Whiteley Homes Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of Rod Bennion OBE as its new Chair with immediate effect.
The Trust owns and operates Whiteley Village in Walton on Thames, Surrey – a unique almshouse village community for 500 older people of limited financial means. It provides 25% of the specialist housing for the elderly in the borough of Elmbridge and a recent study of the Trust’s records of its first one hundred years noted that, on average, Whiteley residents live up to five years longer than the national average.
Rod is deeply experienced across the residential property and care sectors, with a particular passion for providing choices in housing and care for all. His distinguished career includes serving as Group Chief Operating Officer for The Wates Group and as non-executive Chairman of Home Group, the largest housing association provider of care and housing to vulnerable people in the UK.
He was for many years Chairman of St Christopher’s Hospice in South East London, the founding hospice of the modern hospice movement – a role he describes as the best he has ever had the privilege to hold. Rod was Chairman of The Construction Youth Trust from 2000-2014 and his passion for the not-for-profit sector spans being a trustee of the Worshipful Company of Lightmongers Charitable Trust, which supports people with sensory deprivation.
Commenting on his appointment, Rod said:
“I am delighted to be joining Whiteley Homes Trust, a very special community and organisation which brings together several of my personal passions – housing, care and the opportunity to make a real difference to peoples’ enjoyment of life by creating vibrant communities and respecting individuals. Not just for those living in the Village but through the work of the Foundation, developing and sharing best practice with other communities in the UK.”
Chandra McGowan, Chief Executive of the Whiteley Homes Trust added:
“We are delighted to welcome Rod to the organisation. His experience, passion and commitment in developing solutions that enable the provision of excellent services in both Social Housing and Care is inspirational. I am sure Rod’s pragmatic commerciality and clear affinity with the dynamics of the charity sector will be of great value in shaping the future of Whiteley Homes Trust.”
The appointment comes at an important time for the Trust as it prepares to open its new £10.5m care hub in May 2019, providing intensive care capacity for up to 30 people with complex needs associated with old age. The hub is integral to the Trust’s long-term strategy to revolutionise how it provides care within the community. It will also enable the further development of research partnerships with third parties, including Surrey University and UCL, to explore and develop strategies and technological innovations to support and enhance the lives of older people throughout society.
With support from a number of sponsors, in 2017 the Trust launched the Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well with the aim of sharing its knowledge of older people and to learn from others about what it means to live well in later life in the modern world. The Foundation is taking the lead in engaging with others who share its ambition that a long life should also be a good life.