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Independent living residents celebrate 12 years at Oak Tree House

Oak Tree Anniversary

Last week, we celebrated the 12th birthday of one of our independent living schemes in Tilehurst, Reading.

Published: 07/03/2024

Oak Tree House opened in early 2012 and provides people aged 55 and over with a secure, comfortable and sociable place to live. Residents can receive extra care as and when they need it, which helps them lead healthy, fulfilled lifestyles for longer while maintaining their independence. 

This anniversary event was an opportunity to reflect on the impact the service has had for everyone who has lived in Oak Tree House over the years. Attendees enjoyed celebratory cake, took part in a raffle and shared cherished memories. 

The celebration brought together our housing support team, Radis’ team of carers, residents and family members. Other attendees included the Mayor of Reading, Councillors Jo Lovelock and Finn McGoldrick, representatives of Thames Valley Police and the Commissioner from Reading Council. 

Oak Tree House has 60 self-contained flats, each with their own private bathroom. It also has several communal lounges, a hairdresser, guest suite, private balconies, a restaurant and communal garden. The on-site offices enable Peabody’s scheme managers and Radis’ care team to provide additional support for residents. 

The scheme was the first extra care housing development to be purpose-built in Reading. It was constructed as part of the regeneration of the Dee Park Estate, which includes a community centre also managed by Peabody. The residents were involved in shaping the layout and facilities of Oak Tree House, as well as its culture and ethos.  

Pam, who moved into Oak Tree House a year ago, said: “It’s good living here and I’ve made a lot of friends. It’s been nice to see a lot of them today at this event. I like going to the lounge on Mondays for the coffee mornings. I’ve also enjoyed the fish and chip night and doing bingo when I feel like it. I like my flat, which backs onto the garden. I didn’t change any of the furnishings when I moved in as it was already good. And the care is great as I get help with shopping and things.” 

Sara, who moved in shortly after the scheme opened, said: “I like living here. My best memory was from a sports day we had one year. We did an activity where we rolled a bucket of potatoes along the floor to each other. Oh god, they went everywhere! That was a good day, really good.” 

Yvette, another resident of Oak Tree House, said: “This event was great and this is a lovely place to live. Everyone is friendly and we are like one big family. The scheme managers are really nice people and will do anything for you. I have a phobia, which means I have to check everything over and over before I can leave my apartment, thinking I left my tap on. The scheme managers help me check and when they say everything is alright in my flat, I know I can leave. They’re so wonderful.” 

Tracey Burton, Head of Older People’s Services at Peabody, said: "This event was more than a milestone: it was a celebration of all our residents and the way this community has blossomed over the years. As people live longer, schemes like Oak Tree House are becoming increasingly important. We all deserve to maintain our independence as we get older, and taking the decision to downsize or move into a specialist home shouldn’t get in the way of this. By providing accessible facilities with a welcoming atmosphere and extra care as needed, we can help people maintain the lifestyle of their choosing for much longer.” 

The Mayor of Reading, who gave a speech during the event, said: “Today I had the pleasure of meeting the longest serving resident and also the two newest residents who moved in this month. It’s been great to get a cross-section of views, all of which confirm what’s been said about the warmth, the neighbourliness and the support that one sees in the room and in the building. 12 years of excellent services for the people who live here and hopefully many more to come.” 

Eloise Cromwell, Commissioner in Adult Social Care at Reading Council, said: “Extra care helps to combat isolation and meet the needs of individuals who want to maintain independent living in the community. It’s a real alternative to residential care as well for eligible adults… Events like this are great because they enhance the sense of community. It’s been really nice to see everybody together in a shared space and I’m feeling inspired just being here.” 

Loretta Bailey, Radis Team Leader commented: “I think everyone enjoyed themselves and it was good to see everybody in one place. It was a nice day as well so people could go out in the garden. We hope to do many more events like this in the future.” 

Read more about our specialist homes for over 55s. 

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