We are marking Rural Housing Week (6-10 July) by showing how one of our newest homes has improved the lives of its first tenants.
Tracy and Richard became the first tenants of a newly-built bungalow in a small rural development in Shropshire. The couple had previously rented privately but needed a more secure home with better accessibility after Richard became ill.
“Richard used to be so fit and active before his illness,” explained Tracey. “Then everything changed. He is unable to work and was finding it really difficult to get around our previous home.”
Tracey hoped to stay local, close to her mother, so the couple was thrilled to have the opportunity to move into our new bungalow in the same village.
“It’s made a huge difference,” says Tracey. “My mum’s a housing association tenant and I grew up in the house where she still lives. I know that she used to worry that we didn’t have the same kind of security and could lose our home.”
Richard is finding life a lot easier: “Everything is on one level, so I can be a bit more independent. It feels as though we are getting life back on track.”
We have supported villages in our communities by investing £20m in rural housing schemes over five years. We are also planning to provide up to 220 homes on residential development land in the village of Perton.
And when Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick wanted to see the benefits of shared ownership housing in rural villages, he chose to visit homes that we built in the village of Swindon near Wombourne.
“Our research shows that every £1 that we spend on new rural housing, produces vital social benefits worth more than £8 through increased spending in local shops and businesses as well as support for community resources like village schools,” said Housing Plus Group chief executive Sarah Boden. “In Rural Housing Week it is essential that we understand the importance of projects which change lives and help to ensure the survival of village communities.”