These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the National League South in a swanky new ground. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Published in the Southern South and West League game v Winchester
City. Slough beat the bottom club 4-0 in front of 250 very cold

I make no apologies for forgetting about football in this column (well
we have had a forgettable last couple of months). Instead I’m going to
tell you about my dads amazing new flat. So what? Well this isn’t any
ordinary flat, nor is it a room in a ‘care home for the elderly.’ No
this is state of the art apartment, where my dad can ‘live
independently but within a supportive environment.’ And what an
environment! And what support!

There’s a spacious restaurant, where lunch is included in the rent
meaning everyone has to come down and socialize at dinner time and not
be stuck in their flats never seeing a soul. Visitors can also eat
there –before the Bracknell game I had poached egg on toast for 50p!
Next to the restaurant is a lounge overlooking the garden. There’s a
gym, a hairdressers, library, cinema, shop, and guest rooms for people
when they are visiting. The residents are encouraged to get involved
in the running of the place and rooms are also available for hire, so
different groups can use the space and make the place part of the
community, rather than a gated ‘old-people only’ community. The place
is wardened and there is always a nurse on hand with each resident
having an individual care package tailored to suit their needs. On top
of this is incredibly friendly and helpful staff.

The home at Northampton Avenue is part of Sloughs Extra Care housing
and is built on the site of the old Centre swimming pool in front of
Herschel school. It’s a partnership between Slough Council and the
charity Hanover Housing and another one is being built at the top end
of the Wexham Road. Although rent is expensive, my dad isn’t rich or
has money stashed away in the Cayman Islands, so with the right advice
and plenty of form filling he should have enough to get by.

I also have to sing the praises of all the council workers I have
dealt with, who have bent over backwards to help my dad and I’m sure
are sick of the sound of my voice. This is in stark contrast to the
utilities and private companies who try and rip people off at every
opportunity, and could take a leaf out of the council’s social
services department’s ability to communicate properly.

I really wonder how people are meant to cope, especially older people,
with the relentless amount of paperwork and bureaucracy that’s needed
to get by in our society, especially when moving home. When my dad was
first getting grief from a particularly unpleasant occupational
therapist, the council told me to contact Age Concern. Like a lot of
older people, my dad was insistent he didn’t need help from anybody.
Age Concern sent along Rashpal Singh who was so persuasive without
being pushy my dad relented and started to access services and money
he was entitled too. Rash has taken him to appointments when me or my
brother can’t get time off work, knowing where to go and who to
contact, generally just being there for him.

Getting old doesn’t always look much fun – but with more Extra Care
supportive housing the loneliness and isolation many older people
suffer, can be a thing of the past. Slough Council are apparently
trailblazers when it comes to support for the elderly, so if
Betjeman’s bombs ever do fall in Slough, I hope they miss this amazing
new housing development that all the residents of Slough should be
extremely proud of.


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