Railway People - Hilary Lewis

10th October 2017 | posted in News

Hilary Lewis (pictured in green) is responsible for looking after the welfare of residents living in Railway Housing Association’s most southerly outpost.

Hilary is the Manager at our Great Western Court sheltered housing scheme in Hereford.

Situated close to the border with Wales, Hereford is 230 miles from our head office in Darlington, but with Hilary in charge, the distance is not a problem.

It’s fair to say we choose wisely when we appointed Hilary in 2008. She has spent most of her life living and working in Herefordshire and that means there’s no-one that she doesn’t know in the area.

Having a bulging contacts book has proven very handy as she has built Great Western Court into a lovely home for the residents, but also has a real community destination.

She explains: “Whilst always respecting that Great Western Court is a home for people living in the 30 flats, we have also encouraged the community to use it as a local resource.

“Age UK have a day centre here; our local police and community support officers use it as a drop-in to write up their notes and have a break and we have organisations like The Royal Voluntary Service who hold events here.

“Sheltered housing schemes can traditionally be very insular but this is not the case at Great Western Court and our residents enjoy, and benefit from, interaction with others.”

Hilary, who is married with two sons, has also ensured there is a varied activity programme for residents.

She adds: “The health and wellbeing of our residents is my number one priority so I wanted to do something more than just having the occasional coffee morning.

“We have a full and varied programme at Great Western Court, as well as our weekly lunch club, groups like our gardening club and Tai Chi Movement For Well Being we try to link with programmes run by the local health authority and such as the Expert Patients Programme and get talks by the Falls Team and any other Organisations as they become available, it’s all aimed at keeping our residents active, in both body and mind.”

There is no typical day in Hilary’s life. One minute she can be doing an estate walkabout with residents to identify where improvements can be made and the next she can be helping a new resident to settle in to their home or helping support the Residents Committee by taking their minutes and getting contact details for them to keep the entertainments programme varied. If that’s enough, she also helps our maintenance team to carry out telephone surveys with residents living in our homes in other areas.

Hilary adds: “I have a great belief that there are many ways to help older people enjoy their later years and a big one is encouraging them to become involved in the running of the Scheme and helping others to do likewise and I am lucky enough to work for an organisation which shares this passion, so it’s a job I love.”

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