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August 2019
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Champion of older people's housing and support retires

A leading campaigner, who has championed older people’s housing and support needs, is retiring after 35 years working in social policy and older people’s housing.

As a founder member of the national consortium of sheltered and retirement housing (ERoSH), Imogen Parry is retiring from her position as Director of Policy for ERoSH, as well as her wider work as a consultant.

Imogen’s career has included working as a senior lecturer in social policy, senior policy manager (older people) at Sanctuary Housing Association, and a freelance sheltered housing consultant and trainer.

Imogen, aged 60, joined other like-minded campaigners in 1998 to create ERoSH following the successful Emerging Role of the Warden project, which focused on the role of sheltered housing within effective community care.

Since ERoSH’s inception Imogen has used her passion for raising awareness of the potential benefits of sheltered housing amongst health and social care professionals to be an influential figure in the sheltered housing policy arena.

Chair of ERoSH, Jo McTavish, said: -Imogen’s contribution to ERoSH, as a founder member, trustee and Director of Policy has been immeasurable. Imogen has made an immense contribution to ERoSH and sheltered housing in general during her career.

-All the trustees at ERoSH would like to thank Imogen for her dedication and time over the years. Imogen and ERoSH have been intrinsically linked together and her role as Director of Policy has been influential in building the profile and success of the organisation.

Imogen, who was previously Chair of ERoSH, has been involved in the Ministerial Working Group for Sheltered Housing, and has spoken at dozens of conferences, written articles and co-authored two editions of the CIH ‘Sheltered and Retirement Housing – a good practice guide’ and written five other good practice guides relating to sheltered housing.

Imogen explained: -I am very sad to be leaving ERoSH which has given me an ideal outlet for my views about the undervalued and neglected role of sheltered housing buildings and staff, and the need for better partnership working with other agencies. But the timing of reaching 60 at the same time as having three new grandchildren has led me to make this decision to leave the sector. I will continue however to offer safeguarding adults training to housing staff, on a part-time basis.

Bruce Moore Chief Executive of Hanover Housing, which is a member of ERoSH, said: -Imogen will leave a huge gap. She has been such a passionate champion of the case for sheltered and retirement housing and in many respects has defined ERoSH.

Since Imogen helped form ERoSH some of her key achievements with the organisation have included:

Working extensively with ministers and civil servants on the sheltered housing agenda. Her political influence was evidenced by Imogen’s articles being quoted by MPs in the Adjournment Debate and Parliamentary Question.

Contributing to the pressure on government to set up a review of sheltered housing, which resulted in the Ministerial Working Group on Sheltered Housing being formed. Imogen represented ERoSH on the Ministerial Working Group during 2009.

Contributing to the public debate on sheltered and retirement housing in the media, which has raised the profile of ERoSH. Imogen has drafted position statements for ERoSH to clarify its views on resident staff, allocations, and needs led services etc, as well as representing ERoSH on BBC Breakfast and Panorama.

Consistently emphasised, through a range of platforms, the importance of joint working between sheltered housing and other agencies. Imogen has promoted best practice in the management of sheltered housing through joined up working with social and health care providers. She has worked to raise awareness of sheltered housing amongst health professionals through her work around malnutrition amongst older people.

Contributed to the training and development of sheltered housing staff, including in adult protection. Imogen has promoted awareness of sheltered housing staff amongst adult protection staff and other social care staff through work on safeguarding the role of sheltered housing staff.

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