Category Archives: Uncategorised

New Board Members help shape future at Eden Housing Association

10th November 2015

Shaping the future of their organisation, board members and the leadership team at Eden Housing Association (EHA) concentrated their thoughts at their annual strategic away day. With the unexpected changes to social housing announced by the Government in the Summer budget, the EHA strategic planning day was brought forward and provided an ideal opportunity for the four most recent board members to make a valuable contribution to Eden Housing Association’s future direction.

Ian Tupling became a board member when Lowther Housing Association transferred its stock to Eden Housing Association. He was their long standing Vice Chair and has close involvement with rural housing issues. The other more recent additions to the board in 2015 include Fra Cooke who has over 20 years’ experience in organisational change and strategic management in commercial and not for profit organisations and Simon Hunt, a chartered accountant for over fifteen years, with extensive experience in change management and planning and currently working in the NHS. The fourth addition to the board is Hugh Harrison, Chair of the Associations tenant and resident assembly and with close to 50 years experience as a former Parish and District Councillor.

The Government’s budget announcement that housing associations will be forced to reduce rents over the next 4 years came as a major surprise to social housing providers across the UK, given a previous guarantee on rent increases for 10 years had been only just implemented this year. The announcement will lead to Housing Associations (HA’s) being required to reduce social housing rents by 1 per cent each year for the next four years from April 2016.

The changes meant that existing financial planning budgets were obsolete, with many housing associations faced with the need to find large savings across their organisations and threatening their planned investment into core services and community benefit activities as well as the provision of much needed new affordable rented homes.

Eden Housing Association had just completed their most recent three year corporate plan when the announcements were made. Since then, the board and leadership team have been working to minimise the effect of future rent budget cuts on services to tenants and staff. The strategic away day was an opportunity to review and refine the association’s goals and steer the organisation’s direction, building upon its existing strengths.

John Clasper, Managing Director at Eden Housing Association said “the proposed reduction in rental income means we need to make savings across our business. Our newest board members bring with them decades of experience in strategic planning and organisation change as well as a commercial perspective, so their contributions at this time are immensely valuable. Our mission has not changed; but we will have to think and respond differently to continue to be an efficient and highly effective landlord, enabling us to go beyond that expected landlord role and get involved in projects that help people and our rural communities. We will need to be even more effective and invest in new partnerships”.

“Spending the day together enabled a lot of different thoughts to be expressed and to reaffirm our commitment to the local neighbourhoods. The Board wish us to be bolder in our ambition. To continue developing homes, continue growing our Independent Living Service and pursuing partnerships – including volunteering opportunities, so we can play our part in addressing the health and wellbeing needs of our communities. It is now the job of our leadership team to translate that into successful work plans.”

Eden Housing Association is not alone in facing challenges. The government’s rent reduction policy has potentially serious consequences for many housing associations and all are expected to have to address cash flows and reconfiguration of business plans. It also raises questions about the ability and appetite of social landlords to build new homes.

Eden Housing Association will continue to seek development opportunities on smaller sites in keeping with the local and rural neighbourhoods it serves.

New board members at Eden HA Fra Cooke, Simon Hunt, Hugh Harrison and Ian Tupling

New board members at Eden HA Fra Cooke, Simon Hunt, Hugh Harrison and Ian Tupling

 

EHA Highlights the Potential of Apprenticeships to Schools

13th July 2015

 

 

As part of their training and development programme, Eden Housing Association’s (EHA) Community Development Team have been working with partners to highlight the potential of apprenticeships for youngsters considering their next move. Working with Partnering in Property Management (PPM) and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the apprenticeship roadshow visited Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, held two drop in sessions at Blain House, Penrith and linked with INSPIRA’s NEET programme to discuss various apprenticeships available across a number of industries. The results were immediate, with keen interest in at least two apprenticeship opportunities.  Click on the link below for full press release.

Eden Housing Association highlights the potential of apprenticeships to schools

For more information about apprenticeship roadshow or any community events, contact the Community Development Team on 01768 861400 or email  [email protected]

Contact details  For more information about this press release or for pictures contact Tracey Errington on:  07799 640 290 or email [email protected]

Greystoke celebrates launch of new homes during Rural Housing Week

8th July 2015

Greystoke bungalow opening

Greystoke celebrates launch of new homes during Rural Housing Week 

Timed to co-inside with Rural Housing Week, Eden Housing Association and Greystoke residents celebrated the launch of three new village homes on Wednesday 8th July. The bungalows have been designed and built to meet the needs of older people. They include air source heating systems to help keep the cost of living in a rural location as affordable as possible.

Eden Housing Association is committed to providing affordable homes in rural areas and already has nineteen bungalows at Castle Gardens in Greystoke. The additional three properties named ‘Petteril Mews’, sit next door to Castle Gardens and were built on land previously siting six very small garages. Owned by the Association, the land was earmarked for redevelopment at a cost of over £410,000. £114,505 grant funding was received from the Homes & Communities Agency.

Living in rural locations can often be thought of as idyllic but, it can often come at a disproportionate cost. The high cost of utilities in off-gas supply areas, running a car where no regular public transport exists can lead to large weekly outgoings, not easy when disposable incomes are low.

These new two bedroomed bungalows in Greystoke are built to the Code for Sustainable Homes – Level 3, a standard for high efficiency. The individual air source heating systems provide thermostatically controllable underfloor heating throughout as well as hot water. The design also incorporates ‘Lifetime Homes’ standards, which means the bungalows are thoughtfully designed to be as accessible and convenient to use by the resident throughout their occupancy if and as their needs change over time.

At the launch of the new homes John Clasper, Managing Director of Eden Housing Association said “The nature of our location means rural housing is at our core, so it is very fitting that we are able to launch these three Greystoke homes during Rural Housing Week.

We develop a variety of new properties for young people, families and older members of the community. When we build new bungalows aimed at older residents, it very often leads to the release of larger properties to the family market and at the same time, provides homes that are easier to manage for older residents. Having spoken to Mr Huddleston, one of our new residents, it’s clear that this ‘chain reaction’ works effectively.”

“Rural development is often expensive, the cost per unit of these fine bungalows is no exception. It is difficult to achieve the economies of scale made elsewhere but this of course is often the tapestry of rural life. It is often three or four new quality built, affordable homes that can make the difference in a rural community. Building on our own land is one of the ways we have tried to manage costs here. We are immensely proud of the result.

“This is our third completed scheme in the last few months, following development of bungalows at Low Hesket and our extra care scheme providing nineteen apartments in Kirkby Stephen.”

Also speaking at the opening was Eden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Housing and Health Portfolio Holder, Councillor Lesley Grisedale who is also a Greystoke resident. She said: “I am delighted that Eden Housing Association has been able to complete the development of these three new two-bed bungalows at Petteril Mews in Greystoke. The bungalows offer modern, energy efficient homes for those over the age of 55. Providing affordable homes is an ongoing priority for the Council but this development being in a village location also means that they can help meet local demand for much needed affordable housing. We continue to work proactively with housing associations and local communities to ensure the housing being developed in the District meet the needs of our sparsely populated area. ”

After the official opening, guests were invited into two of the new bungalows belonging to residents Mrs Carruthers and Mr Huddleston. They were happy to show guests around their homes and answer questions, before everyone gathered in the village hall for afternoon tea.

One of the new residents opening their homes at the launch was Mr Brian Huddleston. For the last seven years he has suffered with life-threatening illness and ongoing poor health. Mr Huddleston had been living in a large three bedroomed property in Newbiggin, with a big garden. The maintenance of the house and limited ability to use upstairs meant he needed something more manageable and was relieved and overjoyed to be accepted for one of the Petteril Mews bungalows. Mr Huddleston said “It’s been a godsend. I’m also just a five minute walk from my sister who pops in every day, often with my great niece.

Having everything on one level has made a huge difference – especially having a walk in shower/wet room. The other big change is the heating – the cost of running my home is massively reduced, before I relied on electric and calor gas bottles, now there’s an air source heat pump and underfloor heating.”

Another resident showing visitors around her bungalow was Mrs Carruthers who also feels right at home. She said “I just love this house! There’s so much light and space and I have a really big largest kitchen diner which is great when my daughter and grandson call in so often. My late husband had a wheelchair, so from experience I know my new home can made life so much easier, especially as I get older. It has wide doors and plenty of space to get around, and it’s reassuring to know it can be adapted if necessary. I’ve lived in Greystoke for 18 years and plan to be here many more. I’m fiercely independent so having a home that is easy to manage long term is comforting – and I still drive, which is handy because lack of local buses would be an issue.”

The bungalows at Greystoke are subject to a planning condition known as a ‘Section 106 clause” which means preference is given to people already living within or a very short distance from Greystoke. This meant the third new resident was also able to move back to the village where her family live and work.

Eden Housing Association is seeking to work with a number of rural communities to create ‘local lettings policies’. These operate similarly to the planning condition and are aimed at giving a degree of reasonable priority to applicants with a strong local connection. Local lettings policies are already operating successfully in Glenridding and Alston and there are plans in the pipeline to work with other local communities.

For more information about Eden Housing Association visit www.edenha.org.uk or call 01768 861400.

cut ribbon

Centre – Residents Mr Huddleston and Mrs Carruthers cut the ribbon with Councillor Lesley Grisedale EDC Deputy Leader and Housing and Health Portfolio Holder and John Clasper, Managing Director of Eden Housing Association.

Media contact:

Tracey Errington on 07799 640 290 or email [email protected]

Fun on the Field swings into action

1st June 2015

Fun on the Field Milton Street Play area opens

New play equipment officially swung into action on Wednesday 27th May – a day of celebration in Penrith when the Milton Street Play area was officially opened. A group of Penrith residents came together with Eden Housing Association (EHA) and Inspira to make a difference to the Milton Street Play area in the town. They set up the ‘Fun on the Field’ committee which raised £44,000 to improve the play equipment and area for youngsters. The eight new pieces of equipment have been installed and the school holiday created the perfect opportunity to mark the official launch.  See below link for full press release.

Fun on the field swings into action for opening of play area

For more information about this project contact Jenny Webb, Eden Housing Association’s Community Development Officer on 01768 861400 or email [email protected]

Contact details  For more information about this press release or for pictures contact Tracey Errington on:  07799 640 290 or email [email protected]

Growing appeal for community poly-tunnel project

28th May 2015

EHA Carolyn Greenhall and Eddie Allen with resident Malcolm Caruthers and Vista Veg  Lynn Barnes

 Back row – EHA’s Eddie Allen with resident Malcolm Caruthers front: EHA Assistant Director of Housing and Support Carolyn Greenhalgh with Lynn Barnes from Vista Veg

The first of the 2015 training events run by Eden Housing Association (EHA) took place under plastic earlier this month. Held in the newly established community poly-tunnel on Greystoke Road, Penrith the EHA ‘Grow Your Own’ training was combined with an open day designed to introduce the community to the new poly-tunnel and the idea of growing fruit and vegetables together.

To read full press release – Growing appeal for community poly-tunnel project

For more information about this project, or to get involved, please contact Sarah Bowman, Eden Housing Association’s Community Development Officer on 01768 861400 or email [email protected] 

Contact details  For more information about this press release or for pictures contact Tracey Errington on:  07799 640 290 or email [email protected]

Awareness and support set up to help Eden residents with Welfare Reform

25th May 2015

EHA Carolyn Greenhalgh Pete Moran CLC and Jenny Webb EHA photo

Carolyn Greenhalgh EHA Assistant Director Housing and Support with Pete Moran from the Cumbria Law Centre and Jenny Webb EHA Community Development Officer

The next swathe of changes to the Welfare Reform system started rolling out six weeks ago and already they are causing concern and anxiety for some people. The new ‘Universal Credit’ brings together six benefits and tax credits and replaces them with a single monthly payment, paid directly to the customer who now becomes responsible for paying their own rent. Anticipating issues and questions from Eden residents, Eden Housing Association has developed a series of training and support events called ‘Benefit Matters’.

Read all of the article – Awareness and Support set up to help Eden Residents with Welfare-Reform

For more information about the ‘Benefit Matters’ sessions, contact Jenny Webb, Eden Housing Association’s Community Development Officer on 01768 861400 or email [email protected]

Community Defibrillator fitted in Appleby

19th May 2015

New community defibrillator at Rampkin House Appleby (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community defibrillator fitted in Appleby

Appleby’s third community defibrillator – the first on an out of town housing scheme, has just been installed thanks to the Eden Lifeline Project and strong local partnerships. The life-saving equipment has been fitted at the entrance of Rampkin House, the towns extra care housing scheme run by Eden Housing Association.

This latest achievement is a fine example of rural communities and organisations working together to make a life changing difference in areas where residents often have limited access to essential services.

Appleby community celebrates new defib machine at Rampkin House – final