“I never knew that a place like White Willows existed, and what a brilliant place it is.

At South Yorkshire Housing Association we have 7 extra-care schemes across the region, which hundreds of people aged 55 and over happily call home. White Willows is based in Sheffield, as is The Meadows, and the above quote was shared by Pat – one of our lovely residents.


We think our extra-care schemes are incredibly special places to live, but (like Pat) many people still don’t know that they exist or know about the impact living there can have on people’s quality of life.

Since March 2020 our extra-care schemes have come into their own, providing what we all desperately wanted for our loved ones during a time of global crisis – the best chance of safety and protection.

Whilst it’s safe to say that protection during a viral pandemic wasn’t an influencing factor in the design plans for our extra-care buildings, the way in which they were built have helped provide exactly that.

Our extra care schemes are made up of lots of individual, self-contained flats which not only allows for independence, but also meant there was significantly reduced opportunity for Covid-19 to spread amongst residents.

Automated doors reduced the number of touch points for residents and visitors, and the wide corridors (which are naturally designed for those residents who might use wheelchairs and scooters) have provided ample space for social distancing.

The space has also allowed us to carry on safely providing activities to prevent isolation including: doorstep bingo, corridor concerts with world-class musicians (who would normally have been touring), garden fitness classes, corridor quizzes, and more!

Each flat being an individual home has meant that every person had the right to have visitors from their bubble, and our garden spaces provided a place for family and friends to come together when the rules allowed – something which has had a huge impact on the wellbeing of our residents and their families.

Having self-contained flats also meant that we were able to welcome people home from hospital sooner than we’d otherwise have been able. This has not only been a huge factor for wellbeing, but in many cases has also removed residents from imminent risk in hospitals. In addition to this, our strong links with local GPs has enabled us to access vaccinations for priority residents sooner.

We’re really proud to have brilliant teams of experienced, resilient, and kind housing management staff on site for all our extra care locations, and since March 2020 they have been able to react to changing government guidance, provide support, and be consistent friendly faces (albeit from behind a mask) in an incredibly tough time.

All these factors have led to a staggeringly low number of infection rates in comparison to the very sad numbers reported from care homes. And whilst we are immensely grateful that the design of the buildings, and our residents’ diligent efforts in keeping one another safe, has been so successful this last year, we are now all very much looking forward to joining together again and enjoying the real benefits of why they were built.

Our extra-care services are communities in themselves, located within vibrant local communities close to amenities. They have beautiful gardens, catering facilities, hairdressers, parking spaces, and wonderful reputations amongst their local areas (thank you again to all those businesses and organisations who reached out with kindness to our residents during Covid-19).

In usual times they are buzzing with laughter, stories and people trying new things, as well as embracing their favourite pastimes. You can find connection if you would like it, and you can enjoy the peace of your home and the views out the window in the times you’d prefer that. All our schemes offer the chance for varying levels of care to be introduced (should you find you ever need it) and, in the words of Pat, they are ultimately, a “brilliant place” to live.

At South Yorkshire Housing Association we have 7 extra-care schemes including:

• White Willows – Sheffield
• The Meadows – Sheffield
• Stonelow Court – Dronfield
• Whinn Dale – Wakefield
• Whitfield House – Glossop
• Westmeads – Barnsley
• Newsome Vale (retirement village) – Barnsley

If you would like to find out more about living with us, or would like to talk about plans for a loved one, please call 0800 1380 380 or email enquiries@syha.co.uk.