Kathy is Home Manager at Beaverbrook House, one of our sheltered homes offering independent living for those retired from print and the allied trades. She spoke with us about her role and the benefits of living in an almshouse.   

What’s involved in being manager at Beaverbrook? 

I’m here to make sure that our residents are safe and well as their wellbeing is our number one priority. They all get a welfare check of a morning at their door to ensure they’re fit and well and just to say hello. Pretty much all of the residents here are ex-printers so they have a lot in common to talk about. Some residents still have contacts with where they worked, and they have a sense of pride in living at Beaverbrook. 

There’s a lot that goes into the maintenance of the homes behind the scenes, which I help to keep on top of. The small team who work with me at Beaverbrook alongside the charity’s head office do a fantastic job to make sure residents have the best space to live in.  

Although we are not a care home, we are here to support our residents if they are facing life’s challenges, so my role naturally involves a lot of counselling, both with residents and their families which can at times involve difficult conversations.  

What sort of social events do you get up to? 

We hold coffee mornings, and have communal group activities like knitting and painting. We’ve worked on a crochet project where we sent essential items to Africa alongside the local hospital. There is something for everyone if they want to get involved, with line dancing and keep fit classes, to piano sing-alongs.  

What is your favourite part of your role? 

I like to hear my residents laugh and don’t like to see them unhappy. I really enjoy hearing their life stories, some of which even their families might not know. I do get quite attached to all my residents and try to be there for them when they need me most. I enjoy watching new residents feel happy in their new home, and when they have spent time away, they are so glad to be back.   

What do you see as the benefit to living in an almshouse? 

Living in an almshouse means you are surrounded by like-minded people, who offer good security and support to each other when needed. It takes away the isolation that can sometimes come from living alone. This leads to positive interactions in a similar age group of people, which again leads to family reassurance that their relatives are living well.  

Read more about almshouses and The Printing Charity’s rich almshouse history.