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Caring Diane shortlisted for top award

A sheltered officer in one of Shrewsbury’s best known retirement living communities has been shortlisted for a national award.

Diane Chandler retired this summer after 36 years as sheltered officer at Edgefield Green. Next month she will attend the prestigious Women in Housing Awards at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester, where she is among the finalists for the Community Leader/Unsung Hero of the Year award.

Diane worked for Housing Plus Group which is introducing the Care Plus At Home service in Shropshire, providing care and support to help people live independently in their own homes both in sheltered schemes like Edgefield Green and in the wider community.

Sarah Boden is chief executive of Housing Plus Group: “Diane lived and breathed her role for 36 years,” she said. “We are delighted that she has received the recognition that she deserves as someone with an exceptional commitment to helping older people live independently among friends, make their own choices and get more out of life.”

Diane helped to launch the famous Edgefield Greenfingers Gardening Club which turned the Bicton Heath neighbourhood into a colourful tourist attraction. Beginning by transforming communal spaces into a stunning flower show, the residents planted new beds, hung colourful baskets and set to work on their own gardens. Children at the neighbouring pre-school had their own space to plant, helped by the residents.

“Loneliness is a very significant issue for older people,” Diane explains. “For me it has always been about providing a focal point and ensuring that residents have the opportunity to feel part of a thriving community.”

The Women in Housing Awards will be presented on 2 November 2017.