Rural Housing Week – Construction works underway to provide new affordable homes in Penrith

1st July 2019

To mark National Rural Housing Week, the theme of which is ‘building for rural communities’, Eden Housing Association’s development at William Street in the market town of Penrith is underway.

Following the demolition last year of the garages at the site, construction work has now begun to create 4 two-bed houses and 3 one-bed flats and associated parking, all for affordable rent.

Initial work has included the installation of drainage and the diversion of gas, water and telecoms. The appointed contractor, Thomas Armstrong (Construction) Ltd, expects to complete the new homes in early 2020.

John Clasper, Chief Executive of Eden Housing Association, said “This development will provide much needed affordable homes for rent in a great location and at the same time improve the aesthetics compared with the tired looking garage block previously on the land. The development has been challenging so far in terms of the ground works and utilities works required and will prove more costly than our average development. However, investing in our market town is the right thing to do and I’m certain the resulting new homes will be in high demand. We are grateful to the surrounding neighbours for their patience and understanding too whilst we develop this small site”.

The rural project has been funded by Eden Housing Association with the support of a grant from Homes England.

Margery Manfield-Cooke, Vice-Chair of Eden Housing Association visited the site to check on progress and said “A lot of people have invested a good deal of time and energy in making this project come together for which we are thankful. It’s good to see we now have a cleared site and that construction above ground level will be seen very soon”.

This Eden Housing Association development follows on from the recent completion of seven affordable homes for rent in Threlkeld, working with the same project team, architects Day Cummins Ltd and contractor Thomas Armstrong (Construction) Ltd.


Chief Executive John Clasper and Vice Chair Margery Manfield-Cooke visiting the William Street site











Mill Gardens and Brough Pre-School ‘Mini Olympics’

28th June 2019

Press Release

26 June 2019

Mill Gardens & Brough Pre-school ‘Mini Olympics’

Children from Brough pre-school visited Eden Housing Association’s Assisted Living Scheme at Mill Gardens, Kirkby Stephen, to raise awareness of the benefits of engagement between different generations. They also found time to challenge each other to some mini Olympic fun and games. Games included, Welly wanging, Hook-a-Duck and Bowling – great fun was had by all!

Debi Wilkinson, Activity Co-Ordinator for Eden Housing Association, said “Here at Mill Gardens we strive to encourage our tenants to stay active and maintain a healthy, sociable lifestyle and remain as independent as they can for as long as they can. Intergenerational engagement has been shown to have a great effect on mood, attitude, self-esteem and confidence. Our tenants have really enjoyed the children and the staff at Brough pre-school coming into Mill Gardens.”

Last year Channel 4’s Old people’s home for four year olds brought together the very young and the very old in an attempt to prove scientifically that these two generations can transform the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of the older residents for the better.

The results showed quite extraordinary benefits for both parties, with the biggest change seen in the elderly. The children’s visits resulted in a more positive outlook, improved health both physical and mental, and a positive can do attitude.

Debi said “From watching the programme, tenants reported that they felt needed, appreciated, and recognised that they had a purpose. With huge boosts to their self-esteem and confidence, strong bonds were made with the children. Eden Housing Association is committed to supporting intergenerational opportunities and believes there are mutual benefits for both the children and adults involved – it is important for older people and children to mix. The children can learn to understand older people and the older people take joy from reminiscing and sharing stories.

Working with Barbara Wilson, staff and children from the nursery has been a wonderful and fulfilling experience for all our tenants. Our tenants were delighted with the children’s visits, and will no doubt laugh and talk about their visit for weeks to come.”

For more information on our Assisted Living Schemes contact Gill Walton, Supported Housing Manager on 07841 864982.










Intergenerational Mini Olympics – Mill Garden tenants and children from Brough Pre-School Nursery










Having fun – tenants join in the game of Hook A Duck with Children from Brough Pre-School Nursery



Local Assisted Living Schemes win Awards

20th June 2019

Press Release

 Local Assisted Living Schemes win Awards

Two of Eden Housing Association’s assisted living schemes have gained recognition at this year’s Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) Awards Ceremony.

The Crescent, Clifford Road, Penrith and Heysham Meadows and Gardens in Carlisle, both received recognition in an award system open to almost 25,000 retirement housing schemes or developments nationwide. The Crescent won Bronze in the regional category for 31 – 36 units, with Heysham winning Bronze in the 56 units and over category. Cumbria falls into the North West region which also includes Manchester and Liverpool, making it serious competition.

The awards, now in their eighth year, celebrate the best specialist housing for older people, and aim to help shape the future of housing in later life through engaging some 19,000 residents, staff, visitors and volunteers who were all able to vote for their favourite scheme out of the 1,220 nominated between 15 November 2018 and 28 February 2019. Tenants and staff were presented with their awards at a ceremony in Manchester, with Jennie Bond, journalist and TV presenter as guest speaker.

John Galvin, EAC’s Chief Executive, explained the importance of the awards: “Specialist housing for older people plays an enormously significant role in helping them stay independent for longer. The security, support and great communities have a positive impact on individuals and reduce the need for NHS services.”

Gill Walton, Supported Housing Manager for EHA said: “We’re thrilled to have won these awards as it means that staff, residents and visitors are really happy with the schemes.”

June MacDonald, resident at The Crescent, Penrith, echoed Gill’s enthusiasm: “I’m so pleased to hear that The Crescent has won this award. I really enjoy living here and it’s great to see that the EAC awards recognise that it’s among the very best there is!”

John Barrett, resident at Heysham, echoed June’s comments, adding “You have everything you could wish for at Heysham. There’s support if you need it, the staff are caring, the community spirit is tremendous, and we couldn’t wish for a better place to live”.

For more information on The Crescent or Heysham Gardens and Meadows, contact Gill Walton, Supported Housing Manager on 07841 864982.

About EAC

Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) is a national charity that helps older people meet their current of anticipated housing and support needs. Its popular website is visited each day by some 17,000 people, and profiles all retirement housing schemes and care homes in the UK.



Heysham Tenants at the Awards Ceremony        


The Crescent tenants after receiving their award

We are interested in finding new Voluntary Board Members

19th June 2019


Eden Housing Association is a successful small independent Registered Provider of affordable homes with a rural focus. We were established in 1997 following the Large Scale Voluntary Transfer of housing stock from Eden District Council. We now operate chiefly across North Cumbria owning and/or managing around 1,982 homes for affordable rent or sale, and act as Managing Agents for Mitre Housing Association, Allonby Almshouses and Lyvennet Community Trust. We also on behalf of Eden District Council provide a statutory homelessness and housing options service.

Our homes are generally located in areas of strong housing demand and relatively high market values. Most of our homes cater for general family needs, with around 10% specifically designed for older people. Tenants and residents are at the heart of everything we do, and a range of opportunities are offered and continually refreshed for local people to get involved with our work.

Eden Housing Association’s commitment to value for money is integral to delivery of our services and operations as a business and is woven through the delivery of all our aims and objectives.

We are looking to appoint committed and enthusiastic voluntary Board Members who would assist with ensuring that our strategic objectives are delivered.

Anyone who has an interest in the work we undertake is encouraged to apply and we would welcome applications from all sectors of the community.

Our current Board membership consists of nine male and two female members and our aim is to ensure we have a balanced Board that appropriately reflects the demographics of our community and we would welcome interest from individuals of all ages with relevant skills and experience.

We are looking specifically for applications from individuals preferably with HR, IT or Legal qualifications and/or experiences. We are keen to continue to have tenant participation within our Board so would also welcome any applications from our tenants and residents.

As a Board Member you would be required to attend early evening Board meetings which are typically held every second month in Penrith and, in addition, attend Committee meetings (currently 3 times a year) and occasional events as required. Full training and support will be provided in your new role. The role is voluntary and not remunerated, but all reasonable expenses will be covered.

If you wish to arrange an informal discussion with either our Chief Executive, John Clasper or our Chair Beth Furneaux, then please contact our HR Team on 01768 861400 or email who will make arrangements convenient to you.

If you are interested in applying, please download an application form and information pack and follow the instructions provided. Further information about the Association is available elsewhere on our website

The closing date for applications is 9am on Friday 19 July 2019. We are looking to conduct interviews on Friday 6 September with a view that the successful candidates will attend the Board Meeting on 24 September.

Retired charity stalwart to speak out and provide information for Dementia and Mental Health Awareness Weeks

3rd June 2019

In the lead up to Dementia and Mental Health Awareness Weeks, Eden Housing Association’s Sim Court hosted a coffee morning to which they welcomed retired dementia charity worker Margaret Irving of Penrith.

Before retirement, Margaret was the Business Development Manager for the Alzheimer’s Society. She now voluntarily represents dementia support organisations, and spoke about being a “dementia friend”. In her experience people can be reluctant to open up about the disease, and it is hoped the morning will provide support and information on a health condition that people fear.

Figures show there are 5,003 people over the age of 65 in Cumbria who have been diagnosed with some form of dementia.

There are many significant benefits to an early diagnosis of dementia and dementia-related conditions like Alzheimer’s. There is medication which can help slow down the condition, and a diagnosis can also unlock a lot of support services for the person and their carers, and provide help and advice to enable people to continue to live well, in their own home, for as long as possible.

Dementia is a term used to describe symptoms such as loss of memory, behaviour changes and problems in reasoning. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for about 60 per cent of cases.

Sim Court coffee morning..Scheme co-ordinator for Sim Court Eden housing sheltered accomodation Georgina Bracken third from left and Margaret Irving fourth from right who gave a talk on dementia friend withsome of the residents at their coffee morning.

‘Together with Tenants’ and ‘Time for a Rural Strategy’

3rd April 2019

Two national strategies that can impact on our work, and the Association is very supportive of, are the National Housing Federation’s (NHF), Together with Tenants and the Rural Services Network’s (RSN), Time for a Rural Strategy.

Recently, and following the tragic events of Grenfell Tower, housing associations have faced a number of questions about their relationship with tenants and residents such as:

  • Are tenants and residents listened to when things go wrong with their home or the service they receive?
  • Do they have the chance to influence decisions that are made about their home or the services they receive?
  • What can they do if they don’t think their landlord is taking their concerns seriously?

The NHF has been working with tenants and tenant representative groups across the country to help understand what practical change might be needed. It is anticipated that a new charter providing greater clarity to what tenants and residents should expect from their landlord will result. A national Tenant’s Advisory Panel will help to steer this work and we have provided information already to our involved tenants and residents about how, if they are interested, they can apply for a place on the Panel.

We like to think, based on the regular feedback we engage in, that more often than not we get our relationship about right however, we don’t get it right all of the time and that means we can still improve. We will look to follow the NHF’s developing plan with interest and implement any practical good practice changes that are recommended to benefit tenants and residents.

The Time for a Rural Strategy call is based around the problem that rural communities are not a focus of Government decision making and are frequently overlooked in a policy environment dominated by urban thinking and urban policy concerns. As a result, areas such as Eden and Cumbria can miss out or experience unintended consequences from policies, which are poorly thought through from a rural perspective. The RSN are calling for action that raises rural opportunities and challenges up the political agenda.

There are many strands to this but from a housing perspective the RSN claim that for every eight rural homes sold under Right to Buy, only one replacement home was built severely depleting the stock of affordable and social rented homes.

A way forward would see planning policy require affordable homes on all small sites and grant programmes that were specifically designed around this. There is a growing demand for affordable homes and we must keep pace with this.

John Clasper, Chief Executive

1 April 2019


Knit & Natter group count stitches and money

18th March 2019


Date: 12 March 2019

The Sim Court Knit and Natter Group has been very productive in the last twelve months, raising money for resident outings and creating blankets to donate to the Jigsaw charity shop in Penrith.

Every Monday afternoon, the Knit and Natter group get together at Eden Housing Association’s Sim Court Assisted Living Scheme, for coffee, cake and a good chat. Putting their time to good use, they bring along their knitting needles, crochet hooks and bags of wool, creating a haul of hats, gloves, scarfs and blankets to attract donations.

The community group, which is made up of Sim Court tenants and local residents, has been running for many years, encouraging people to get together and raising funds to support activities at the scheme. Regular participants currently include Edna Shadwick, Hazel Boyes, Eileen Soulsby and Pat Sewell, often joined by former avid knitter Louie Dent.

John Clasper, Chief Executive of Eden Housing Association said “I’d like to say a big thank you to the group who knitted some amazing hats and gloves which they sold at the Christmas Fair and also offered to our staff. These ladies are very talented and with bobble hats being so popular, there was no shortage of takers at EHA.

The Sim Court Knit and Natter group is a great free community activity. The group organise themselves, encourage others in the neighbourhood to join in and they support local charities too.”

In the last twelve months, the clickety clack of needles also benefitted Jigsaw – Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice which was the group’s nominated charity. They knitted and crocheted blankets donating them to Jigsaw at Christmas. A total of 18 blankets were knitted – along with some extra hats and children’s clothing which were collected by a volunteer from the Jigsaw shop in Penrith.

Commenting on the donation of blankets and craftwork, Andrew Maddison, Marketing Manager from Jigsaw, said “We were delighted to collect the blankets and have the opportunity to meet the ladies from Knit and Natter who created them. The craftsmanship is fantastic and we’re really grateful for their donation of the items which were sold in our Penrith Shop. The money raised will help the children’s hospice to provide the highest standards of care, support and activities to children and young adults with life limiting illnesses.”


Loneliness can have a real impact on peoples’ lives especially when people get older. According to Age UK over 2 million people over the age of 75 live alone, so getting involved with local groups and activities can make a real difference. Using knowledge and experience gained over a lifetime to give something back to the community means you get a lot back in return – something this group of natty knitters know only too well.

For more details about the Knit and Natter group and other community activities at Eden Housing Association, on 01768 861 400

Jigsaw is the children’s hospice for Cumbria. From Workington to Appleby, Barrow-in-Furness to Carlisle, Jigsaw provides unique care and support to children and young adults with life limiting illnesses.



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”

Contact Us:Housing: 01768 861 400 Repairs: 0800 3581 401 or 01768 861434
All calls are recorded for training and resolution purposes

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Eden Housing Association
Blain House, Bridge Lane, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 8QU
Telephone: 01768 861 400 Email:
All calls are recorded for training and resolution purposes

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