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7th February 2019





ECHO held their AGM last night, and turned 21 years old

Eden Community Homes and Organisations (ECHO) is the united voice of tenants, residents and other customers of EHA.

ECHO works on the principle that residents who have an interest in the work of EHA also have the right to participate in the decision-making affecting their homes and environments, their primary aim is to promote tenant and resident involvement by:

  • Influencing policy and procedures and monitor performance
  • Making sure tenants and residents get the information they need to make decisions
  • Providing training and development opportunities
  • Supporting affiliated Tenants’ & Residents’ Associations and community groups

Membership is open to all tenants and residents living in EHA properties, and to those living close by. A full meeting of ECHO members is held six times a year, and a number of sub-groups also meet regularly.

Would you like to get involved? For more information call 01768 861400.

“Make YOUR voice heard and get answers”

Eden Housing Association makes the most of small plots to build town centre homes

5th December 2018

Following its successful new rented bungalows developments on Pategill and Scaws estates in Penrith earlier this year, Eden Housing Association (EHA) is continuing to build affordable homes for rent in the town. Making the most of small development opportunities, their newest development is right in the heart of Penrith.

Work has commenced to create seven new homes on a brownfield site at William Street. It will be developed to create 4 two-bed houses and 3 one-bedroom flats – all for affordable rent.

The site was previously a commercial garage with private garages attached for local residents. Demolition and clearance works have been completed, making way for construction work to start in the Spring. EHA is currently tendering for the building work, anticipating the homes to be ready by Christmas 2019.

Rebecca Field, Development Manager at EHA, said “This is a town centre development and we are very conscious that we are developing new homes in the heart of a residential area. Keeping local residents informed is very important and Metcalfe’s, our demolition contractors, worked with those immediately impacted, to ensure they had the access they needed with minimum disturbance.

Because we are working in the town, the demolition process included an archaeological dig – it is always interesting to discover how the land was used historically. Nothing was found that would prevent the development continuing.”

Eden Housing Association’s new Board Chair Beth Furneaux visited the site and said “Eden is a very rural district, with limited public transport, so demand for easy to access, affordable town centre properties remains high. As a small Association we focus on small sites that can create clusters of affordable housing. It requires a creative approach to make the most of the land and this site is a perfect example of what we can achieve.”

Eden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Housing and Health Portfolio Holder, Councillor Lesley Grisedale, said: “We are delighted to see another housing scheme supported by the Council’s Affordable Housing and Innovation Fund (AHIF) starting. The demand for affordable homes in Eden, including those to rent is high and these new homes will make a real difference to local people. I look forward to seeing working on this project progress and this will be an excellent Christmas present for some families next year when they are completed in December.”

The Association is also finalising a development of seven homes in Threlkeld. The mix of one, two and three bedroomed homes are due to be completed and handed over to tenants in January 2019.

EHA Chair Beth Furneaux and CEO John Clasper watch the demolition of old garages at the William Street site in Penrith

Chair retires from Housing Board

16th October 2018

Henry Barker, Chair of Eden Housing Association (EHA) has retired as Chair of the Association under its 9 year Rule, at its recent Annual General Meeting.

Henry, speaking at the AGM, recounted how a decade ago he was interviewed for a place on the Board by then Chief Executive Paul Davies. Henry remembers the day clearly and said “I was thrilled, humbled and a little surprised to be accepted onto the Board. Little did I know then that I would enjoy 9 years as an active Member and seven years as Chair.”

Henry chaired the EHA Board from 2011 and has helped steer the organisation through both memorable and challenging times. His personal highlights included overseeing the development of two Extra Care housing schemes – the first was the flagship scheme at Heysham Gardens in Carlisle in 2012, followed by the redevelopment of Mill Gardens scheme in Kirkby Stephen in 2015.

Challenges have been overcome, including finding ways to contend with the Government’s imposed rent reduction policy which had significant income implications for all housing associations. Under skilful leadership from the Board, EHA has risen to the challenge, become a leaner, more efficient but still highly effective organisation that is proud of retaining its local service provision.

In his closing remarks at the AGM, Henry said “The reason I have been able to do this job is because of the varied skills and commitment from all Board Members.

“Our Board Members all have their own individual strengths and I urge them all to remember that. It is nothing to do with the size of the organisation it is about the skills and contributions you make that help Eden succeed and I thank you all for your support over the years.

“In particular, I would like to thank Margery Manfield-Cooke for supporting me as Vice Chair and being so good at keeping spirits high. We can never know what’s around the corner, but EHA is certainly better placed to cope with whatever comes our way.

“Whilst I will no longer be a Member of the Board, I will still be taking a keen interest in how EHA progresses. I think I am like a stick of rock – wherever you cut me I will have EHA running through my veins and I wish the Association the very best for the future.”

John Clasper, Chief Executive at EHA said “It has been a pleasure working for Henry as Chair. He has facilitated a strong teamwork ethic within our Board and across the organisation and he has always had tenant and residents’ interests at the front of everything, which is how it should be. Henry will be missed by everyone at the Association but our 9 year Board Rule is there to ensure the Association continues to evolve and our governance follows recognised best practice.”

Taking over as Chair is Beth Furneaux who joined the Board in September 2017 bringing with her extensive experience serving as a former County Councillor across Cumbria, leading on housing and Adult Social Care.

Margery Manfield-Cooke remains as Vice-Chair, a role she has held since 2015. Margery has many years of past senior level experience with a national registered provider; with a real depth of knowledge in supported housing provision, HR and strategic management.

Two new Members with strong financial backgrounds joined the Board at the AGM. Danny Roper is a local Chartered Accountant with a local firm of Accountants, specialising in Business Services and Corporate Tax.

Also joining the Board is Amyn Fazal who has recently retired from his role as Chief Executive of Penrith Building Society.

John Clasper concluded by saying “We are pleased to have Beth as our new Chair, who brings lots of relevant experience and insight and also to welcome our two new Board Members who not only compliment our existing skills, but they bring additional financial expertise to the team.

“Our Membership on the Board is now at its maximum under our Rules but we are always interested in talking to people who want to become more involved in the work of the Association.”

For more details, contact John Clasper at Eden Housing Association on 01768 861400 or email 

Photo – front – Henry Barker, retiring Board Chair, with John Clasper CEO at Eden Housing Association and Beth Furneaux who takes over the role of Chair




Handy Person partnership is just the job for Eden Community

1st October 2018

Eden Housing Association and Eden District Council are working together to spread the word about a Handy Person Service in Eden. The service, which has been running for six years, has now widened its scope to support more Eden residents.

The Handy Person Service has been run by Eden Housing Association, with funding support from Eden District Council. It was originally launched for the over 55’s, but the service now has a more flexible, eligibility criteria which means more people can ask for work to be done.

John Clasper, Chief Executive of Eden Housing Association said “We have been working with One Call Services, Penrith for six years and have had great feedback. We’ve also received funding from EDC to help us keep the cost as low as possible for customers. And we’ve engaged with home owners as well as those renting properties so we know it’s a model that is working well. By opening the service up to a wider audience, we think it will go from strength to strength.

“How often do you hear people say “I could just do with someone to fix my gate, or put up curtain rails, or even fix door handles? We know there are lots of people in Eden who need small repair jobs or tasks around the home sorting out, but it can be difficult and expensive to call someone out you don’t know. This collaboration means we can provide a trusted, skilled workforce at an affordable rate.”

The service is now available to people over 55, those receiving qualifying benefits or living with a disability, long-term ill health or life limiting illnesses. It is also available for people being discharged from hospital or households receiving support from EDC’s Housing Options Team. Referrals will be considered from staff at local registered housing providers and from other statutory or third sector support providers.

Eden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Housing and Health Portfolio Holder, Councillor Lesley Grisedale, said “We have been able to subsidise this service for the past six years. When you have a collaboration that has been proved to work well and makes a difference, it’s important to keep it going and to make sure people know they can take advantage of what’s on offer.

“As Chair of EDC’s Health & Welbeing Group, I can make sure the Handy Person service is highlighted and we’ll continue to work with EHA to ensure the message filters down to our parish councils and third sector groups like Age UK.”

What can be done?

Undertake small repairs like:

  • Re-hanging doors and replacing handles, fitting draught excluders, bleeding radiators, fixing tiles, and fitting telephone extension leads
  • Replace and re-fit light bulbs, lampshades, toilet seats
  • Put up curtain rails, curtains, blinds, mirrors, pictures, shelves, grab rails and towel rails
  • Do small jobs in the garden like small sections of fencing, putting on garden gates, and a one-off garden tidy
  • Clean gutters, especially useful in Autumn

What cannot be done:

  • Do any work connected to gas
  • Plastering
  • Work at height
  • Mend electrical appliances
  • Roof repairs

Anyone interested in booking the service can contact the Eden Housing Team on 01768 861400, email or visit

Picture: Councillor Lesley Grisedale – Eden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Housing and Health Portfolio Holder with John Clasper – Chief Executive Eden Housing Association and Darren Wright One Call Services owner



Joint procurement of Responsive Repairs and Voids Contractor July 2018

12th July 2018

Eden Housing Association and Castles & Coasts Housing Association are jointly procuring their Responsive Repairs and Void Maintenance Contracts.

As both Associations’ contracts were due to expire at the same time, and have housing stock in the same areas, it made sense to work with Cumbria Housing Partners to jointly procure. The successful contractors will provide responsive maintenance services and void repair services within the North West of England. The work will be within two geographical lots: Carlisle and Eden and  Allerdale, Copeland, South Lakeland, Barrow and Lancaster.

For more information and to register for free – the new contracts are advertised for tender via: – the reference number is DN350878


Welbeing acquires Eden Housing Association’s Independent Living Service

28th June 2018


Date: 26 June 2018

Welbeing acquires Eden Housing Association’s Independent Living Service.

Continuing a period of organic growth and acquisition as well as strengthening their position in Cumbria, Welbeing took control of Eden Housing Association’s (EHA) alarm and response services in Eden and Carlisle on 26 June 2018. Welbeing itself was recently acquired by Doro Group, the global market-leader in senior mobile phones, as the next step in Doro expanding their telecare business.

Since 2012 Eden Housing Association has been developing and delivering successful independent living services in Eden and North Cumbria. Following a comprehensive business review in late 2017, EHA decided to focus more on their main area of business as landlord and managing agent for nearly 2000 households across Cumbria. This meant looking for a partner to take over the Independent Living Services.

Local staff already working for the services have transferred over to Welbeing and will continue to offer the same locally based and focussed services – all existing customers will continue to receive the same services they currently have.

Welbeing has been working across Cumbria since 2016 when they became the provider for Cumbria County Council’s countywide telecare and assistive technology service targeting customers around falls, dementia and home safety.

Steve Smith, Welbeing CEO, said “We were already working in partnership with EHA to deliver Cumbria’s telecare contract and have seen first-hand the quality of the Independent Living Services and the dedication of the staff.

“It’s fantastic that we have this opportunity and we will be working with the Independent Living teams in Cumbria to ensure existing customers have a smooth transition to our service. We will be honouring all existing contracts and customers will still see the same faces when they need help.”

John Clasper, Chief Executive of EHA added “Our key priority has been making sure services for customers are retained and if possible improved. Welbeing impressed us because they focus on supporting their customers with a quality service that is efficient and person centred.”

“Welbeing is one of only a small handful of organisations that has been accredited to the new TSA Quality Standard Framework. I anticipate that this can be reassuring for customers and for our existing staff joining the Welbeing team.”

“From our earliest conversations it was clear that Welbeing understood the uniqueness of Cumbria – both culture and geography. We were impressed by their ambition and capacity to grow the services – something we believe is in the long term best interest of customers now, and in the future.”


Media enquiries:
EHA: contact Tracey Errington on 01768 895964 or email

Welbeing: Charlene Saunders Welbeing Marketing Manager   01323 644422 | 07534 449 100

Picture: Steve Smith CEO at Welbeing with Kath Hetherington, EHA Development Manager for Independent Living Services and John Clasper, CEO at Eden Housing Association.


Editors Notes:

Eden Housing Association (EHA) is a successful small independent Registered Provider of affordable homes with a rural focus. Established in 1997 following the voluntary transfer of housing stock from Eden District Council, they operate chiefly across North Cumbria owning and/or managing around 1,982 homes for affordable rent or sale. EHA acts as Managing Agents for Mitre Housing Association, Allonby Almshouses, and Lyvennet Community Trust. Facebook: @edenhousinguk Twitter: @edenha

 Welbeing is one of the leading telecare companies in the UK. They offer high quality, fully integrated managed services and work closely with their customers to develop innovative, cost effective solutions. Welbeing is owned by Doro Group, the global market-leader in senior mobile phones.



Seven new homes completed on former garage site

24th May 2018

A plot at Brent Road in Penrith, which included unused garages described as an eyesore, has been developed by Eden Housing Association (EHA) to create much needed affordable housing.

The two houses and five bungalows are a good example of how good use can be made of small spaces to create more affordable homes. The houses at the front were sold as shared ownership, helping people onto the property ladder and the five bungalows enable older people to downsize, freeing up family homes for the next generation.

John Clasper, Chief Executive of Eden Housing Association said “We are a small rural housing association so we focus on our strengths in creating flexible, good quality small schemes in keeping with their surrounds. This is the first of four developments we are working on across Eden this year. In replacing our garage site, we have found a good value way of maximising opportunity to create affordable homes.

“Our four Eden developments have been financed with the help of low cost loans from Eden District Council’s Affordable Housing and Innovation Fund (AHIF). The Brent Road development, which cost over £800,000, also benefitted from EDC providing some additional land behind the garages. It’s great to create a new purpose for this space and we have reduced the risk of anti-social behaviour which was happening from time to time at the garages.

More importantly, it provides retirement homes for older residents in Penrith, frees up family homes for rent and also creates an opportunity for younger people and families to step onto the property ladder”

Mrs Hamilton, an existing tenant with EHA, was one of the first to move in to one of the bungalows, transferring from a three bedroomed family house on Pategill – her home for 45 years. Mrs Hamilton found managing the large house and the stairs was becoming increasingly difficult.

A spring move means Mrs Hamilton is now enjoying her single level home and finds the shower and wet room easy to use.

Mrs Hamilton said “I came to have a look before it was finished and took time to decide because I loved my house. Now I’ve moved in, I enjoy being here – it’s easy to manage and there are two bedrooms which is very handy when family stay”.

Bungalows and their level access can help people remain independent in their own home for longer and with the support of friends and families making use of the telecare services on offer, extended families can receive reassurance too.

Moving out of the family sized house means the 3 bedroomed property in Penrith could be re-allocated and is now home to a new generation family with two children.

Brent Road is the first of two EHA developments in Penrith to be completed this year – both accessing the Affordable Housing and Innovation Fund (AHIF), and both including new homes for older people.

Eden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Housing and Health Portfolio Holder, Councillor Lesley Grisedale, said: “I am delighted that Eden District Council has been involved with this housing scheme which provides a fabulous mix of designs. The two bed bungalows are a popular choice for residents as they grow older and help free up family sized accommodation elsewhere.

Affordable housing is at a premium in areas like Eden so it’s fantastic to see the completion of this quality accommodation. These properties will bring added vitality to the area and enhance the lives of all the residents who live in the new homes. Building more quality affordable housing is a top corporate priority for Eden District Council as currently there is just over 1,000 people seeking accommodation on the Council’s Housing Register.”

The other small Penrith development of three one bedroomed retirement bungalows has just been completed at Nightingale Terrace next to Sim Court Supported Housing scheme. It too was developed on a site of garages.

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.



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Eden Housing Association
Blain House, Bridge Lane, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 8QU
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