Paul's blog

Well, it’s been quite a week. The annual HIA and handyperson awards are always a special day in the calendar, but to attend my first as Director of Foundations was a real privilege. I also had the honour of being a judge this year, so got to read all of the entries with great examples and innovation and collaboration from right across the country.

Particular congratulations go to the winners of the ‘big three’ awards who take their place in the HIA Hall of Fame:

  • Agency of the Year, for the second time in three years, went to West of England Care and Repair;
  • Handyperson Service of the Year went to Manchester Care & Repair for an unprecedented third time; and
  • Lancaster HIA were a first time winner of the Adaptations Service of the Year.

I was very pleased that so many of our commercial partners were able to join us at the House of Lords and take part in the celebrations. They’re as keen as we all are to see HIA services flourish and their support is enabling us to do even more to make that happen.

No appearance from Lionel Ritchie this year (sorry Carlisle) but a very busy day in Parliament with helicopters buzzing around catching prime ministers, old and new, entering and leaving.

The following day I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the College of Occupational Therapists Awards. They were held in the grandeur and opulence of Drapers' Hall in the City of London. Full of ornate features and oil paintings of the Royal Family. The awards ceremony was preceded by wine and canapés which made a very nice change for a Thursday lunchtime. The awards were presented by the Princess Royal, to mark her 30 years of patronage to the College.

A few days later and I’m back in London on the hottest day of the year for the launch of a new fact pack on housing and ageing from the International Longevity Centre (ILC). They had the brilliant idea to launch the pack with a pub quiz in an actual pub in the City of London.

So once again I was faced with wine, and tapas this time, while answering questions on housing, ageing and the ILC. Turned out my specialist subject was the back catalogue of American band They Might be Giants as I got most of the housing questions wrong. But somehow I still ended up on the winning team! This came as something of a shock to the whole team as we were some way off the pace at the half way stage.

The fact pack itself is full of lots of great analysis of the UK housing market and how it impacts upon an ageing population – both over time and in comparison to other countries. For our sector, two of the five priorities have particular significance: The need to improve housing quality in the private rented sector and ensuring home adaptations are available to those who need them.

Anyone for a HIA pub quiz?

If you haven’t seen it already, the English Housing Survey have published a new report on adaptations and accessibility of homes. Lots of information on who needs adaptations, who’s already got them and why those that haven’t, haven’t. For the latter cohort the main reasons given are (1) not enough time and (2) could not afford it – both target groups for HIAs. The report also found that 10% wanted to move rather than adapt.