs Director, Tunstall Healthcare says “It is often difficult to imagine how technology can play a part in the care of a loved one. However being able to see it in action is so powerful, particularly for carers. Technology enabled care, such as telecare has the potential to transform lives for the better – not only for carers but also of the people they care for – by reducing safety issues, enhancing quality of life and dignity, and even enabling carers to continue employment.”

Technology on display during the Minister’s visit to Tavistock Court included telecare safety, environment and sensory sensors for example bed occupancy, epilepsy, medication and movement; the UK’s first IP housing communications system – Communicall ViIP with hi-tech touch screen app based phone; and Remote Patient Monitoring for example BP monitor, glucometer, pulse oximeter with tablets and support app based systems.

bpha partners with Police to tackle dangerous driving in Bedfordshire

20 April, 2016

bpha has partnered with Bedfordshire Police to tackle speeding in the local area.

Every year, over 300 people are seriously injured by dangerous driving in Bedfordshire, and bpha residents have raised road safety as a major concern. To help make our roads safer, bpha has provided nine employee volunteers to undertake Community Speed Watch sessions.

Community Speed Watch allows active members of the public to monitor how fast vehicles are travelling with speed detection devices. Vehicles exceeding the speed limit are referred to the Police with the aim of educating drivers to reduce their speeds.

In the last week, bpha employee volunteers checked the speed of 1,277 vehicles – 22 of which were over the speed limit. Those over the speed limit have been contacted by the Police.

bpha employee volunteer Greg Cox said: “Our residents have been concerned about speeding in Bedford, so I’m delighted that bpha is pro-actively helping to make our roads safer. We have received some really positive feedback from local residents, who thanked us for volunteering our time for what they see as a worthwhile initiative.”

Chief Inspector Neill Waring of Bedfordshire Police said: “Schemes like Speed Watch are driven by volunteers, and it’s fantastic to have volunteers from bpha on board helping to educate motorists and raise awareness of the dangers of speeding. Bedfordshire Police can’t tackle crime alone, and so working alongside our partners like this is vital in helping us protect people, fight crime and keep Bedfordshire safe.”

bpha will continue to support Bedfordshire Police with Community Speed Watch throughout the spring as part of their 25th Anniversary employee volunteering scheme, which has given all employees the opportunity to engage with and support local communities.