Affordable Housing is crucial to enabling young people to stay in rural villages – read David Harper’s story.
David Harper was born in Newcastle, but moved to Hudswell, a small village 3 miles from the North Yorkshire market town of Richmond, when he was 18 month old. He had an idyllic childhood; climbing trees, exploring the countryside and being totally immersed in village life.
He met his wife in the village and their young son, Phillip, and new baby girl Lucy were both born there too. His parents and his wife’s parents live in Hudswell as well.
David works at the local pub, and is well known in this very social village. He is a keen walker, recently completing the Coast to Coast walk, which runs past Hudswell, in four days!
But up until 18 months ago, David had felt his future in the village was uncertain.
He had moved five or six times in the previous few years trying to find the right accommodation for him and his family. Every home they could afford lacked the space they needed and other houses were out of their price range.
He feared they may have to move far away from their village and their extended family to find a house in a location they could afford.
Luckily for them, local residents had also recognised that there was a lack of affordable housing in the village. And they realised Hudswell was going to lose some of the vibrant young people in the community if they didn’t take action.
With support from Richmondshire’s Rural Housing Enabler, local charity Hudswell Community Charity did a survey, writing to every resident in the village, about their housing needs. It was established that three affordable houses were needed at that time, for the younger generation, but also to accommodate elderly folk who wanted to stay there.
With a dedicated team of interested residents, they decided together to make it happen. They secured grants and a loan and along with some of the charity’s reserves, they got enough funds to meet the build costs of the three properties.
In November 2017 Thompson Cottages were complete. David and his family were offered first refusal on one of them.
“The offer was life changing for me,” Dave said. “We were so happy when we were offered this home. It had enough space for our son to have his own room and finally we would be able to store everything in one place. Since we moved in our second child Lucy has been born and she will be able to have her own room too.”
“Hudswell is ideal for little ones and we really didn’t want to have to move away. There’s a lovely play park and it is quiet. It is great to feel secure in our long-term future here and to be amongst our family and friends in the village we love. And my work is just a stroll away.”
Hear more about how Community Led Housing can improve the lives of people in rural communities in this video.