WOODCHESTER Valley Village provides independent living for over sixties. I visited during the recent open day and found a welcoming atmosphere, well managed and designed facilities, and a range of attractive and efficient places to live.
One key and particularly welcome characteristic of the Village is the fact it is ‘mutually owned by, and solely run for, the residents’. This avoids the complications and risks associated with sometimes distant and cumbersome business models found in this sector. I had been privy to the Village’s move towards being mutually owned and it is quite obvious this was the right thing to do.
Other special features of the Village include location – it adjoins the National Trust’s Woodchester Park and is nearby Nailsworth with its fabulous range of shops, restaurants and cafes. The Village includes appropriate support for independent living with beautiful gardens, various social activities, services ranging from a library to a regular bus service, and plenty of recreational activities.
In short, a mutual model for a retirement village works well and Woodchester Valley Village is prime example. I hope mutual solutions are encouraged in this sector and in others, as ‘active membership’ becomes increasingly valuable.
Turning to education, I had the pleasure of visiting Uplands Primary School. It has recently been judged as ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED (school inspection) and it is easy to see why this should be so. Vibrant children and effective teachers in an environment properly designed for learning outcomes. Strong leadership and effective governance were both amply on display.
The precise purpose of my visit was to look at the displays of work in connection with the history and development of Stroud. Key themes such as planning, design, heritage, modernity, invention and science were all combined into a brilliant exposition of Stroud. This was nothing less than excellent, made all the more so by the confident and informative oral descriptions from the children.
My focus on the Education Select Committee is all about delivering a school system where aspiration, learning and opportunity are the cornerstones of the school experience. Uplands Primary School demonstrates how this can be done.