We’re celebrating Rural Housing Week! | News

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We’re celebrating Rural Housing Week!

This week (5-9 July) is the annual celebration of rural housing and the vital role it plays in helping to sustain thriving rural communities and services.

Organised by the National Housing Federation and the Rural Housing Alliance, Rural Housing Week is an opportunity to highlight key rural issues and shine a spotlight on successful affordable housing developments and services that offer a lifeline to local people. It gives housing associations’ an opportunity to demonstrate their dedication to providing affordable homes that people love and that keep rural services alive. Now, more than ever, housing associations are committed to their communities and to working together to help them thrive. Rural Housing Week is the perfect time to celebrate that.

There is a chronic shortage of affordable housing in rural England and Sussex is no exception to this, with properties in many areas costing well in excess of the average county income.

These trends can make rural areas unaffordable for some and can create an imbalance in rural communities as young people, families and those on low incomes cannot afford inflated house prices.

CEO, Tracy Evans says “Sussex Housing & Care has helped to ensure hundreds of homes for local people across rural parts of Sussex. We are committed to supporting rural communities in our county to be vibrant and diverse places in which to live, where older people can live a bright life.”

If you’re over 55 and looking to rent or buy, Sussex Housing & Care’s housing schemes enable you to live independently with peace of mind that help is on hand if you need it. A number of these properties are located within rural Sussex:

Downash Court, Flimwell

Situated in the rolling countryside between Flimwell and Ticehurst, Downash Court is set in beautiful grounds in ‘1066 country’. These leasehold properties benefit from a large courtyard, communal lounge, laundry and car park.

Due to its location, Downash Court is suited to the more mobile resident. Properties are marketed by local estate agents and are aimed at purchasers who may not otherwise be able to afford to buy a home in retirement.

Henry and Norma who have lived at Downash Court for the past 15 years moved from the Cotswolds, where Henry had worked as a Pastor. They wanted to be close to their son and grandchildren who live in Sevenoaks. Limited in finance, they chose a leasehold property.

“Downash is a beautiful spot”, says Henry. “There’s always lots going on and somewhere nice to go with places nearby to visit”. Flimwell is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, between Bewl Water and Bedgebury Pinetum. Several local farm shops are within a short drive and the 700-year-old Bodiam Castle lies to the southeast. Neighbouring villages include Hurst Green and Hawkhurst.

Bewl Water, located near Downash Court, Flimwell  Bedgebury Pinetum, located near Downash Court, Flimwell

Picturesque: Bewl Water and Bedgebury Pinetum, located near Downash Court, Flimwell

Henry and Norma are an active couple who are  involved with the church. “We like people and enjoy involving ourselves in the local and wider community, helping out on committees and such like”, concludes Henry. During the pandemic, they have kept an ‘eye out’ for an elderly friend in nearby Wadhurst and have good neighbours who keep an eye out for one another, looking out for those that have had to shield.

Another couple located at Downash Court Mike and Ruth, discovered Downash Court after emigrating from South Africa just over ten years ago. “We’re very happy with the surroundings. Our daughter lives in Hildenborough, a 30 minute drive away and we’re just a two minute walk from beautiful fields, lambs in the spring and farmland”.

Also at Downash Court, Yvette also gets very involved in the community. Having moved to Flimwell in 2014, Yvette sings in a church choir and within a local community group. She also belongs to the U3-a and plays the ukulele with two brass bands.

Yvette has four grandchildren, one of which she does the school collection for, and likes to keep herself busy. “I am a retired registered nurse and I volunteer within a local village to drive people to hospital and also look after a neighbour.”

She also likes to keep fit and used to belong to a hiking group that she attended twice a week. “I’m too busy these days to fit it into my schedule!” she says.

Downash Court, Flimwell

Downash Court, Flimwell

St Thomas of Canterbury, Mayfield

St Thomas of Canterbury is a delightful small community, set over three floors and close to the beautiful rural village of Mayfield, nine miles south of Tunbridge Wells. The properties are available to rent by people over 60 years old.

The elegant medieval high street has a wide range of shops offering not just basic necessities, but also local produce, crafts, fashion and more. There is an annual carnival hosted in the village (usually) every September and two thriving pubs.

Beautiful Mayfield high street  St Thomas of Canterbury scheme manager, Caroline Thomas assisting resident with digital technology

Beautiful Mayfield high street and scheme manager, Caroline Thomas assisting a resident with digital technology (note, picture taken pre-pandemic)

On site there are eight spacious studio flats, eight one-bedroom apartments for single people and nine one-bedroom flats for couples.

With beautiful grounds that are a haven for wildlife, there is a lively and homely feel to the scheme. Facilities include a popular communal lounge, laundry and guest room. Coffee mornings, yoga and (during ‘normal’ times) summer outings are among the many organised activities that can be enjoyed.

St Thomas of Canterbury, Mayfield  St Thomas of Canterbury, Mayfield

St Thomas of Canterbury, Mayfield

Waldron Court, Heathfield

Set in spacious grounds, Waldron Court consists of 22 flats, bungalows and cottages for leasehold purchase. Buses and shops are within easy walking distance of Heathfield town centre.

Heathfield lies between Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne and usually holds an annual fair, ‘the Heffle Cuckoo’, each April, while the annual Heathfield Agricultural Show takes place in May. There is also an Anglo/French market called Le Marché held on August Bank Holiday.

Heathfield high street

Local high street in Heathfield

Facilities at Waldron Court include a small communal lounge for coffee mornings and social events. These properties are also aimed at people who are looking for more affordable housing options in the area.

Waldron Court, Heathfield  Waldron Court, Heathfield

Waldron Court, Heathfield

Leasehold sheltered housing offers for many, the best possible prospect for independent living and also optimises quality of life. There is no stopping our residents at Sussex Housing & Care!

For further information about eligibility criteria and how to apply, please visit our website at https://www.sussexhousing.org.uk/properties

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