OAPs in East End get ‘new lease of life’ with Gateway home heating deal

Gateway Housing's services director Jane Ball

Gateway Housing's services director Jane Ball - Credit: Gateway Housing

Hundreds of pensioners over 70 have been given help to maintain their independence in their homes in London’s East End and improve their heating and living conditions. They have had visits from housing staff who called in on 429 OAPs in a two-month pilot programme, a housing association’s annual meeting heard.

Gateway Housing's AGM

Gateway Housing's AGM - Credit: Gateway Housing

“We have shown what’s possible,” Gateway housing association’s services director Jane Ball said. “We reach out to older people and make a difference to their health and wellbeing.”

The association’s Winter Warmers programme, set up with NHS Tower Hamlets GPs’ Clinical Commissioning group, created a detailed picture of hundreds of individual needs of Gateway’s older tenants.

These included 122 referred to day centres, 81 getting advice on coping with fuel bills, 58 helped with claiming welfare benefits, 55 having radiators made more efficient and 12 having repairs to extractor fans and smoke detectors.

It also included welfare and benefit entitlement, while two pensioners were helped to register with a local GP.

Gateway Housing's services director Jane Ball

Gateway Housing's services director Jane Ball - Credit: Gateway Housing

The GP Commissioning Group’s chief, Jane Milligan, told Gateway’s annual meeting at the City’s Bishopsgate Institute on Monday: “Good housing leads to good health and wellbeing. The Winter Warmers programme recognises that and supports elderly people to be healthier, happier and safer in their homes.”

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One thankful family told the meeting that their 85-year-old aunt had been “so cosy and warm” since her new heating system was installed in her flat.

Gateway is a community-based housing association with 2,800 properties mainly in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It was set up in 2008 when Bethnal Green & Victoria Park housing association, which was established back in 1926, merged with Labo housing association. Its first scheme at Queen Margaret Flats in Bethnal Green, still managed by Gateway today, was opened in 1929.

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