Alan Jones and Andrew Orchard - Winner: Outstanding Neighbour Award

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Good neighbours are crucial, and when you live in a retirement development a good neighbour can be a life line. Lots of older people are still seeking to be active and included, and this is the case for residents at Grange Court in Solihull.

The Court is a friendly retirement housing development based in a beautiful setting with a good supportive community, and fantastic neighbours.  Alan Jones and Andrew Orchard fall into the latter category, which is why they won the Outstanding Neighbours Award.

Since moving into their retirement flat Alan and Andrew have created a real sense of community for their neighbours. They have introduced a programme of leisure activities, fun, and help for their neighbours.

Alan and Andrew, good neighbours of many and residents at Grange Court, said:

"It was a complete surprise to us, we had no idea we’d even been nominated, let alone, that we actually won - we were chuffed. And a little birdie told us that our lovely friend Margery was behind the nomination. It’s fantastic, but we really weren't expecting it.

“It’s lovely that people think of us in this way, as we don’t think twice about the kind of things we do for the people who live around us. It’s just about making life a little bit more pleasant for those in our community.

“They’re such a lovely bunch of people here, which is why it feels completely natural to organise activities like cinema trips, theatre outings and day’s out. For us, the people we live with are a bit like an extended family, we’ve formed a real sense community spirit. 

“At first there were only half a dozen of us, but as the numbers have grown we have made a real effort to involve new residents.  We’ve introduced a newsletter which tells people about upcoming activities and everyone loves the monthly fish and chips night. It’s been going strong for the past three years and it’s really popular.

“More people are getting involved now and they’re suggesting new activities, which is great, it’s good to have a good mix of things. Next on the list is planning the Christmas lunch and the New Year’s Eve party. We tend to do a lot of the organising of events, and it’s nice to see things come to fruition. It gives everyone a real lift when they all come together, and it’s good because people aren’t cooped up in their flats feeling isolated. They’re interacting with each other and enjoying themselves, which has to be good for them and their overall wellbeing.

“Andrew tends to do the more practical things for the neighbours around the flats. Alan is the one who gets called in to deal with things such as computer niggles It’s just little things really, but it helps and makes people’s lives a bit easier. For us it’s all about helping other residents and being part of a community, which is what enjoying life’s all about at Grange Court.”

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