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Eden Rehabilitation project set to free up hospital beds

15th June 2017

Eden Rehabilitation project set to free up hospital beds

Date: 13 June 2017 

The Eden Independent Living (EIL) Service provided by Eden Housing Association (EHA) has relaunched the Eden Rehabilitation Project, designed to help patients get home from hospital as quickly as possible with support on hand if needed. The Eden Rehabilitation Project will provide a free of charge care alarm and emergency response package for up to 13 weeks once a patient is discharged from hospital and is being funded by Eden District Council for a year.

The Rehabilitation Project was first introduced in 2013 when some of the start-up costs were funded by Rotary Clubs, enabling patients to use the package free of charge for a six week period.

In the past four years over 200 people have used the service, but projections for the coming year indicate a much higher demand. Kath Hetherington, Development Manager for the Eden Independent Living Service has been working with Eden District Council to assess the need for the coming year and to secure funding.

Kath said “The project was specifically designed to help patients get home as soon as possible following an illness or trauma (e.g. fall) and a period in hospital. The security, confidence and peace of mind that a care alarm and an emergency response service provide are invaluable, and we know from past experience that getting back home is a great step on the road to recovery. Importantly, it also frees up much needed hospital beds. According to recent figures, around 5 per cent of hospital beds in the NHS are taken up by people who do not need to be there but have nowhere else to go because of a lack of social care, so anything we can do to prevent bed blocking is a real help.

“We approached Eden District Council with our plans and they were very enthusiastic, seeing the benefits immediately. They have also agreed to fund the service for an extended period. Patients can now access this service for up to 13 weeks free of charge, which makes a real difference. We are now working to ensure all professionals are aware of the extended service and that they know how easy it is to make referrals.”

Most of the EIL referrals come from hospital discharges from the Cumberland Infirmary and community hospitals in Penrith, Alston and Keswick – but they also receive referrals from Eden Valley Hospice, Macmillan nurses, Penrith Day Hospice and various third sector organisations.

Kath continued “We relaunched the new Eden Rehabilitation Project on 1 June 2017 and are keen to speak to any professionals who may be able to refer patients to us. More than half of our referrals come from the Eden Community Assessment Team, but we are also keen to engage more with GP surgeries and hospitals.”

Once a referral is made, the EIL team will visit the patient at the earliest opportunity when they are home, to install a care alarm and explain how the emergency response service works. At the end of the prescribed period, the patient has the choice of return the care alarm where the package will be cancelled, OR… alternatively, they can pay for the service to be continued.

Lesley Grisedale, Eden District Council Deputy Leader and Property and Health Portfolio Holder said “This project is a very practical way of helping health care staff in the hospital discharge planning process as well as the professional teams in the community and family carers who support patients.

“It gives the patient independence at home and provides reassurance for both the user and their family. With the growing older population in Eden, we anticipate the need for around 80 packages of support this year. After discussions with EIL it was clear that to maximise the benefit to patients and the health care system, a period beyond 6 weeks care would be more beneficial – we have extended the care packages to 13 weeks to provide the best support possible. Anything that can be done to prevent bed blocking and helping people return home as soon as possible will make a real difference. ”

Anyone looking to find out more about the Eden Rehabilitation Project should contact the EIL team on 01768 890657 or visit

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 ( 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 ( 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

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

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 For more information about the Big Sleep event and the Winter Warmth Fund, visit



North Cumbria Emergency Response service saves thousands for ambulance service

28th November 2016

In the first five months, the Emergency Response Service launched by the North Cumbria Independent Living (NCIL) team has attended over 800 incidents and helped make great NHS savings in ambulance call out costs.

The ‘North Cumbria Independent Living’ services is provided by Eden Housing Association who already provide a similar service in Eden. The North Cumbria service was launched in Carlisle on 1 June 2016 when they took over the emergency response service from Riverside Careline.

Already proving to be very successful, the 24 hour NCIL emergency response service is being managed from a new Carlisle office at the Heysham Gardens Extra Care scheme.

To date the team have responded to over 800 incidents, and only needed to call out an ambulance on 44 occasions. Dennis Milner the NCIL Co-ordinator said “Around fifty percent of our call outs relate to falls which means the client may need assistance to help get up. In situations like that, we always use a lifting cushion and we’re very well trained in lifting clients safely.

“When we launched the service, we knew lifting cushions would become a key part of our equipment and they are used every day. Our NCIL Response car is fully equipped to deal with most emergency situations, with other essentials like defibrillators and first aid equipment. All our staff are fully trained on the equipment, lifting and administering first aid.

“What we offer is a valuable lifeline for vulnerable people in the community. We are often able to get to people quicker than an ambulance and where people do not need medical care; we enable them to stay in their own home without the psychological stress of waiting for an ambulance.”

On average the team receive around six call outs a day, but as the number of new clients is continuing to grow, the team are gearing up for more response.

Kath Hetherington, Development Manager for both Eden and North Cumbria Independent Living said “Over 80% of Riverside Careline clients transferred across to our response service. We have also been able to employ eight staff who were previously at Riverside Careline, potentially facing redundancy.

“We’re proud of what we have achieved in our first few months. So far, only 5% of the calls we received needed an ambulance to be called out. In 2011 an NHS ambulance call out cost was around £250, today it will be more, so that’s a massive saving.”

Anyone looking to find out more about the North Cumbria Independent Living Service can contact the team at Heysham Gardens, Carlisle on 01228 580909 or Freephone 0800 061 4201

Celebrating a centenary for Eden farmer

30th August 2016

Sarah Greenop, EIL Support Advisor with Mr William (Billy) Armstrong who received a hamper from the Eden Independent Living Team

Sarah Greenop, EIL Support Advisor with Mr William (Billy) Armstrong who received a hamper from the Eden Independent Living Team

Century celebrations for retired farmer Billy

It’s been a busy week for retired farmer William (Billy) Armstrong. Last Monday he turned 100 and marked the day as he would any other Monday – with a trip to Carlisle’s H&H Auction to ‘watch cattle trade’ and meet up with friends for lunch. Billy still drives and is out and about several days a week, visiting friends. He is fiercely independent and enjoys life in his own home knowing he has the security of the Eden Independent Living care alarm service on hand if needed.

Billy Armstrong married his wife Edna in 1946 and farmed at Plumpton Hall for fifty years before retiring. He has three daughters and four grandchildren and still visits his cousin for dinner regularly each week.

Whilst it is now 34 years since Billy retired from farming, he can still be found every Monday at H&H Auction in Carlisle, and every Tuesday at Hopes Auction in Wigton. “I still like to see how fat cattle and fat sheep are doing and I catch up with a few friends for lunch while I am there. In my day a cow cost £30, today it is more like £1200 – times have changed.”

When asked what was the most far reaching change in his lifetime, Billy was definite – electricity. He said “I put electricity into Plumpton Hall in 1947. Until then you needed candles and matches. We take it so for granted today – until there’s a power cut!”

A popular gent, Billy celebrated with a party at the weekend with friends and family. He has received over 125 cards – including one from Her Majesty the Queen which his daughters have already had framed.

In honour of his centenary Sarah Greenop, Independent Living Support Advisor for the Eden Independent Living service called in with a hamper of treats. Sarah is also from a farming background and the pair discussed farming history and mutual connections. Sarah Greenop said “I’ve known Billy and his family for some time, but it was only 15 months ago that he first signed up to receive our care alarm service. It gives Billy and his family that extra reassurance to know there is someone at the end of a phone and all he needs to do is push a button.”

Commenting on the care alarm service Billy said “I visited a friend one day and he told me he had fallen and laid on the floor for almost 2 hours before anyone knew or helped him.  I also have other friends who use the service so it seemed a sensible thing to do. I keep my pendant in my pocket all the time, it’s just part of me, and if I ever need it, I know it’s just there.”

Billy still lives in Plumpton in a bungalow built specially for him.  Billy said “When Peter Montgomery was developing houses here, I asked if he would build me a bungalow – and he did.”  Billy can now farm from his chair – across the garden are fields of sheep he can count every day.

For more information about the Eden Independent Living Service, contact the team on 01768 890657, visit the website   or call in to see them at 12 St Andrews Churchyard, Penrith.


For information about this press release or for high res images contact Tracey Errington on 07799 640 290 or email

Setting the scene for creative wellbeing

25th August 2016

Setting the scene for creative wellbeing sessions at Heysham Gardens

Activity day at Heysham Gardens with Theatre by the Lake

There has been a chorus of light, sound and action at a series of creative wellbeing workshops at Eden Housing Association’s Heysham Gardens Extra Care scheme in Carlisle this summer. ‘Setting the Scene’ theatre workshops organised in partnership with Theatre by the Lake enables residents of all abilities to stimulate their senses and get involved.

‘Setting the Scene’ at Heysham Gardens included a series of five creative sessions designed to encourage people to share, create and connect with a blend of simple drama exercises, singing, music and movement, storytelling, crafts and conversation.

Designed for participants and carers to enjoy together, activities were built around a theme and adapted to suit our residents. This meant every session was unique, tailored to give those taking part the chance to be involved as much or as little as they liked.

Sarah Bowman, Community Development Officer for Eden Housing Association said “We’ve been delighted at how this partnership has developed. Freelance Creative Facilitator Jenn Mattinson and Theatre by the Lake Participation Assistant Rosa Cooper-Davies, really got to know us.

Residents talked about no longer being able to go away on holidays, so one session focused on ‘something exotic’. They enjoyed a mix of dance, songs, colourful craft and chance to try or rediscover exotic fruits like papaya, dragon fruit and mango.

Feedback has been very positive, it was a chance to share new experiences and focused very much on what people can do, rather than the abilities they have lost. ”

A sense of drama and colour was provided with the costumes brought along from the theatre, with Freelance Creative Facilitator Jenn Mattinson who said “One of our aims is to encourage a sense of community, but there’s already a fantastic sense of community here. There were a broad range of needs and abilities and we worked hard to ensure everyone was involved in their own way. Residents who are often quite quiet came alive and one or two with a musical talent had confidence to bring along their own instruments which was very rewarding.”

Eden Housing Association (EHA) has always provided a range of training and workshop opportunities for their tenants and residents, working with funders and local organisations to make it happen. Sarah Bowman Community Development Officer at EHA said “We have been able to provide these workshops at Heysham Gardens, thanks to a legacy fund left by one of our tenants. Looking to the future as funding in the social housing sector becomes tighter; the collaboration with specialists and other partners in the county will become even more important.”

The sessions at Heysham Gardens were run by Freelance Creative Facilitator Jenn Mattinson and Theatre by the Lake Participation Assistant Rosa Cooper-Davies, in partnership with Theatre by the Lake.

For more information about working in communities with Eden Housing Association contact Jenny Webb on 01768 861435 or Sarah Bowman on 01768 861417 or email


Appleby’s new residents celebrate in Rural Housing Week

12th July 2016

This week (11-17th July) is Rural Housing Week. Eden Housing Association (EHA) is using the week as a platform to shine the spotlight on new affordable rural homes in Appleby. Two of seven new homes have just been released to local working families.

Rural Housing Week is focusing on issues of affordable homes and aspirations for a living, working countryside. John Clasper Managing Director at EHA said “National census figures highlight that more than 1 in 5 of England’s population live in rural areas. Eden District is the least populated district in England, with just 25 people per sq. km – that makes us entirely rural. Support for rural communities has never been more important.

“There is evidence that people are choosing to move way from rural areas because of the shortage of affordable rural homes and the cost of living there. We need new affordable rented homes right across our district. According to statistics, in some rural areas, only 1/5th of the homes needed have been built in the last 5 years*.”

New housing in market towns and villages is vital for the survival of rural communities and services. Not only are housing associations helping local people to continue to live in the same area as their friends and family, they are also helping to preserve the economic viability of rural communities, by ensuring continued demand for key services such as shops, schools, post offices and pubs.

Appleby’s new ‘Orchard Place’ development from Story Homes is a mixed scheme of 142 dwellings, nineteen of which are designated as ‘affordable homes’ shared between Eden Housing and Two Castles Housing Associations. Eden Housing Association has seven of these properties; a mix of two and three bedroomed homes being offered in three phases.

Two local families have just moved in to the first two homes which have two bedrooms, a garden and off street parking. The affordable homes are intermingled throughout the new development to help create a strong community feel.

Thomas and Kim Airey, their 12 year old son TJ and sheepdog Nell moved to their new home just three weeks ago. Kim said “It’s like a dream come true. It’s everything I could have wanted and I already feel it’s my forever home.”

Kim works as a nursery nurse and Tom is a self-employed stonemason. In the past they’ve looked at buying a home, but because Tom is self-employed, getting a mortgage was difficult.

“We’ve been living in private rented properties in and around Appleby for years, but they never feel like your own home. The rents are high and the quality is not always great. It’s also not easy when you have a family pet. We have tried for other properties before and I’ve been watching the Orchard Place progress since the development began, so I was very quick to bid for one when they came on the Choice Based Letting system.”

The bid response was stronger than normal for a home in Appleby, mainly because it is a new build that’s part of a mixed development. There was a local occupancy clause on the homes, which meant local families were priority. Both homes have been let to local families who work in Appleby area.

Tom Airey said “It’s a great move for us and we already feel part of the community. TJ has made new friends on the estate already and I’ve been playing darts and dominoes at the Royal Oak for over a year, so it’s now just a quick walk from home. We feel very settled and very lucky and are looking forward to the rest of the development filling up.”

The next phase of EHA’s affordable housing in Appleby is the release of two more two bedroomed homes in early August, with two three bedroomed homes being offered at the end of August. Anyone interested in applying for the new homes should keep reviewing the Cumbria Choice Based Lettings website


John Clasper MD at EHA attended the Rural Housing Conference this week and has also been asked to write a blog which will include the new Appleby development and the difficulties and practicalities of providing services in a rural area. #ruralhousingweek.


Thomas, TJ and Kim Airey outside their new home with Nell their sheepdog

Thomas, TJ and Kim Airey outside their new home with Nell their sheepdog


For more info or more images contact Tracey Errington on 01768 895 964 or 07799 640 290 or email



Family Fun Day is a winner with Dad’s and raises money for charity

28th June 2016

Family Fun Day is a winner with Dads and raises money too

Families pitched up at Penrith RUFC on Father’s Day for a Family Fun Event and car boot sale organised by Eden Housing Association (EHA), and ‘ECHO’ – their Residents Assembly. The aim was to create a value for money event focusing on craft and activities to entertain families and raise money for charity.

Families from across Eden enjoyed a wide variety of activities including huck-a-duck, tombola’s, designing a crown, jewellery making, trying the disability games, letting off steam on the bouncy castle and meeting the police and fire services. All activities were kept to £1 or less to ensure the best value for families, but also raising money for EHA’s nominated charity Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland.

Sarah Bowman, Community Development Officer at Eden Housing Association said “This is the fifth Fun Day we have run, but the first on Father’s Day so we wanted to add in a few new activities that Dad’s might enjoy. There was Ernies Shed’, old ironwork display and Eden Valley Model Aero Club, plus Pete Osborn the wood turner who demonstrated making spinning tops for the kids, the team from PACT (Penrith Action for Community Transition) who highlighted lots of really useful recycling ideas, Silverband Falconry plus plenty of opportunity to play bows and arrows with the kids.

“This year the event was held 10am – 1pm with the car boot well attended all morning. We are delighted that we managed to raise £747.75 for Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland and the great North Air Ambulance.

For more information about working in communities with Eden Housing Association contact Jenny Webb on 01768 861435 or Sarah Bowman on 01768 861417 or email


For information about this press release or for high res images contact Tracey Errington on 07799 640 290 or email

tony davies with ella Hodgson Davies  3 and riley hodgson  4 and Ben Hall and son Kai 5

Tony Davies with Ella Hodgson Davies and Riley Hodgson and Ben Hall and son Kai

EHA volunteers and partners working together for the fun day



EIL Volunteers celebrate Patrons Lunch early

13th June 2016

It’s time to celebrate! This year’s Annual Volunteer Week was extended by five days to incorporate events in the run up to the Patrons Lunch on 12th June which honours Her Majesty the Queen in her 90th year and all the work she does as Patron of organisations. As a mark of appreciation for the hard work of their volunteers, Eden Independent Living hosted their early ‘Patrons Lunch’ at Mrs Millers Tearoom, Culgaith, serving a truly British Buffet.

Recognising the support of their volunteers, the Eden Independent Living team hosts an annual summer lunch at a venue that supports local businesses. Their inaugural lunch was held at Dalemain many years ago and has been followed in future years with a train ride and lunch at Alston, a boat ride and lunch at Glenridding and last year a trip to Lowther Castle. This year the volunteer celebration was linked in with the Patrons Lunch.

Kath Hetherington, Development Manager for the EIL service said “We have many clients born in the same era as the Queen and they often chat to our volunteers about their memories of a very fast moving century so it seemed a very appropriate time to have lunch.

“The support of our 20+ volunteers is very valuable, they cover the whole of Eden District, so we like to host our events somewhere different each time. The lunches are one of only a few occasions when we can get everyone together and it’s a great opportunity for long standing volunteers to share stories with new volunteers. As our service has developed and extended we’re seeing more new volunteers coming forward, so it’s important that they get to meet as many of our team as possible.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering at Eden Independent Living should contact the team on 01768 890657.

EIL Volunteers celebrate Patrons Lunch early

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