I graduated with a 2:1 BA (Hons) Social Work degree from Keele University (2008).

Previously I had undertaken a 9-month Open University ‘Understanding Health and Social Care’ course where I passed with distinction.

From June 2008, I worked full time for Cheshire East Council as part of the older people’s fieldwork team, firstly based in Macclesfield and then in 2009 based in Congleton undertaking the role as Social Worker/Care Manager. In April 2010, under the agenda for change in the form of Social Care redesign, I was based within the Local Independent Living Team, in the Congleton area. Working as part of this team enabled me to further develop my skills and knowledge as a qualified Social Work Practitioner.

In the summer of 2012, I was accepted for a studentship from the ExtraCare Charitable Trust to study for a PhD. The topic of which is to undertake a unique follow-up study at Berryhill Retirement Village.


  • The British Association of Social Workers (BASW)
  • British Society of Gerontology (BSG)
  • Emerging Researchers in Ageing (ERA)
  • Ageing Research Forum (network of Keele University, Aston University and Worcester University)

Research and scholarship

Research project

Ten Years On: A follow up study of Berryhill Retirement Village

Supervisors: Professor Mo Ray (Lead) and Professor Mim Bernard

The first study carried out at Berryhill retirement village in 2001 provided the basis from which this current doctoral study was developed. This doctoral research project focuses on the population of older people living in Berryhill village. In line with the earlier research conducted at Berryhill (Bernard et al. 2004) and to most appropriately answer the research questions, the emphasis of the research design and conduct was towards collaborative research. In this way residents could directly influence the research, making it more relevant to their everyday lives, experiences and therefore increasing the likelihood that the results of the research will be incorporated into practice and policy (Atkinson & Hammersley, 1994). 

My research project is a unique follow-up study to the original research carried out by Bernard and her colleagues in 2001, which explores the ways in which this retirement community has evolved and responded to residents changing needs over time.  An overarching research aim is to investigate the extent to which Berryhill may be defined as an age friendly community.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) developed the concept “Age Friendly Cities”; the policy is aimed at developing supportive urban environments, defined as encouraging “active ageing by optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age” (WHO, 2007a :1). There is a growth of interest in the idea of age-friendliness in the UK including the development of age friendly strategic priorities and considering the implications of age friendliness in service and resource development and evaluation.

Based on an analysis of the available research, and the fact that Berryhill has been in operation for over ten years and is an established ExtraCare housing development, specific research questions explore:

  1. How have residents who participated in the first study and who remain at Berryhill, experienced long-term occupancy of an evolving retirement community and what is the impact over time on their management of personal transitions?

  2. How have residents who participated in the first study and who remain at Berryhill, experienced the evolution and development of the retirement community over time? 

  3. How do residents define their experience of life in the community and assess the extent to which it coincides with contemporary thinking on the characteristics of age friendly communities? 

  4. How do residents’ support the notion of an ‘Age-Friendly’ community?  What are the challenges and opportunities in achieving this aspiration?

  5. How is the diversity of the resident population and the balance between independence and interdependence negotiated and maintained over time?

  6. What do the research findings indicate for policy and practice in extra care retirement community living?


  • Proctor, J  (July 2015) – Abstract acceptance to present oral paper at BSG 2015 Annual Conference, Northumbria University
  • Proctor, J (April 2015) – Abstract acceptance to present oral paper at IAGG-ER Congress Dublin 2015
  • Proctor, J., 2015 Ten Years On: A Follow-up Study of Berryhill Retirement Village (Phase One Findings). Centre for Social Gerontology, Ageing Research Exchange. Keele University, February 2015. 
  • Proctor, J., 2014. Ten Years On: Project Update, poster presentation. Faculty Research Showcase and Welcome Event. Keele University, November 2014.
  • Proctor, J., 2014. Ten Years On: A Follow-up Study Of an Evolving Retirement Village. Gerontology Summer School. Keele University, June 2014.
  • Proctor, J., 2013.  Berryhill Revisited: A Mixed Method Study. Centre for Social Gerontology: Emerging and Established Researchers in Ageing. Keele University, December 2013.
  • Proctor, J., 2013. Berryhill Revisited: Project Overview – Poster Presentation. British Society of Gerontology (BSG) Annual Conference 2013: Challenging Futures. Oxford University, Sept 2013.

Teaching/Group Facilitation

  • March 2014 – Social Work Conference “Celebration of World Social Work Day” (Keele University)
  • April 2013 – BA (Hons) year 3 recall day, Keele University “Surviving as a Newly Qualified Social Worker: Making the Transition”. 
  • May 2011 – Active Ageing Study Day, Keele University “Developing the Confidence and Resilience of Social Workers”.