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A Year of Success in Birmingham

04 April 2011

Oldest villager Bella Shevlin, who has learned to walk again at the age of 97, took the first slice of a giant birthday cake prepared by fellow resident Arthur McCullagh. Both joined over 300 residents to celebrate a year of success at New Oscott Village, Birmingham's flagship 260-home retirement scheme which opened in Erdington during March 2010.

Bella came to the Village six months ago and working with Village gym instructor Rachael Smith is taking her first steps again. Bella says: "I came to the Village six months ago in a wheelchair from hospital and I was unable to use my legs. Now I am in the gym four times a week and, with the help of Rachael, walking again. You don't expect to get a new life at my age - but in this place I have." Bella is one of 330 residents now living in a busy community which has 49 resident-led weekly activity groups, a 185-member fitness gym and a thriving volunteer programme where residents and visitors representing all age groups help run the Village's health and leisure facilities.

The Village's award-winning Well-being Service which, to date, has reported a 15.2% overall improvement in residents' health scores, when measured against typical criteria including sleep, fitness, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and spiritual well-being.

A partnership between Birmingham City Council, The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, Midland Heart, the Homes & Communities Agency and The Department of Health, New Oscott is already over-subscribed with 152 people on the waiting list to rent affordable homes, and a further 72 reservations from householders waiting to purchase properties within the fully-occupied Village.

Elaine Elkington, Strategic Director, Housing and Constituencies, Birmingham City Council, commented: "I am delighted to be here today to share this happy celebration with New Oscott staff and residents. A year on, the Village still looks fabulous and it is a tribute to the energy and enthusiam of the residents and staff who live and work here."

Tom Murtha, Chief Executive of Midland Heart, said: "Today epitomises all that is good about this Village and the partnership that has ensured its success. It has been a real pleasure to see residents and staff united and so positive about their future."

Nick Abbey, Chief Executive of the ExtraCare Charitable Trust, said: "The residents have taken ownership of this Village and are driving its success forward, in partnership with a dedicated staff team. I would like to thank them for all they have done to support this Village's success so wholeheartedly."

For further information, please contact: Richard Tower at ExtraCare. M: 0772 055 3658.