Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal saw first-hand the impact modern housing can have on helping to care for a family member when she officially opened two new showhomes at Redrow’sLucas Green development in Whittle-le-woods, Chorley.
Visiting in her capacity as President of Carers Trust, she also met carers from the local area who are combining looking after a loved one with working full-time. These included two Redrow employees, site manager Steve Rimmer and sales consultant Paul Fishwick.
The Princess Royal toured Redrow’s Cambridge and Worcester showhomes and learned how the homes are more accessible to those with mobility issues, including wheelchair users. She was also told about some of the built-in sustainability measures designed to reduce carbon emissions and keep fuel bills to a minimum.
Later the Princess met some of the locally based sub-contractors involved in building the homes and was particularly keen to hear about their commitment to employing and training apprentices.
Receiving a £10,000 donation to Carers Trust – money raised as part of Redrow’s 40th anniversary charity challenge - The Princess Royal thanked Redrow for its support over many years and its general understanding of the situation carers are in. She told guests that people do not plan to be carers and for employers to understand that within their workforce there is a very good chance there will be a carer who may need help in order to stay in work can make a real difference.
She talked about the Trust’s role in ensuring information is readily available to people whenever and wherever they need it and told Redrow: “It is a huge encouragement to Carers Trust to have your support and to know this is very much planning for the long-term in a project such as this. I certainly look forward to that success being spread out and hopefully other housebuilders taking a real interest in what you achieve here.”
The 122 homes at Lucas Green are being built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. As well as special features to reduce emissions, save energy and encourage recycling, this also means they have level threshold access to the front and rear of properties making the gardens as well as the homes more accessible to wheelchair users.
Redrow Homes (Lancashire) managing director Steve Greenhalgh said: “We are mindful of building in an environmentally sensitive and sustainable way. Our new homes are energy efficient, easily adaptable, meeting people’s needs throughout their life cycles, and with disabled access very much in mind. This we achieve through the design of our estates and providing front and rear level access and cloakrooms at ground level. We would hope that in some small way this will help the carers of the future look after those important to them through disability and ill health in their own homes.”
Site manager for the Lucas Green development is Steve Rimmer, whose 82-year-old mum, Ellen, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago. Steve and his family moved her from the Wirral to Chorley, so Steve’s wife Kirstie can be her primary carer. Kirstie gave up her job as a welfare assistant at a local school, while Steve divides his time between his job at Redrow, his three children and helping with the care of his mum in the evenings and at weekends.
After meeting The Princess Royal, Steve said: “It was an honour and a pleasure to meet the Princess. She was very interested in how Redrow has supported me and stressed it was an important role of employers to ensure that their employees can put the needs of their family first in a time of crisis. I’ve worked for Redrow for 10 years and to have a member of the Royal family officially open these showhomes is the highlight of my career.”
Redrow sales consultant Paul Fishwick was also introduced to The Princess Royal. He juggles selling homes at Buckshaw Village, near Chorley, with looking after his 66-year-old mum, Linda, who suffered a stroke following an operation in connection with lung cancer last year.
Currently celebrating its 40th year, Redrow Homes is one of the UK’s leading house builders, operating across England and Wales, with a strong emphasis on high quality family housing in prime locations. Its Heritage Collection of family homes combines traditional looking, ‘Arts & Crafts’ influenced exteriors with bright, modern, high specification interiors. The company has won numerous awards over the years, including, most recently, the 2014 Building Awards Housebuilder of the Year and four consecutive 5* awards in the Home Builder Federation (HBF) annual customer satisfaction survey in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Redrow also collected the Silver award in the Large Housebuilder category of the 2012 and 2013 What House? Awards; the award for best marketing initiative at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Housebuilder Awards and its ‘My Redrow’ online tool won the overall Customer Engagement category at the 2013 Peer Awards for Excellence. Web: www.redrow.co.uk.