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When my parents got older, I reduced work hours to part time to support them. I didn’t want to put my children in the same position, being here we don’t have to. Here we have everything we need, it’s the banter and the wonderful sense of community that I love, it really is amazing.

Brenda & George

Lark Hill Village

Brenda and husband George have lived at Lark Hill Village for seven months, but they’ve been volunteering there for four years. Ensuring they did their research on whether the village was right for them the duo are now a staple of the community. Brenda talks to us about her experience and why volunteering helped make her decision.

I first found out about Lark Hill after my Mum received an advert for it as it was being built, one of her friends moved in and mum and I came to visit. Instead of mum, we ended up interested. I was blown away. The ethos was excellent. We asked mum’s friend what her neighbours were like at Lark Hill and she said, ‘I don’t know I hardly see them I’m in the ballroom till midnight every night!’ She was 91! We came again and she had been on holiday canoeing and abseiling, it was incredible.

I was immediately struck by the size of the accommodation and how spacious everything seemed, I attended the open day and we put our name on the interest list, at that same time we decided to volunteer at the village, we volunteered for four years and have been here now seven months.

We’ve met a lot of people volunteering, myself and George. He washes pots in the kitchen whilst I serve at the bistro, then he goes to sing for health as well and assists there.

I chatted to many people in the four years I’ve been volunteering, it was useful to hear the feedback about the village and get the opinion of those who lived here and it’s wonderful. Our children aren’t nearby, and when my parents got older, I reduced work hours to part time to support them. I didn’t want to put my children in the same position, being here we don’t have to. We have everything we need and its peace of mind for them to have us here too.    

We came to see a few apartments last year and my husband walked into our now apartment and said ‘yes we’ll have this’, we’re on the second floor and we have beautiful views of everything, deciding on a shared ownership purchase option. We had spent 43 years in our previous home, and we had 3 months to sell in the end, it was emotional and took a lot to do it, but we love it here, it’s what we hoped it would be.

We still have outside lives and our outside friends come to visit, whenever I talked about older age with my friends, I told them I was going to Lark Hill. They all like to come and see it and they all think it’s wonderful.

In my career I was a children’s entertainer for 25 years, my husband was a magician, we were a cabaret act at one time, I’ve been called upon to use those skills here, I’ve helped out with face paint at events and George is in charge of the balloon modelling. We spend a fair amount of time going to dances here too.

It’s about quality of life, I know most people and they know us, the first load of washing I did when I moved in, I was struggling opening the washer door, I hadn’t realised it was time sensitive, a neighbour came and helped me and he still teases me asking about it now. It’s that kind of banter and the wonderful sense of community that I love, it really is amazing.

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