Some 50 years ago, in what was regarded as a ground-breaking initiative, the Reepham Housing Trust was formed to provide purpose-built accommodation to enable disabled or elderly people to lead independent lives in the community.
A plot of land, behind the present fire station in School Road, was obtained and several architect-designed “cottages” were built in what is now known as Sun Barn Walk.
These cottages (bungalows) were built with features that we have come to regard as normal for occupants with limited mobility.
These include toilets and shower rooms large enough to accommodate wheelchairs; lever taps at sinks and washbasins for those with restricted hand movement; cooking appliances fitted at varying heights to suit individual residents’ needs; and electric light switches and outlet sockets fitted less than three feet above floor level.
Over the past half century, circumstances have changed; for example, most residents are now elderly rather than disabled, but the trust is still providing affordable accommodation that can be adapted for individual tenants' needs.
The trust has also ensured that the bungalows are improved and updated wherever possible as funds allow.
For example, some 10 years ago the original electric night store heating was removed and replaced with individual air source heat pumps and solar panels for heating and hot water.
Although each bungalow has an attached raised flowerbed for the tenants' enjoyment the communal gardens are maintained by the trust.
More recently a garden room with all mod cons was added to provide a communal area where residents can socialise.
The Reepham Housing Trust is a “not for profit” company responsible for the care and upkeep not only of the bungalows, but also the grounds and shared amenities.
Rents are reviewed each year and every attempt is made to ensure they are kept as low as possible.
Being a “not for profit” company all income is either spent on routine maintenance of the properties or held in reserve for that proverbial rainy day.
However, like all community groups, the trust relies heavily on its members and we are currently facing the imminent retirement of some of its trustees.
At our March annual general meeting Jan Henry retired after many years of much appreciated service. We would like to thank her for all she has done for the housing trust and the community.
If you would like to see the trust continue to provide much needed affordable housing for our community for another half century and would like to join us, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Your involvement would not be onerous, amounting to attending four meetings per year plus any other support you might be able give us, but it would provide the satisfaction of supporting the local community.
Write to: Reepham Housing Trust, 6A Sunbarn Walk, Reepham NR10 4JR or email: firstname.lastname@example.org