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Meet our homeowners: Mick from Salisbury

Meet Mick one of our homeowners at Chapters in Salisbury. Mick tells us about what moving to Platinum Skies has meant for him.

What lead to your move to Platinum Skies in Salisbury?

I moved to Chapters because my wife sadly died 13 months ago. I was living in a three-bedroom house with quite a large garden and it was quite a large house. I spent six months in that property on my own and I just thought that I couldn’t cope with that. It was well beyond me as an individual and I have a little bit of mobility problems such as going up and down stairs. My son said about going to see the properties in Chapters, so I came to have a look at the apartment and I saw the facilities. I am so, so happy here. I’ve never looked back and I am so pleased that I came and took up the offer of moving here. I have made so many friends. So many people are happy to chat, and we get on so well. You can come and go as you want. Your freedom is there. We have a bistro and so you can have food whenever you want, so if you were not a really good cook or you didn’t want to cook, you could get a bistro meal every day or you can have it brought to the apartment. They have coffee mornings. It’s superb. People can just be together and they are happy. We have lovely benches and lovely grounds. We can have coffee outside and a little chat. It really is nice.

I heard about Platinum Skies from my son who works in Gloucester which is 70 miles away. He asked if I had heard of Platinum Skies properties. Being a housing officer with the local authority, I knew there was some development going on. He said he had already contacted Jes who is one of the salesmen. We went into the apartments and we were there. Because it’s retirement living rather than a retirement home, you have your own freedom so that was immediately a big draw. I can come and go as I want. I didn’t have to sign in and out. Nobody was looking after me and knocking on my door to see how I am. It was fresh, it was freedom. I could come in my apartment and it would be home, rather than a spare three bedrooms upstairs like in my previous property. It’s a joy. It really is.”

What is the community at Platinum Skies like?

“In terms of community, it has been difficult over the past year with being in and out of the lockdowns. We have the bistro where everyone can go and we can meet for coffee mornings. We’d have Christmas functions there and that was lovely. Everybody really enjoyed themselves. During the lockdowns, the chef has been doing takeaway meals which are delivered to your door. The rest of the facilities have been locked down. We have lots of function rooms. There’s lots going on and lots planned. We have a committee set up with about five people and they’re organising lots of things after asking what people would like such as fish and chip suppers and trips out. Everybody wants to be part of the events.”

I think the best bit about living at Chapters is the security that you have got. Although nobody is knocking on your door every five minutes and you have your own freedom, but it’s the security you’ve got. We’ve got a Lifestyle Manager and a Maintenance team so if anything goes wrong, we’ve got somebody that can come and sort it. It’s just complete freedom.  We’ve got the freedom so we can and go when we want but we also have the support of the community manager and the maintenance team if you have any snags. It’s the people that you meet who, many of which have very sadly lost their partners. A lot of them have lost their husbands or wives and they’re looking to have an adventure with people, chatting. Their lives are so interesting. It’s a really lovely place.”

Mick outside his platinum skies apartment

How does shared ownership benefit you?

“I had heard of shared ownership before but because you can come in and buy a property for 50%, then you rent the rest of the property. You pay service charges and ground rent, which you would in a complex. With the shared ownership scheme, which I wasn’t fully aware of when I started, you can own your own property, but you only need to use about 50% of the equity of your property. You own 50% of your property here, you pay rent on the rest and your money that you have got left from the sale of your property you can keep. In fact, I have worked out that I have enough money from the sale of my house to live here until I am 100 without taking any money from my monthly income or my outgoings or whatever. That money covers me as opposed to people having equity release which costs them money. This is peace of mind.

“The financial freedom now with that money is stored in the bank. I can spend it on whatever, which could be holidays, my family, but because of losing my wife and other insurances that we had, I’ve been able to let my children have some money, which they don’t really need, but they can have it now while they want to do other things, rather than later. The money that I have got stored in the bank is going to pay for my rent without fail. It’s peace of mind. You haven’t got to pay anything. Without taking your own finances, your pensions and it’s completely covered. That is the good thing about shared ownership, which I didn’t know about until I came here.

“The key thing is that you have moved to a place while you’re relatively fit where you can live comfortably here and you don’t have to worry about when you can’t live in that place anymore, and have to move into a care home. People are happy here. They can cope here.

What has surprised you about Platinum Skies in Salisbury?

What surprised me about Chapters when I first arrived is that it wasn’t the care home type of properties that I thought it was going to be. It’s like having lots of apartments on your own with your own access key. People come and go whenever they want. The layout was completely different from what I expected it to be. The more I have into the place and the more people I have met, they are so, so nice. It’s freedom and more to it, it’s freedom that’s released me from memories of what I had with my wife for 42 years, which are fantastic memories but I have brought them with me. She would be so pleased that I have moved on. I haven’t got the worry of a three-bedroom house and garden and all of the maintenance, which I haven’t got to worry about. You have the money which pays for half and you pay the rent, which comes out of your bank and it’s peace of mind. I was shocked. My son encouraged me to come and I did and until I came, I was a little sceptical about if it would be the place for me, but when I was shown around, it was just something that shocked me. Everybody knows how much I like the place. I have some elderly friends and that might turn the place, as you’re free to come and go as you want. There’s so much going on with so many activities that they organise, it’s lovely.”

Mick homeowner at Chapters in Salisbury

Would you recommend Chapters in Salisbury?

You cannot beat this. I was sceptical when my son first said about this. I was on my phone on FaceTime to my daughter and my son who is up in Gloucester. We just quickly decided that it was the place for me. It’s lovely. I love it.

I have already three people who have very large houses. They have masses of stuff in their homes and they’re on their own as their children have grown up and moved away. One of them is going to be coming to have a look. They have to be like me and they have to be ruthless. You can come here and bring the stuff that you want, all of your personal goods.

I would recommend Chapters. I just love this place and nobody can ever take that away from me. My daughter and my son are so pleased for me that I have made a go of it and am really enjoying the whole place.

I go and help my daughter three days a week for a half day. If you don’t have a car, there’s a bus stop right outside of Chapters which has four or five bus stops. Some of the people who live here walk into town and walk back again.

I have spoken to two ladies who will come and clean the property for me once a week. It will give me a chance to do other things. I have had comments that it’s like a holiday home at Chapters.

Chapters give me independence because I have an electronic fob so I can go in and out of the doors as I want. Three half-days a week I go and sit with my daughter’s children while I go to work. I can come and go to access that all the time. I can come and go day and night. Just over the road there’s a bus stop with three or four bus routes to town. 10 minutes down the road from here I can go to the park. It’s lovely. It’s absolutely perfect. It’s all on the ground level. You don’t have to worry about people coming in to see you, unless you need help in which case there is somebody on the other end of the phone. They will give you help.

Come and experience Platinum Skies in Salisbury yourself

Prices at Chapters start from £120,000 for an apartment and £252,500 for a cottage or house, based on the buyer paying 50% of the property’s full market value. The homes at Chapters are made affordable as part of a government-backed shared ownership scheme delivered in partnership with Homes England. Commonly known as part-buy, part-rent, shared-ownership homes enable people to move and potentially downsize from their existing home which may no longer be suitable for their needs while freeing up money from the sale of the property to use on other life events.

To reserve an appointment at Chapters, call the team on 0808 301 0649.

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