Author Archives: Adele Woof

Residents gather for Inter-Scheme Olympics

30th November 2017

To mark Eden Housing Association’s (EHA) twenty-year history, tenant and resident groups across Cumbria were offered a grant to organise local events and activities to celebrate their special birthday. The most recent event was an Inter-Scheme Mini-Olympics challenge for residents living in supported or extra care housing.

Thirty tenants travelled to Penrith Rugby Club for a day packed with fun, games and lunch. Fielding teams were the extra care schemes at Mill Gardens in Kirkby Stephen and Rampkin House in Appleby, plus the supported housing scheme at Sim Court in Penrith.

Whilst it was ‘The Friendly Games’, there was an air of competitive spirit amongst those taking part. Games included Table Pong, Garden Darts with special awards up for grabs in the Hook a Duck and the Welly Wanging competition as well as a trophy for the overall scheme winner.

Commenting on the day, Debbie Wilkinson, Support and Activities Co-ordinator for EHA said “The atmosphere was fantastic, plenty of laughter and there were even some very alternative interpretations for some of the games. Tenants enjoyed lunch and still mustered the energy in the afternoon to complete the games which included the welly wanging competition – the highlight of the day.

“The feedback from tenants has been fabulous, and they are all keen for a rematch next year, hopefully involving more of our schemes.”

EHA Chief Executive John Clasper thanked the EHA Independent Living team for pulling together the event before presenting the prizes.

Hook a Duck champion was Nora Maule from Sim Court in Penrith. Donald Walker from Mill Gardens in Kirkby Stephen was “Wellie Wanger’ champion and Mill Gardens also won the trophy for overall champions. Sim Court put in a tremendous effort coming second, pipping Rampkin House who came third. Residents all received a certificate and ‘gold’ medal for taking part.

The victorious team from Mill Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joan Sowerby tries out the welly wanging competition


Eden Housing Association celebrates 20th anniversary at Annual Meeting

30th November 2017

Eden Housing Association (EHA) is celebrating their 20th anniversary and marked the occasion this week (Tuesday 26 September 2017) at their annual meeting which looked back over their history.

Held at Stoneybeck Inn, Penrith, around 80 guests attended the meeting including past chairs of the organisation, staff and stakeholders. On display were documents and photographs from the earliest days, as well as the original transfer video and a wall of people pictures featuring staff, schemes, homes and events across the era.

The transfer of 1,508 properties from Eden District Council (EDC) to Eden Housing Association took place on 22 September 1997 under the auspices of Eden District Council Chief Executive Ian Bruce, EDC Chair Bernard Thornborrow and the Housing Association’s first Chief Executive Paul Davies and Chair Ron Richardson.

Initially the Association lost properties under the right to buy scheme, but with planned development of new build affordable homes, it now has a stock of 1821 properties across Cumbria and manage a further 140 properties for Mitre Housing Association, Allonby Almshouses and Lyvennet Community Trust.

The affordable housing landscape has changed greatly in recent years, as highlighted in the report on the past year from John Clasper, Chief Executive of Eden Housing Association.

Like many housing associations, EHA has gone through a process of change to cope with demands of tightening budgets. This year has seen the completion of an organisational review which has led to a slimmer structure as a result of the rent reductions imposed by Government.

On a positive note, John Clasper spoke of their new way of working, looking at ways to retain value by adopting a new ‘Neighbourhood Approach’. EHA is one of only eleven organisations in the country to receive the Good Practice Accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Housing. Other achievements pointed to in the past year included introducing 19 new homes in Penrith and Appleby and taking on the community alarm response service in Carlisle to support an additional 1,000 customers.

Past Chairs of the EHA Board spoke at the meeting, recounting their strongest memories. As first Chair, Ron Richardson spoke about nurturing the process from working with EDC to get information to tenants so they could make an informed decision and about the people who were so influential at the time but no longer with us including Paul Davies, Bob Clark, Ivy Wilkinson, Edgar Craig and Mac Carlisle.

Second Chair was Ken McKean, he recalled becoming managing agents for Mitre Housing Association and the strong synergies both organisation’s have of caring about tenants. The most gratifying project during his years as Chair was the Door Step Green Project in Kirkby Thore. As well as improving homes at Sandersons Croft, it also created a space for recreation and really improved the estate. Ken said, “I went back for another look last month and it is still looking good.”

Joan Johnstone was Chair from 2007 to 2011. For Joan, working with tenants and establishing strong resident involvement was close to her heart. ECHO – the new Tenant’s and Resident’s Assembly was set up and training and development resources were expanded.   Joan’s stand out memories relate to the development of Heysham Gardens Extra Care Scheme in Carlisle “Winning the contract to build Heysham Gardens was a highlight, we are a small housing organisation with big ideas and we should be proud of how well it has turned out.”

Fourth Chair was Leo Finn who could not be present but sent a message recalling the launch of fourteen new homes in Coniston.

Current Chair Henry Barker spoke of watching the Association grow over time, being proud to be the current Chair working hard with committed Board Members and staff to guide the organisation through the current uncertain times.

Speaker for the event was Andy Beeforth OBE and Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF). His memories of EHA began when meeting Paul Davies at the Academy of Chief Executives and the relationship with the organisation has grown since.

CCF has a history of working closely with housing associations and currently has a project with Cumbria Housing Partners, directly investing into social value projects aimed at benefitting tenants. He highlighted the difficulties of people living in rural locations and talked about two projects including the Northern Fells Development Group and Appleby’s Dementia Dancing in Centre 67. EHA has been directly involved with the Winter Warmth Fund at the Big Sleep event which last year raised £130,000 – that provided grants for 1,200 older people in the county.

Summing up Andy said “The average person buying a home needs an income of £37,000 to secure a mortgage, in our region, the median income is £25,332. Even raising a deposit is difficult. These statistics alone show the importance of housing associations and the role they play. We can all do more by working together to give people the futures they deserve.”

The meeting concluded with poet Phil Houghton reciting a poem specially commissioned for the anniversary – it was entitled ‘Abode’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joan Johnstone (past Chair) and Henry Barker (current Chair) cut the 20th anniversary cake watched by two past Chairs Ken McMean and Ron Richardson and CEO John Clasper.

 

 

Eden Housing Team races to target on Great North Run

30th November 2017

 

 

A team from Eden Housing Association (EHA) took part in the Great North Run yesterday and has already raised more than their initial target of £1750.

After weeks of training and preparation, the seven-strong team joined over 50,000 others to take part in the event so they could raise money for Hospice At Home Carlisle and North Lakeland.

The youngest members of the team raced to the finishing line first, with all seven crossing the line safely. Taking part were Brad Renwick, Max Stoddart, Andrew Hodgson, John Clasper, Owen Kirkland, Katie Furness, and Emma Wilson. The team was delighted to find out that Brad and Max were home in the first 10% of all those taking part in the race.

Emma Wilson said “The crowd was amazing right along the route, but the last mile was unbelievable and that really helped us get across the finishing line.”

John Clasper Chief Executive of Eden Housing Association said “As an organisation we are 20 years old this year – and so are Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland. Finding a charity to partner with was very easy. So far, we’ve raised enough money to provide 145 hours of respite care and we’re hoping to reach a final target of £2000.”

The team still has money and pledges to collect so they are leaving their donation page open for a few more weeks. Donations can be made at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/edenhousing

Main Picture: Max Stoddart, John Clasper, Emma Wilson Katie Furness Brad Renwick, Owen Kirkland and Andrew Hodgson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eden Housing Association set to build more homes – 7 underway in Penrith

20th April 2017


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eden Housing Association continues to build new homes with seven underway in Penrith and plans for more this year

Eden Housing Association is continuing to build affordable homes in Eden, with seven properties underway at Brent Road in Penrith and plans to start building up to seventeen more later this year.

The plot at Brent Road in Penrith is currently being developed to make best use of land that included unused garages recently described as ‘an eyesore’. Two semi-detached two bedroomed houses are being built and presented for sale as shared ownership, alongside five two bedroomed bungalows which will be offered for rent to local people over fifty five.

At a cost of around £800,000, these homes give new purpose to this land and reduces the risk of anti-social behaviour. Even more importantly, it provides retirement homes for older residents in Penrith and an opportunity for younger people to step onto the property ladder.

Built on the edge of woodland, the engineers and contractors have bolstered the banks of the wood with sheet piling to prevent any potential slippage. Reinforced retaining walls mean the gardens of four bungalows will have a private outlook and give a real sense of rural location, whilst being in the heart of the town. Work on the new homes is progressing according to plan and aims to be completed for new residents to move in before Christmas.

The shared ownership opportunities mean prospective buyers can buy between 25-80% of the two bedroomed houses, with the option in the future for outright ownership. The houses can now be viewed on the Help To Buy website (www.helptobuynw.org.uk) and sales are being managed by Wilkes Green & Hill.

The bungalows have been designed for retirement living and all have two bedrooms, a wet room, private garden and drive. The properties will be offered for rent to local residents over 55 and will be advertised on the Choice Based Lettings system, Cumbria Choice later this year. Anyone interested in the bungalows is advised to register on Cumbria Choice (www.cumbriachoice.org.uk) as early as possible.

Rebecca Field, Development Manager at EHA, said “This is an exciting development in the heart of Penrith where we are working closely with the community and our contractors, Ashcroft Construction Cumbria Ltd, to minimise any disruption. We’re currently at the foundation stage and there is already growing interest in the new homes which will look modern but also in keeping with the area.

“We have a number of small development projects in the pipeline across Eden and we are also working with larger housing developers to provide the affordable home allocations on their sites.”

The next building project to be progressed by Eden Housing Association is a development of three, one bedroomed bungalows at Sim Court on the Pategill estate in Penrith. Work begins in the summer to increase the Sim Court supported housing scheme to twenty two homes.

Housing Team doubles target after a cold wet night at the Big Sleep

6th February 2017

For Eden Housing Association (EHA), no team activity could have resulted in a cooler reception or a tighter bond for the seven team members who camped out for the Cumbria Community Foundation Big Sleep at the weekend. The success of their night in the rain and sleet resulted in the team more than doubling their original fundraising target.

Having decided to take part in the sleep just a week before the event, the EHA team – who called themselves The Really Very Cool and The Gang, set themselves an initial target of raising £500. But it was their epic and occasionally calamitous ‘journey’ that encouraged others to donate and the team has already doubled their original target, raising over £1,000.

The team of seven changed on the afternoon of the event when one member’s car failed en-route. A new driver volunteered and the team continued to the Windermere lake side venue. After pitching tents between the heavy rain showers the team enjoyed a hit supper and entertainment before retiring to the tents for the night amidst rain and sleet.

Sadly one of the tents sprang a leak which meant Jenny Everingham and Heidi Ware had to abandon their tent, joining Tracey Errington for a cosy night under a dry canvas.

The Big Sleep is a Cumbrian event organised by Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF) to raise awareness and funds for their Winter Warmth Fund.  This is the fourth year for what has become an annual CCF appeal, the target set for this year is £110,000 and they have already collected over £98,000.

Commenting on the Big Sleep, Heidi Ware, Customer Services Manager at EHA said “I’m not really a camper so the whole experience was a real eye opener. There were numerous families taking part together and the children all loved it. CCF showed a video which featured the people who have benefitted from the fund in the past – it was great to see for ourselves, just how the winter warmth fund makes such an impact.

“Our own team adventure was challenging and we were sorry that Gill Walton could not join us. Her place was taken by Campbell Donald who drove our Finance Director Kristina Thrush to Windermere and stayed to fill our spare place. It was lovely to have Ian and Sadie McBlain on the team – Ian is covering an interim post at EHA but has really become part of the team, we were also pleased that Tracey Errington came along – she captured the night on camera and also shared her tent when ours was waterlogged.”

Every year over 300 older people die in Cumbria because of the effects of cold weather. Launched in 2010, the Big Sleep has raised more than £450,000 and kept 3,500 older people across the country warm during the cold months. In the last two years over 500 people have taken part and raised over £75,000.

Staff teams from Eden Housing Association staff have been part of teams taking part in the event for the last three years and have so far raised over £4,700.

Anyone wanting to contribute to the fund can donate on the Just Giving Page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EHA

Very Cool housing team set to raise money for The Big Sleep

24th January 2017

There’s a ‘cool’ team spirit amongst staff at Eden Housing Association (EHA) this week as they prepare for their night supporting the Cumbria Community Foundation Big Sleep on Saturday 28 January 2017. A team of five staff, plus two co-opted supporters have called themselves “Really Very Cool and the Gang” in anticipation of finding out what it’s like spending a night outdoors in winter.

The Big Sleep is a Cumbrian event organised by Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF) to raise awareness and funds for their Winter Warmth Fund.  This is the fourth year for what has become an annual CCF appeal, which has so far attracted over 500 people who have raised £75,000.

Really Very Cool and The Gang have set themselves a target of raising £500, but are hoping for more. They are raising their profile to pull in the pounds, and have set up a Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EHA

Last year, John Clasper, Chief Executive of EHA took part in the event with Chief Executives from two other housing associations and it inspired the wider leadership team to join in 2017.

This year the female led team includes their Director of Finance and Corporate Resources Kristina Thrush, Neighbourhood Manager Jenny Everingham, Customer Service Manager Heidi Ware, Gill Walton, Supported Housing Manager plus Interim Property Manager Ian McBlain and his wife. Also joining the team is Tracey Errington, a consultant working with EHA for over a decade.

Kristina Thrush, Director of Finance and Corporate Resources said “Cumbria Community Foundation always does a great job supporting the community and they do a fantastic job distributing the pot of cash raised by the Big Sleep to help older people suffering from rising fuel costs and poor health. The challenge is annual and constant so it’s important that we keep the momentum of fund raising going. CCF has a target of £110,000 and they are currently 88% of the way there. We’re looking forward to making a difference.”

Jenny Everingham, Neighbourhood Manager said “Eden has a very high population of older people and is also very rural, which means people living without mains gas have higher fuel costs. It makes things very difficult for people living on low incomes who may have to choose between food and heating. It’s a real challenge so we want to raise awareness as well as funds to support our communities. We’re all looking forward to the challenge of sleeping outdoors, some of us enjoy camping in the summer, but in winter – it will be a different story!”

The night under the stars takes place on Saturday night in a very wet field by the Low Wood Hotel, Ambleside in near freezing conditions. It is hoped the deluges of rain the county has experienced in the last month doesn’t interfere with the event.

Anyone wanting to contribute to the fund raising can donate on the Just Giving Page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EHA For more information about the Big Sleep event and the Winter Warmth Fund, visit   www.cumbriafoundation.org/bigsleep