Renting an apartment in a retirement development through Girlings Retirement Rentals has given keen traveller Susan Wiggins a fresh start since her return from Cambodia in 2017.
Susan lived in Cambodia for six and a half years where she had set up and run a residential housing project called Honour Village. She created the project after going on holiday there and seeing the need for a locally-run, well managed project to help local orphaned children and other vulnerable community members.
However, after managing it for several years, she felt at the age of 75 that it was time for her to leave it in the hands of the local Cambodian people.
Susan explains, “I realised I couldn’t stay in Cambodia forever – I wasn’t getting any younger and I felt the time was right to leave the project in the capable hands of those running it.
“When I returned to the UK, I initially moved in with my sister, but I wanted my independence and decided I would move back to the Isle of Wight, which is where I am originally from.”
Susan was born on the Isle of Wight but moved to the mainland with her parents when she was five. After growing up in Barton on Sea she enjoyed a successful career as a primary school teacher and married a lovely man called Michael.
At the age of 40, she had to take early retirement after being diagnosed with Lupus disease, an incurable immune system illness. Around this time, she separated from her husband, although they remain great friends today.
Sue move back to the Isle of Wight to be near her parents who had returned to the island some years earlier. During the next 30 years she spent time with her parents, looking after her father when he got ill and travelling independently as much as she could. When her father died, she still travelled a lot with her mum too and they spent most winters in Malta together.
When her mother died in 2004, Sue bought a bungalow on the Isle Wight but continued travelling extensively, until she started the project in Cambodia. She then sold her bungalow to help fund the project, so after returning to the UK she needed to find somewhere to rent.
Susan says, “My sister kindly let me stay with her, but I soon realised I needed somewhere of my own. I wanted to return to the Isle of Wight so started looking for a home. I came across two properties through Girlings Retirement Rentals – one of which was absolutely perfect for me.”
Susan found a second floor apartment at Homewight House in Newport, in the centre of the island. This historic town centres around two elegant squares with Georgian and Victorian architecture surrounding them and the town’s quay is just a short distance away.
Homewight House is a lovely retirement development for people aged 60 and over which offers independent living, but there is a on site manager and a Careline alarm system installed in each apartment
Susan says, “When I saw the apartment, I thought it was wonderful. It had everything I needed. The bathroom and kitchen had recently been refurbished and the whole place was beautiful. It is upstairs which gives me privacy, plus it’s close to the centre of Newport. I decided to take it.”
Susan moved in in September 2017 and loves living there. She rents on an assured tenancy which gives her the peace of mind that she can stay for as long as wants. This security of tenures was very important to her, as was living in a community and having an on-site manager.”
Susan explains, “It’s great to know that I will never be asked to leave and that I can live here for the as long as I can manage on my own. The house manager is lovely and very kind and helpful. I’m really enjoying the social side of living in a retirement community. Many of us meet downstairs once a day and sometimes we have curry nights or fish and chip suppers, which are great fun.”
Susan keeps herself busy. She still sees her husband Michael twice a week and can nip over on the ferry to the mainland to see her sister. She is also active in the local Methodist church and has hobbies including bead work and card making. Recently she started doing a functional maths course which has been keeping her busy, particularly as she is in quarantine due to the coronavirus.
She adds, “I really love living here. I have the space to be able to just get on with the things I enjoy, but I also have people here who I can chat to when I want. Girlings are a brilliant company and are very helpful. I never feel like a nuisance when I call up and they always have time for me.
“I don’t have any involvement now with the Cambodian project, but I am kept up to date and love hearing about what is happening with the children. I am glad though I made the move back to the Isle of Wight and the project continues to run successfully. I feel very settled and content living here now after all my wonderful travelling experiences.”
For more information about Girlings visit: www.girlings.co.uk