retailTRUST would like to thank The Sobell Foundation for its support of our work in 2013....


Combining the Foundation’s generous award of £10,000.00 at that time with part of a resident legacy, retailTRUST was able to purchase a high quality, used, wheelchair-accessible, petrol vehicle, the total cost of which was £13,995.00.  

The provision of this mobility vehicle at our Marshall Hall Supported Living Estate in North London has meant that our residents need worry no longer about missing events, or being unable to visit with friends and neighbours.

Please see below for an illustration of how this project has benefitted the life of one particular Marshall Hall resident, Helen Petrie.


Born in Aberdeen in 1933, by the time 81 year old Helen Petrie was a teenager she had taken to the stage as an acrobat with a music hall act and was playing all of the grand West End theatres in London.  In the summer months her troupe would take to the road, and Helen would play Blackpool and all the great old British seaside towns. 

Helen entered retail in her twenties, when she went to work selling children’s wear for Maisie’s of Hampstead in London in 1959.  She remained with her chosen trade for 32 years, finally amassing 20 years’ service with Selfridges.  

In 2000, Helen was able to retire to her current home on retailTRUST’s Cottage Homes Marshall Hall Estate
in North London.  

Her uncommon past has not left Helen without difficulty, however.  She continues to suffer from a back injury sustained on the big stage all those years ago, and now also suffers from very bad arthritis in her legs, as well as a degree of cognitive impairment.    

These conditions mean that Helen can find it very challenging to negotiate the very steep hundred-year-old estate unaided.  

The mobility vehicle that The Sobell Foundation helped retailTRUST to provide for its Marshall Hall Estate last year has opened up grounds and facilities once more for residents like Helen.  

Because of the vehicle, the community centre at Marshall Hall, where activities such as bingo and carpet bowls, classes and special occasions bring residents together as a community, encouraging social interaction, as well as the type of low-level physical activity recommended for older people by the NHS, is once again within easy reach.

Without the mobility vehicle – especially in the winter months – residents like Helen would rarely take even the short walk to the estate hub, fearing that they would be unable to complete the journey, or worse, that they might fall.

According to the NHS, adults aged 65 and over spend an average of 10 hours each day sitting or lying down, and – for those who stop moving – movement itself becomes increasingly more difficult.  

A person whose ability to move is restricted is at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, loneliness, depression and dementia.   He or she might become prone to aches and pains and have less energy – or inclination – to go out.  He or she may even become MORE susceptible to falling – even further impairing movement.   

Conversely, encouraging physical activity and exercise can help older people remain healthy, energetic and independent.  The Department of Health states, “Older adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits, including maintenance of good physical and cognitive function.” (Physical activity guidelines for older adults 65+ years, DoH, 2011)

With this project, retailTRUST hoped to ensure that all of its London residents would be able to access the activities and social life available at the estate, thereby helping to safeguard their health and happiness for as long possible.  

With the very kind assistance of The Sobell Foundation – and assurances from Helen – we are making that hope a reality.

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