Jackie sat on her sofa in her living room

Jackie, 57, was living in a council flat in a lovely Bedfordshire village, but antisocial behaviour from her neighbours was causing her a great deal of stress.

“I’d had my right leg amputated below the knee, after an operation went wrong, then I had a heart attack, so I was desperate for somewhere where I could live in peace.

“Someone at Central Bedfordshire Council asked if I’d heard of Independent Living. They knew of two places that might be suitable; one in Houghton Regis and here, Chamomile Gardens in Biggleswade, a scheme for people over the age of 55.

“I moved in in January 2023 and straight away I knew this was my forever home. It was meant to be. I haven’t felt so good in years.

“Here, everyone’s lovely; we all get on and my social life is great! I don’t feel like I’ve shut up since I got here!

“Every Wednesday afternoon, about 30 to 40 of us get together for a cuppa in the TV area, and bring biscuits or cake.

“Some Saturday evenings, we gather in the cinema room for drinks, nibbles and pizza. Last time the room was full, so we had to de-camp elsewhere.

“We’ve also had impromptu card nights and, the other week, when we went to the pub for dinner, there were 29 of us.

“We had a party for the King’s Coronation, with a fish and chip supper, a live band and one of the residents here, who sings like Elvis, provided extra entertainment!”

Jackie’s lovingly decorated one-bedroomed apartment has a balcony overlooking the main gardens, and is one of 93 apartments at the Biggleswade Extra Care scheme, which offers independent living with tailored care and support. The scheme has been beautifully furnished with spacious communal areas, and outside there are landscaped gardens for the residents to enjoy.

“Since I’ve been here, my family and friends have all said that I’m back to ‘the old Jackie’.

“It’s definitely a weight off my mum’s mind. She knows if anything happens, there are people here to help me.

“I’m in a good place. I’m really happy, and it’s all thanks to Grand Union.”