Homes for Wells Blog

February News

It is hard to believe that it is two years since the conversion of The Old School was completed and families started moving in.  Whilst we were carrying out the annual property reviews at the Old School, it gave us real pleasure to see such a nice community of new homes here in Wells, and available to Wells people.

We are pleased to see that recent media reports have indicated that the Government will be putting a real focus on providing more secure affordable rental housing as well as right to buy homes. Inthe Autumn Statement it was noted that a white paper is to be published stating that the government will relax restrictions on grant funding to allow providers to deliver a mix of homes for affordable rent and low cost ownership, to meet the housing needs of people in different circumstances and at different stages of their lives.  They particularly acknowledge that with current property prices, some couples may never be able to afford to buy and need good quality rental homes.  This welcome initiative comes at such a crucial time for so many, when it has also been reported that rents have increased by 8.8 % in East Anglia in the last year.  Whilst Homes for Wells are regulated by the Homes and Community Agency, we are proud to offer 6 year secure tenancies with an affordable rent linked to the Local Housing Allowance.

Turning to other matters, the Food and Drink quiz has now ended and all in all raised over £100.00.  The winner receives a meal for 2 voucher, Many thanks to our Chair of Fundraising Annie Golding and her team for arranging the quiz and for circulating the mini beach hut donation boxes.  Whilst the quiz has finished, the Beach Huts are still located around the Town and all donations are very welcome, and also ring fenced, to aid us in continuing to provide affordable rental housing in Wells and area.

 

January News

Homes for Wells finished 2016 on a high with the 10th Anniversary Celebration in December and the very successful Christmas Tide.  We now start 2017 on another high with the announcement that the  Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk and Lady Leicester have both agreed to become Patrons of Homes Wells.  We're very pleased that they have accepted these roles and their experience and enthusiasm will no doubt be of  a great advantage to Homes for Wells.  We also welcome a new Administrative Assistant, Kady Riches, who will be working in the office with Claire, our Administrator, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to help with the ever -increasing workload.
2016 proved to be yet another challenging and rewarding year for Homes for Wells inasmuch as we were able to offer two bedroomed accomodation to one family with two children and another one bed apartment to a single person.  Both applicants had very long term associations with either Wells or the surrounding area, an important fact in the selection of tenants.  However, sadly, we still have an ever-increasing application list consisting of 28 applications.  Broken down this results in 18 couples/single people requiring 1 bed accomodation, 6 families with children needing 2 bed housing and 4 families needing 3 bedroomed accomodation.  Quite a list!! 6 of these applications are from keyworkers but all applicants have strong local connections and all need secure rented accomodation which is what Homes for Wells offers.  The need is oviously still great, more funds, grants, legacies are required for Homes for Wells to increase its housing stock thus enabling it to continue to provide affordable, secure local homes for local people.

Happy Christmas

To all our supporters, donors and tenants we wish you a very Happy Christmas. 2016 has been another successful year for Homes for Wells and for all the support we have received are extremely grateful. The Office is closed until Thursday 5th January 2017 where once we're again looking forward to a busy year. Please do email office@homesforwells.co.uk with any enquiries you may have.

 

Congratualations Mr Wainwright.

The Board of Homes for Wells and Ben Hunter Watts the general manager at The Victoria, Holkham, met on Thursday 10th of November to draw the winner of the Virtual Brick Campaign. Homes for Wells have been selling virtual bricks to raise money to help them develop affordable homes to rent to local people. This is the second year the draw has been held bringing the total to nearly £4000.00.

Thanks to the generosity of the Holkham Estate, each Virtual brick bought gave the purchaser a chance to win a weekend at The Victoria Inn at Holkham including a three course dinner and bottle of wine each evening. This year’s lucky winner Simon Wainwright from Wells said “I am always delighted to support the valuable work Homes for Wells carries out and I am extremely happy to have won this wonderful prize” David Horton- Fawkes, Holkam's Estates Director commented " We are delighted to be supporting Homes for Wells again and their worthy campaign".

Andrea Golding Chair of Fundraising for Homes for Wells said “We now house 16 families in the town, this represents an astounding achievement for a group of volunteers who got together in 2006 and therefore are celebrating our 10th anniversary in December.  Once again this campaign has raised such a large amount of money which is ring fenced forthe benefit of existing tenants and future projects. We are in no doubt that the success of this campaign is due to the continued support of Holkham Estate”

Homes for Wells is a non profit registered provider of social housing and has worked hard to create enough affordable properties for the essential workers, volunteers and local people who have a proven connection to the town.  These people, or ‘key workers,’ are those whose lives here make a significant contribution to the local community and its economy.  The  key workers and their families are people in occupations or working in a voluntary capacity to provide essential services to the community of Wells, Warham, Wighton, Holkham and Stiffkey.  Low wages result in these people being unable to afford private rentals. 

Christine Abel Vice Chair and member of the Allocations Committee said “In a climate where the shortage of decent affordable rental housing is causing increasing hardship, the breakup of families and homelessness, and many government policies are aimed at selling off social rental housing, and increasing levels of rent to unaffordable levels, Homes for Wells are proud to buck the trend and to make a real difference in keeping local young people in the town and close to their families”. 

 

 

 

 

 

Join the team

Part -time Admin. Assistant required,General office duties required,good computing and communication skills together with a 'can do' and flexible approach.Please email with your C.V in the first instance to:office@homesforwells.co.uk

Two mornings a week 9.00am - 1.00pm. Salary - £10.00ph

Closing date 1st November 2016

Buy a Brick Competion

Still time to buy your brick! A chance to win agreat prize of a weekend at The Victoria, Holkam whilst helping us provide affordable housing. The draw takes place 10th November.

 

October 2016

Always a great way to start the working day when cheques for Homes for Wells arrive in the post.  We have been fortunate to receive a £250 donation from the ladies of the Women's Institute who kindly organised a Strawberry Tea - thank you to all concerned.  We would also like to thank the Wells' Pensioners Group who also gave us a donation on behalf of their speaker. All Donations are ring-fenced and are used entirely to fulfil the objectives of providing Affordable Housing for local people and key workers, on low incomes.

It is always good to know that we are still being supported by the local community.  If you are a member of a local organisation and would like to know more about how we work, then please do get in touch as we would be more than happy to come and speak with you. But in the meantime here are a few Homes for Wells facts you may not know,

Homes for Wells registered to become a Housing Association in 2014 in order to receive a grant of £410,000 from the Government funded Housing & Communities Agency and £150,000 from North Norfolk District Council to help in the purchase and conversion of the Old School.  Together with a loan from Resonance of £250,000 and the balance raised by Homes for Wells from the local community, the final project cost was £1.6 Million.On having become a Registered Provider of social housing we are highly regulated and have recently been given a clean bill of Health from the Auditors - all good news. 

Homes for Wells are one of the smallest Housing Associations in the country, currently housing seventeen families, employing one part- time member of staff working alongside a Board of 8 volunteers. 

Following the AGM on 21st September Annie Golding, recently elected as a Board member, was voted Chair of Fundraising - quite a daunting task as we shall be having an unveiling of the Plaque at the Old School by the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk and we will also be celebrating our 10 year anniversary. (Date to be confirmed) Help is always needed with these events and any offers should be directed to the office and will be very gratefully received. 

Virtual Bricks are still available to buy, the leaflets can be found around the Town at the Homes for Wells Office and downloadable from the website www.homesforwells.co.uk. On the 4th November the campaign comes to an end with the Grand Draw and announcement of the winner of the weekend break at the Holkham Victoria which has very kindly been donated again by the Holkham Estate.

September 2016

It’s mid-August as I write and the swifts have gone. The skies above my garden are quiet without the skittering, screeching high jinks of these delightful aerial acrobats. Swifts sleep on the wing, have scythe like wings and rarely land on the ground where they don’t cope well. Like Wells tourists they are a summer visitor to the East, unlike our tourists, they eat flying insects and airborne spiders, whereas our tourist’s delicacies are ice cream, crab and fish and chips. Swifts seem to sense when it’s time to leave, perhaps the drop in the evening temperature or fewer flying spiders on which to dine. Our tourists work to another chronometer, mainly the school calendar and the swifts leave for the warmer climes of Africa. The rhythm of the seasons is soothing and with a warm fire to huddle around even winter has a cosy appeal, unless you are in fuel poverty or fear becoming homeless.

Figures from Shelter show that eight million people live from one pay cheque to the next – they are one month away from not being able to pay their rent or mortgage - our working poor are living on a financial precipice. There is a link between this precipice and swifts, both need help to launch themselves again. Swifts struggle to take off from the ground, take it to the highest window and hold it at arm’s length until it feels the wind beneath its wings and launches into the sky. The housing situation in our country and our region is unlikely to improve and more than ever our local people need your support, government and grant funding has dried up so if you haven’t done so already please Buy a Virtual Brick (with a fantastic prize of a weekend at the Victoria Inn, Holkham) or remember us in your will, or make a donation.Many thanks to the retailers of Wells, Cellar by the Quay, Co-operative, Kinsley and Leftleys who supported Homes for Wells with generous gifts of alcohol for the Carnival raffle, to the Board who worked so hard on the day and Gilly Cook whose masterplan and essentials helped the day go swimmingly. With your support we raised over £300.

August 2016

Thinking out of the box is not something everyone does. People that think out of the box are considered creative, imaginative, arty, or more negatively, plain bonkers.  Challenging times and big ambitions often spawn creative thinking, such as war and space travel.  Camouflage, for example, was invented not merely to hide the presence of soldiers in various terrains, but entire fleets of ships.  The marine artist Norman Wilkinson invented this dazzle camouflage and the Norfolk artist, Edward Seago, worked extensively on camouflage during WW11. George De Mestral, a Swiss gentleman, when out walking his dog, noticed burrs stuck to his dog’s fur and later developed hook-loop fabric fasteners we call Velcro.

This year the Turner Prize has been won by a group of inventive young people called Assemble. For those of you not familiar with the Turner Prize it is the plaudit that gives the general public the most to puzzle over when it comes to art. Leaving that aside, what is interesting about the 2016 winners is that they are a collective that do very imaginative things with buildings. Buildings that have been abandoned, neglected or fallen out of favour. Recently they gave a talk in the Forum Norwich about the Cairns Street affordable housing project.

10 Houses on Cairns Street

Assemble are working with the Granby Four Streets CLT to refurbish 10 derelict terraced houses in Toxteth, Liverpool.

Residents reclaimed and planted their streets, painted the empty houses, organized a thriving monthly market and founded a Community Land Trust. Assemble have worked with them to translate their resourceful and DIY attitude into the refurbishment of housing, helping the CLT provide affordable housing for local residents that remains in community ownership. The houses use simple & low cost materials and include a number of playful, handmade architectural elements that help re-establish the character of the homes following their long neglect.www.assemblestudio.co.uk ©

Assemble find uses for all sorts of buildings, like turning disused petrol stations into cinemas. They embark on just this sort of project that inspires and benefits the local community and that Homes for Wells, now in its 10th Anniversary Year, also champions. The energy, zeal and the sheer hard– graft required is demanding, but creative out of the box thinking already provides 17 homes for the people of Wells and with your help, Homes for Wells can do more. Grants for housing have all but disappeared and here at HfW we are applying some out of the box thinking of our own… so watch this space!

  • Pop your change in the Homes for Wells Beach Hut boxes
  • Please contribute to the Buy a Virtual Brick competition
  • Support us on Carnival Day
  • Leave a living legacy
  • Volunteer your time and energy to our worthwhile cause

We still need donations of wine and booze for the wheelbarrow of booze. You may leave them at the office - hours Mon 9.30-5pm Tues 9-3pm Thurs 9-5pm. Or drop them at the Tourist Information Office on Staithe Street.

 

July 2016

July 2016

So far flaming June has been anything but, although the occasionally sunny day and balmy evening have reminded me of the true summers of the past, when the coast was toast and the sand so scorched that we danced the hot–foot fandango all the way to the cooling sea.  There is still time I suppose, although the summer equinox (the longest day) is upon us as I write; how can we have arrived in the middle of this year so quickly?

At Homes for Wells we are immensely grateful to the benefactors whose generosity support our work. Owners of the Globe, Stephen and Antonia Bournes, leased gratis an ex– local authority property to Homes for Wells and paid for the renovations. It houses a local family raised in the same street, which gives a lovely circular continuity to family life. You can make a difference in a modest way by Buying a Virtual Brick (look out for our leaflets or download from our website) with a fabulous prize a weekend for two staying at the Victoria Inn, Holkham.  Or you could put any spare change in one of the Homes for Wells beach hut donation boxes on the counters of local stores. Donations large and/or small are welcomed and taken together they can have a life–changing impact on a local family.

I notice that the work of Homes for Wells, in providing local homes for local people, is being replicated in Cornwall. One of the first things that struck me when I came to work for HfW last January, was what a marvellous template for community housing the Homes for Wells model is.  While I cannot guarantee that inspiration from HfW was the catalyst, I read with interest about a new scheme in Cornwall where celebrities and second home owners are being encouraged to donate a week’s peak season rent to the Cornwall Community Foundation and a total of £38,000 has already been donated, some by celebrities such as Gordon Ramsey and Alex Polizzi. The press has rather rudely named it a ‘Guilt Tax’ which is typically headline grabbing and mean–spirited when donating a month’s peak rent seems like a marvellous way of ensuring that local people can remain local and coastal communities can continue to thrive.

We would like to congratulate our Old School tenants for their polished performance on BBC Radio Norfolk over the Scottish Power billing debacle. It is remarkable what a local MP (Norman Lamb) and press intervention can do to wake up a slumbering energy giant. I think we have some talented tenants who could easily become radio presenters!

The popular Wheelbarrow of Booze is back and will be raffled on Carnival Day. Your donations of bottles of alcohol can be delivered either to the Homes for Wells office in the Sackhouse on Tuesday or Thursday between 9am and 5pm or to the Tourist Information Centre on Staithe Street open daily 10-4pm.

 

June 2016

The Cornish resort of St Ives made national headlines recently, when more than 80% of voters, voted to ban the sale of new homes to non-residents in an effort to keep affordable properties for local people. Vacant homes are making headlines, not only in seaside resorts and areas of outstanding beauty, but also in some of the most expensive areas of London. High end properties are seen as a safe haven by foreign investors who neither live in them nor rent them; they simply wait for them to appreciate in value – effectively a bricks and mortar bank. Whole areas of prime real-estate remain dark all year round and where once cafes and shops thrived, there is a ghostly emptiness.  This has had the effect of waking up our London-centric government and there are moves afoot to insist that properties are lived in for a set period each year. The trouble started when property began to be seen as an investment. If you have accumulated wealth in an unstable country, then you will look for a safe and secure investment in a city like London. Closer to home, the villagers of Burnham Thorpe are dismayed by the granting of planning permission for 6 expensive properties likely to sell to second home owners. (Chris Bishop EDP 2.05.16). In St Ives properties are typically 18 times the national average (Josh Noble - Financial Times 6.05.2016) where the parish of St Ives has a target of 50% new affordable homes. Many second home owners in Norfolk later become residents who contribute a great deal to the community and tourism in Wells sustains the local economy. Affordable homes need building in areas with a shop, a school, employment and a daily bus service - the loss of rural transport is a barrier to a sustainable life. Balance is the key; second homes owners have a lot to contribute, but local people need housing, perhaps forming an alliance of communities affected by swathes of dark houses will help to find a creative solution to this pressing housing issue; if nothing else the St Ives vote has started a national debate and that can only be a good thing.

Volunteering opportunities: we need help on our prize stall on Carnival Day (Sat 6th August) do get in touch 01328 711703 or pop in to the office on Tuesday or Thursday if you have an hour or two to spare and speak to Claire or Patricia.

The Buy a Virtual Brick competition leaflet is now available to download directly from our website. www.homesforwells.co.uk

May 2016

Did you know that the UK has the highest number of volunteers in the world and that volunteering dates back to medieval times? Like anything else volunteering has gone through its fashions and stages, in the 1960’s it was a way to keep gangs of youths from fighting, in the 1970’s it was an appendage to Social Services. Volunteering is sometimes re-named by governments and given a new title such as, Active Citizenship, Civil Society or the Big Society. Whatever you choose to call it 27% of the adult population volunteer once a month for up to three hours and 40% of us have volunteered in the previous year — impressive statistics. There is even an organisation called ASDAN which runs nationally approved and accredited courses for volunteers that can be a stepping stone to employment www.asdan.org.uk/courses  Volunteering is good for us, it develops numerous skills such as team working, communication, adaptability and flexibility. It increases our sense of self-worth, improves organisational skills and, more importantly, it builds confidence and self-esteem.

Fundraising is vital to the continuation of the work of Home for Wells and in the coming months I will be putting a fundraising team together. We are looking for enthusiastic people who have a little time to spare for Homes for Wells, it will be fun and a great way to meet people, get out and make new friends. So either pop in to the office for an informal chat or email: patricia@homesforwells.co.uk or ring on 01328 711703. Office hours are 9-5pm Tuesday and Thursday. The Sackhouse, Jicklings Yard, Staithe Street, Wells-next-the-Sea. NR23 1AU

Watch out for the new Buy a Virtual Brick leaflets available from the Wells Tourist Information Centre, The Sackhouse and various pubs in the area.  

April 2016

Figure this – Statistics to Conjure with.

Recently, three of the Homes for Wells team attended the Norfolk Rural Support Network Seminar in Syderstone. Entitled Rural Crisis in Housing – The Way Forward?  The key issues probably won’t come as a surprise to the residents of North Norfolk; under supply and lack affordability in the housing market and a workforce that is frequently employed in casual/seasonal work on zero–hours contracts.

This statistical comparison between Norfolk and England was part of the presentation by Steve Cheshire of the Norfolk Citizens Advice Bureau, and may surprise you.

 

  • Percentage of second homes on the Norfolk coastal fringe          60%
  • Percentage of housing stock second homes (Norfolk)                 14.9%
  • National percentage of second homes (England)                         4.3%     
  • Residents over 60 years of age (Norfolk)                                    23%  
  • National average age residents over 60 years (England)             16.3%
  • Income in excess of 60K per year                                             11.5%
  • Income of less than 20K per year                                              51%
  • Attending the CAB earning under £1000 per month                     55%
  • Average price of rental accommodation in this region                  £786 per month
  • Number of residents in fuel poverty                                           41,200
  • Number homeless, or on the verge of being homeless                 20%

 

There was a phrase used by the Citizens Advice Bureau that caught in my throat — unsustainable lives — what a sad description of the plight of so many families.

On the plus side, we have 103 residents per kilometre as compared to 407 per kilometre in England, so we all have room to breathe and enjoy those vast skies, our beautiful coastline and rolling countryside.

So you can see that the work of Homes for Wells, in providing affordable homes for local people and key workers, is desperately needed. Every contribution, no matter how small, goes towards housing the people who are the community of Wells. Look out for our new Buy a Virtual Brick leaflets where you can enter our competition and get a chance to win a wonderful weekend at The Victoria, Holkham. We are grateful to all our donors and benefactors, many of whom are second home owners themselves.

We have a special occasion, the celebration of our 10th Anniversary, this autumn and we are looking for help from anyone with PR or fundraising experience. Please contact me, Patricia Mullin, at the Homes for Wells Office 01328 711703 or email office@homesforwells.co.uk

December 2015

Homes for Wells would like to thank all those who have supported them throughout the year, 2015 has been a pinnacle year for the Society with the completion of The Old School and managing so many other accomplishments. 2016 is the 10th Anniversary of Homes for Wells so another exciting year awaits. Please note the office is closed until Tuesday 5th January 2015, please do email office@homesforwells.co.uk or leave a message 01328 711703. Merry Christmas!

 

November 2015

Homes for Wells were delighted to draw the winner of their Buy a virtual Brick campaign. 

On the 10th of November. The draw took place at the Homes for Wells office and the lucky winner Mrs Hannah from Berkshire, was picked by Annie Golding and daughter Aoife, being Homes for Wells' latest tenants housed in the town which means so much to them. Annie said “We are so pleased to have our new family home to raise our daughter, I have lived in Wells all my life and to have the security of an affordable home is so reassuring”. Annie who runs the Picnic Hut on Staithe Street and partner Martin who is a fisherman out of Wells harbour have recently moved into a 2 bedroom cottage on a secure tenancy of 5 years.Homes for Wells have been selling virtual bricks to raise money to help them develop affordable homes to rent to local people. Thanks to generosity of the Holkham Estate, each brick bought gave the purchaser a chance to win a weekend at The Victoria Inn at Holkham including a three course dinner and bottle of wine on both evenings. Mrs Hannah was on holiday in Wells when she decided to purchase the Victual Bricks. The Hannah family have been visiting Wells next the Sea for the last 27 years and thought this would be a wonderful way to give something back to the Town and as a thank you for the wonderful holidays they have year on year.David Horton-Fawkes, Holkham’s Estates Director commented “We’re delighted to support Homes for Wells and I promise to make sure the deserving winner has a wonderful weekend at the Vic”.The Campaign has raised £2500.00 which is ring fenced for the benefit of existing tenants and future projects. Homes for Wells Board member Marcus French said “The money raised by the brick campaign will be the building blocks for properties for keyworkers and those with a local connection to Wells to have affordable secure homes, Homes for Wells relies on local support to be able to continue the work we do.  The campaign has raised more than anticipated, no doubt to the generous prize from Holkham Estate and for this we are extremely grateful

October 2015

Homes for Wells will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016. The way in which the society operates has had to change over the years to keep up to date with various regulations and its general rapid growth and development. Currently, Homes for Wells has 66 shareholders, 9 Board members and 5 Co-opted members, all of these members are volunteers with various roles and responsibilities. All Board members and Co- opted members have to be shareholders and are affiliated to a sub-committee - Allocations, Finance, Housing and Development, Governance and Public Relations. If you would like to become a Shareholder, have a have a skill which you think will benefit Homes for Wells, or a general interest in the work Homes for Wells carries out then please do get in touch.

October 2015

Homes for Wells are still lobbying to ensure small rural housing associations are exempt from the Right to Buy. The following information has been received from Henry Bellingham, M.P. For our neighboring constituency. He writes, " As far as the proposed amendments are concerned, I would imagine that the government are probably going to bring forward a number(of amendments to the Housing Act) at both committee and report stages as the Bill goes through both Houses and from what I am hearing, they will be in line with what you ( that is HfW) want to see." We are hopeful that HfW will be exempt from Right to Buy and will keep you posted.

October 2015

Thank you to Wells Carnival Committee who have continued their support of the work carried out by Homes for Wells. A £250.00 donation has been received for the benefit of the Tenants, this will be put on the agenda of the next Tenants Association meeting which will be held on the 2nd of December.

October 2015

The Plaque which was awarded to Homes for Wells.

 

October 2015

Following the AGM Homes for Wells are pleased to introduce 2 new Board memebers, Geoff Finkemeyer and Christine Abel. Geoff has been a Co-opted member of the Allocations Commitee for some time and has now taken the role of Chair of the Alloccations commitee. Geoff’s career spans 35 years in the corporate sector.His role has included financial and company directorships.  

Christine Abel was born in the West Country and moved to Wells, in 1970.  Her two children were born here and attended the primary school in Wells.  Christine was Clerk to the Wells Harbour Commissioners from 1974 to 1994 and became the first woman Harbour Commissioner in Wells.  She completed her law degree at UEA and her law finals in London, and then joined local law firm Hayes and Storr, where she worked as a solicitor, from 1994 onwards in the property and private client departments.  She became a partner of Hayes and Storr in 2001 and then subsequently became head of the private client department, which spread over five offices.  She retired from the law in 2012, and has enjoyed the freedom to garden, travel and spend time with her grandchildren since then.  Christine has joined the Board of Homes for Wells and the Allocations Sub-Committee.

October 2015

Homes for Wells are looking for Co-ordinator, based here in Wells-next-the-Sea. 15 hours per week, (occasional evening work) £15 per hour. Responsible to the Homes for Wells Trustees and liaising with the administrator, voluntary & community groups, statutory & public bodies, individuals & businesses. For a full job description please contact Homes for Wells, 01328 711703 – email office@homesforwells.co.uk. Application / CV to be received by 20th November please.

October 2015

A local family took up the tenacy of the recently renovated Campden Cottage on Freeman Street. 

September 2015

Homes for Wells held their AGM on the 23rd of September.The past year has been an extremely busy but rewarding year for Homes for Wells.  The ‘jewel in the crown’ was without doubt the completion of the conversion of the Old School into 11 new homes for local people. This was a huge undertaking for such a small group of individuals with vision and determination. Homes for Wells now have 16 properties and houses 25 adults, 8 keyworkers and 18 children. All Homes for Wells properties are now fully occupied. Board Members, Gilly Cook, Julia Wildin and Fiona McCullum, having contributed much time and effort to HfW, have retired. Fiona will though be staying on the Allocations Commitee as a co-opted member, We are extremly grateful to them all.  However we are pleased to welcome Geoff Finkemeyer, who has been a co-opted member of the Allocations committee onto the Board and we also are pleased that Christine Abel has also joined the Board of HfW.

September 2015

We are delighted to have also been awarded the CPRE ASKHAM Award for creative and sympathetic use of land or buildings.

Photo Credit Julia Holland

September 2015

Homes for Wells are extremely pleased to have been awarded a Highly Commended certificate at the Graham Allen Award for Design and Conservation held at the North Norfolk District Council Offices together with the People's Choice award

August 2015

The fundraising team had another busy summer, raffling Olafs and Minions kindly donated by Perry Underwood. The barrow of Booze attracted much attention. The Buy an Brick campaign is still running strong with the prize of a weekend for two at the Victoria in Holkham being drawn on 10th November.

August 2015

Homes for Wells started a petion apposing the extention of Right to Buy for Housing Asscociations.

If you would like to join our campaign, please write to your MP, write to Brandon Lewis, Minister of State for Housing and Planning and sign the online petition by copying and pasting this address you’re your browser: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-right-to-buy-for-housing-associations

July 2015

The renovation on Campden Cottage in Freeman Street and is now ready to re- let.

July 2015

The first tenants association meeting was held at The Sackhouse. This is an oppertunity for tenants to meet each other and represatives of The Board. This was a very positive meeting where the tenants were able to share ideas and concerns. The next meeting will take place in October. 

June 2015

An evening of art and wine  at Cellar by the Quay in aid of Homes for Wells.

 

June 2015

"Fantastic news!The Old School has been entered for the Askham Award, a special accolade within the Campaign to Protect Rural England Norfolk Awards. This award looks for projects which show, for example, a creative and imaginative approach to revival and regeneration and sensitive development of brownfield sites and/or featuring under-utilised buildings. Wish us luck!!The Askham Award for Creative Use of Existing Land or Buildings <http://dmtrk.com/16RU-38Z3B-6EGOAW-1IIDKJ-1/c.aspx>"

 

June 2015

Smart new sign for The Old School

10 May 2015

 Leftleys of Wells donate £1000 to Homes for Wells

Nigel Leftley presents HfW Chair Lynn Watson with a cheque for £1000 to support our work. Leftleys is a member of the Nisa group of independent retailers who run a scheme where 1p from each own-brand product purchased in-store is donated to a local organisation and Leftleys chose Homes for Wells - for the second time!!  Thank you Leftleys for your support and thank you all you lovely local shoppers!

 

April 2015

'Buy a Brick' - win a weekend at The Vic!!

Our new fundraising campaign has launched. Each virtual 'brick' bought enters you in the draw for a fabulous weekend at The Vic at Holkham including a three course dinner and a bottle of wine.  Bricks are available from £5 to £100 or you can donate via JustGiving at www.justgiving.com/homesforwells or text HOFW15 and the amount of your choice to 70070.  Leaflets are available from the Sackhouse, TIC and at various local pubs.  Help us build on the success of the Old School - there is still much to do!!

 

29 March 2015

Old School features on cover of the Quay magazine

HfW is delighted to make the cover of this month's Quay magazine - celebrating the Quay's 10th anniversary

9 February 2015

Moving in day!

Monday dawned bright and dry - perfect for moving house! Eager tenants began calling at the HfW office first thing for their keys and welcome packs.  Lots of tired but happy people at the Old School tonight.  Lynn and everyone at HfW would like to wish all tenants great joy and happiness in their new homes.

 

8 February 2015

Old School Open Day - did you find your initials on the loo wall??

Around 170 people came to view the Old School apartments on Sunday.  Former pupils mixed with excited new tenants.  There was much reminiscing and Chris Beale was on hand with a show of photographs charting the school from its Victorian inception through Field Study Centre days to the its current glory as a superb example of how to make a conversion really work - from a school to 10 fabulous new affordable homes for local keyworkers and their families.  Former pupil John Tuck is shown below with Homes for Wells board members, Gilly Cook and Julia Wildin.  Lorna Kirk - also a former pupil who was very keen to see the changes - said "It's really lovely: spacious, light and airy and the building still looks as handsome as ever!”.

 

30 January 2015

Handover of keys to Old School

Keys to our ten new apartments were handed over today.  Completed on schedule and ready to move into!!

Left to right: Marcus French (HfW) Geoff Lane and Chris Buckingham (Pentaco), Lynn Watson (Chair, HfW) Steve Tuck (Housing Manager HfW), Daniel Key (QS, Richard Utting Associates)

30 January 2015

Old School Development

A short film by Marcus French showing how the conversion of the Old School took place

23 January 2015

Open Day at Old School - come and take a peek

Open Day Poster

We are proud to announce the forthcoming completion of the Old School conversion.  A number of apartments will be open for a brief viewing on Sunday 8 February 10-12noon.  Come and join us - see what your support has helped us achieve.  Sorry, no under 16s or dogs permitted.  See you there!

 

21 January 2015

 Big thanks to Pat and Mike

Huge thank you from HfW to Wells builders Pat Weston and Mike Briggs.  Pat has provided the concrete base for new benches and Mike the concrete base for the Eurobins at the Old School.  Fantastic generosity - top blokes!

 

20 January 2015

Future Projects - what happens next?

Things continue apace at HfW and the Old School is very nearly finished.  We have other projects in hand too.  Campden Cottage is to be renovated and the Caretaker's Cottage at the Old School is to be refurbished ready for occupation. 

 

10 January 2015

Success of Old School Preview

Nearly 70 guests - including Norman Lamb MP and Councillors Tom Fitzpatrick of NNDC and Marie Strong of NCC - enjoyed a brief tour of the Old School on Saturday.  Our contractors worked hard to have three apartments tidy enough to view but one guest remarked "When you said it was a building site, you really meant it! I thought you meant it was just a bit untidy!".  Despite the constraints, our guests were very impressed with the quality of the conversion of this special Grade II building.  The guests included major donors and supporters of HfW,  who love Wells as it is and, as some have second properties here, want to put something back into this thriving and very special community.  The preview was featured in on ITV Anglia, on Radio Norfolk, in the EDP and Fakenham and Wells Times.  Exciting times indeed.

 

23 December

Christmas holidays!!

Our Sackhouse office is now closed until 9am on Monday 5 January.  Tenants, please contact Steve Tuck in emergencies.  Wishing all tenants, supporters and soon to be tenants a very Merry Christmas!

13th December

Tenants get first look at Old School

 

On Saturday morning we were delighted to show prospective tenants around the homes they have been offered at The Old School.  An exciting day for all concerned.  Tenants were thrilled to have a first peek at their homes and were  particularly impressed by the light and space.

Emily West (24) so loved her apartment with its high ceilings that she signed on the spot!  Emily's job as a Support Worker with Young People with Learning Difficulties means working shifts so being able to stay in Wells will make life so much easier and she will be able to stay close to her family.   Dad is well known local builder, Ray. 

Young couple Anna and Peter are expecting their first child in April.  After 8 years living with Anna's parents, the couple are thrilled to be offered a two bedroom apartment and were happily working out where their furniture would go.  Peter, who cooks crabs, and Anna, dinner lady and chef at Ollie's, report being "over the moon" with their new home.  "2015 will be our year" said Peter.

HfW are proud and pleased to finally be at this happy stage and wish all our tenants much joy in their new homes.

11th November

Cashmere Sale !

 

7th November

New property in Westfield Avenue - another affordable home in Wells!

Homes for Wells is delighted to announce that a property in Westfield Avenue has been made available for letting to a local family at an affordable rent with all the proceeds going back into Homes for Wells. Stephen and Antonia Bournes, who own and run The Globe Inn on The Buttlands, have purchased the property and are making it available to tenants of Homes for Wells for a period of ten years. The Bournes’ were drawn to the town not simply because of the beauty of this coast, but because this is a vibrant, working town and by making this property available they will help a Wells’ young family stay part of the community.

 

Stephen Bournes said "Both Antonia and I believe in the strength of family and community and this is a great opportunity to maintain those values in Wells and help support young families."

 

Homes for Wells thank Stephen and Antonia for their generous support. It is hoped that tenants of this property will be able to move in by the New Year.

6th November

Allocations process for Old School 

Offer letters have been sent out to successful applicants as per the published timeline. We are very encouraged by the interest in The Old School and disappointed that we cannot accommodate more at this time. A busy time is ahead with viewings-we are still on track for tenants to start the moving process in February.

4th November

The Old School floor plans

 A view of the floor plan of The Old School.

 

22nd October

Songs from the shows

Please join us for an evening of entertainment with the wonderful Liz Dark.

15th October

Old School development – FAQs

What will be on the floors?

Polyflor throughout kitchen/living area and bathroom. Unfortunately our budget does not allow for flooring of hallways and bedrooms.  All floor finishes, covered or uncovered, comply with Housing Association standards.

Will blinds be provided?

Tenants will be responsible for providing and fitting their own blinds/curtains.

Appliances – what will be provided?

No white goods at all. There will be space in each unit for: upright fridge/freezer, washing machine and standard sized cooker.

What paint finishes will there be?

All units will be decorated with the same neutral colour throughout.

Will there be showers fitted in the bathrooms?

Over bath showers will be fitted in all properties.

What provision will be made for refuse and recycling bins? 

Approximately three large refuse/recycling bins will be provided for tenants' use in a communal location; no individual bins.

How will moving in be managed?

To be notified. No decision made as yet.

Can we view before making a final decision? 

Individual viewings will take place during mid/end of November when the site has been designated as safe.

What provision has been made for parking?  How many spaces?

There will be one allocated space per unit.

What happens if we have visitors?

Provision has been made for some visitor spaces; otherwise parking will be on the road.

Will I have my own front door?

Yes, each dwelling has its own door.

You will see from the responses above that we are trying hard to achieve the best we can on a tight budget.  More questions have been asked and we are in the process of finding out the answers to them.  Please email Homes for Wells or contact us via Facebook or Twitter with your queries; we will do our best to answer them.

OCTOBER 2014

HfW an example of Best Practice

The Old School development has been chosen as an exemplar by the Government's Rural Housing Advisory Group - in other words, this is how to do it!
RHAG representatives today filmed at the site in order to feature HfW in an event later this month which will share best practice in the delivery of affordable housing in rural areas across the country.  RHAG were very impressed with the development, making special mention of the space available and the location. Old School is particularly remarkable as a re-development rather than a new build.  HfW is delighted to have been selected for this accolade.
HfW Chair Lynn Watson with Old School Site Manager Chris Buckingham
RHAG members Becky Ashley and Georges Droogmans with HfW Board Members

 

1st October

Homes for Wells - A good example of rural housing developments!

The HCA (Homes and Communities Agency) have nominated Homes for Wells to The Government’s Rural Advisory Group as an excellent example of Rural Housing developments. The Old School project is a fine example on why these projects are crucial for local communities.  

 

13th August

Fun with fundraising!

During Carnival week Homes for Wells were able to raise £1200 on the Bring and Buy Stalls, plus £863.00 on Carnival Day. This would not have been possible without all those who helped or contributes raffle prizes, barrow of sweets and bric a brac to whom we would like to extend a huge thank you.

  

30th July

The Old School

School is definitely not out for summer! No time off for our hard-working contractors at The Old School!

Update from the work on Polka Road.

The trees lining the drive have been professionally thinned and pollarded,  the beautiful old roof tiles are being faithfully put back with the original Victorian design and inside the Old School  a maze of stud walls are up delineating the new homes… Up to 14 builders are daily hard at work making certain that the building schedule at The Old School remains firmly on track and we can report the completion of the first fix stage.

Duncan Marshall-Andrew, Board member for the building committee, is very proud of extremely high spec which is being used throughout this project, now well underway, to create ten 1 to 3 bed new units within The Old School building and a smart separate home from the caretaker’s old house.  Duncan points out the thick insulation packs being used throughout, to make sure essential sound insulation is in place between the units.  This insulation, together with the myriad lines of pipes already in place under floors and along walls, will ensure that each home is built to withstand our cold winter months. “This insulation will help to keep people’s heating bills down,” he said.

 “We are coming across all the normal problems which one expects on any project, but overall the scheme is going really very well indeed.”   Duncan has underlined that the progress is largely due to the generous initial financial support from some of the town’s latest arrivals.    

What are your memories of Wells’ first school? If you were a pupil there and would like to share memories and even pictures about what life was like in this lovely old building years ago, then we would love to hear from you by email, Facebook or Twitter!

Property Allocations Timeline

Proposed timeline for the allocation of properties at The Old School                       

August 2014 

Allocations Committee draw up provisional allocations with reserve list.

August/September 2014
Letters to applicants stating they are being provisionally considered for allocation of a property at the Old School, references will be taken up and a visit made by housing manager. 

October 2014
Confirm allocations to prospective tenants

November 2014
Tenants view properties and accept or decline

December 2014
Sign contracts

End January 2015
Full occupancy

Please note that the timeline maybe subject to change.

New Housing Agent

Steve Tuck

We are pleased to announce that Steve Tuck has returned to Homes for Wells as a housing agent. Steve was involved in Homes for Wells for many years before concentrating on other voluntary work in the Town. Steve’s main role will be liaising with tenants and ensuring the any queries can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. 

Tenant Survey

 

‘It is really important that Wells’ current thriving community is maintained,’ according to a recent survey of  Homes for Wells tenants.

The families and individuals who are the HfW tenants are at the heart of everything the housing association does, so it is really important to note the results of a recent survey into their current opinions and feelings about their homes, about HfW and about the way Wells as a town is going. The survey certainly met with some strong responses.

In general, tenants are pleased with the way problems and repairs at their homes are resolved. They are certainly very happy to have affordable homes in the town where they have always lived and where it is important to them to see their children grow up.  “It has helped me stay in the town and raise my family, if it was not for HfW I would still be living with my Mum,” said one.

Everyone is cautiously welcoming the development of The Old School. While there is clear delight that such a fantastic project could be organised, tenants want to see the homes go to people who really need them and there is uncertainty about the unfamiliar arrangement being made for communal rather than individual gardens.

There is however a very strong and unanimous feeling that our lovely fishing town must maintain its balanced community and while newcomers are warmly welcomed, everyone is keen for homes to be available to the all important key workers in the town

All the HfW tenants warn against the place losing its locals and say the solution is to provide more family homes and make life easier to everyone by providing a free car park.

Since its launch in 2006, Homes for Wells has worked hard to create enough affordable properties for the essential workers, volunteers and local people who have a proven connection to the town.  Over 30 families have so far been housed.

Please let us know how you think we can all work together to maintain Wells as a thriving town for local people.