Caring in action - Police Pensioners Housing Association
It is a matter of fact that many serving officers and even some active members of NARPO - do not know that the Police Pensioners' Housing Association (PPHA) exists, or who it is for. It is a national charity that provides sheltered accommodation for retired police officers and their families at subsidised rents.
The idea - sheltered housing, like the armed forces and some livery companies provide -was first mooted in 1966 by our President, Don Milburn MBE, then a Police Federation Representative. After a survey in the April 1966 Quarterly Bulletin of the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO), his proposal brought PPHA into being. As Don observed, most police officers retire on pension and take on new careers, and it is many years later - when the Service has largely forgotten them - that they may need some help. "Welfare", once such a strong trait of the Police Service, is almost nonexistent today for retired officers and their widows or widowers. The scheme is run entirely by volunteers.
At present, PPHA's tenants are pensioners, or their widows, from eight forces (Avon & Somerset, City of London, Essex, Northumbria, Metropolitan, Staffordshire, and Sussex). The oldest resident is 97 years of age, 10 tenants are over 80, and the average age is 76 years. Regrettably, some tenants' pensions are so small that they are obliged to claim State Benefits. Tenants have to be able to look after themselves, albeit with some help - if necessary. The rents charged are about two thirds of the local "going rate".
PPHA is now the proud owner of 20 flats and two bungalows in purpose-built retirement complexes, in Sussex, that were bought with the help of donations, legacies, a lottery run by London Branch of NARPO and, above all, the hard work and devotion of a small group of supporters. The properties, all built less than 20 years ago, have either one or two bedrooms. Flats on the ground floor are easily accessible; most of those on the upper floor have stair lifts. There is a manager on site, a doctor's surgery across the road, and village shops a few hundred yards away. Here is what some of our tenants think:
"About three years ago we returned to the UK from Spain and were in desperate need for accommodation. Like many other retired officers from the North of England I had never heard about the PPHA. Secretary Bob Davies showed us round and immediately we thought that this was a wonderful place. We now feel very privileged to reside at 'The Croft'. (John Bryan, Staffordshire pensioner)
"It's a very, very nice place for anybody who would like to live in peace and quiet. On the other hand you have complete freedom of movement here, but company around you if you so require. We've got everything here really. (Alan Finnimore, Met. pensioner)
"I was in difficult circumstances and needed somewhere else to live and I couldn't find anywhere…I had a letter about [The Croft] so I applied to the Secretary and he sent me a form, and the rest is history. (Brenda Skinner, widow of an ex-Met. officer)
PPHA would dearly like to have similar properties in other parts of the country but experience has shown that strong local support would be vital for making such a scheme work.
If you are interested or want to know more, just call our Honorary Secretary, Bob Davies, on 01243 855673 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. PPHA also has a (7-minute) DVD that can be borrowed from the Secretary.
And you can also lend your support by printing off this form and filling it in.
You can visit the site by clicking here
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