Vision 2020 For Our Sector

A personal blog. 

Putting the kettle on. For many this daily task just involves flicking a switch. It always works, we don’t even think about it. Wouldn’t it be great if other systems that make life sustainable were as reliable as an electricity system? Wouldn’t it be great if good quality social care was accepted as an essential necessity that just works when people need support to live independently at home? Wouldn’t it be great if aids, adaptations and technology were readily available for people to be able to live in their homes for as long as possible? This is the first vision point for 2020. We must agree a funding formula that enables a good quality social care system for our country that simply works. We need to support a valued social care workforce that enables people to be independent, to be connected to their communities, to end stigmatisation and discrimination. Social care that lifts people up, not puts people down.

“We need to support a valued social care workforce that enables people to be independent, to be connected to their communities”

However, not everyone can stay living in their current home. Some people will need specialised housing with care and support as they age, or because of a disability or health condition. The Guinness Trust was formed in 1890 at the beginning of a new decade in response to terrible living conditions in parts of London. 130 years later, The Guinness Partnership provides 66,000 homes across England and continues with its vision in 2020 to create possibilities and help improve lives, driven by the same passion for improvement as our founder. Our commitment to ensure Guinness is a dementia friendly organisation in 2020 is just one of many examples of how we’re fulfilling this vision.

Just as 130 years ago, there are fundamental challenges in the need for more homes, to tackle homelessness and to design new housing for all ages and disabilities.

However, we must now also completely re-shape our assumptions about the nature of housing for people in later life. According to the Office for National Statistics, over 65’s are set to account for over half of employment growth in the next 10 years and two thirds of growth by 2060. Older peoples’ spending power, as pointed out by the International Longevity Centre, has already grown by 75% by those of 65 and above between 2001 – 2018. By 2040, 40% of UK earnings could be attributed to older people.

This is the second vision point for 2020 – we must review the new types and models of housing and care for older people and people with disabilities to ensure these match the dynamic changes in the economy and in communities.

As a sector, housing associations have made a tremendous contribution in developing new extra care housing over the last 30 years. The work of a generation has developed new extra care housing with remarkable scale and quality of provision, which is now seen as an alternative to residential care and sheltered housing. So now is the time to pinpoint a vision for the next generation of housing association activity. Should we continue to focus on age specific housing or should we shift to more intergenerational living over the next 30 years?  Therefore, the third vision point for our sector in 2020 is to set out our generational leadership challenge. This challenge will surely include a concentration on ensuring that new housing better supports access to activities, routes into education, training and employment – and thereby enhances connections to communities.

Good quality social care that simply works. New models of specialised housing developed. Finally, a generational leadership challenge articulated to energise a new vision. What could be easier!


Posted on by Yvonne Castle

Key question Paul asks is "Should we continue to focus on age specific housing or should we shift to more intergenerational living over the next 30 years?" My view is that the answer is predominantly intergenerational - but you will need some specific. If we're proactive and want to influence how we age and how we age better then an intergenerational approach works. The idea of a active community hub with activities for all should help this. So that, I believe, should be our focus for a healthy active future. However, community hubs don't build overnight and demand for care is on the increase. If we could build on our very valued care professionals, and our volunteers to help people stay in their own home as we age, as a mobile profession - then again, all the better. We know however, that this isn't always the case. Families are spread. For a while yet, I think there will still be a need for extra care.

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