Trust provides purpose-built housing for elderly residents

Some 50 years ago, in what was regarded as a groundbreaking initiative, Reepham Housing Trust was formed to provide purpose-built housing to enable disabled or elderly people to lead independent lives in the community.

Photos: Carolyn Penney/Reepham Housing Trust

To that end, a plot of land, behind the present fire station in School Road, was obtained, and a total of eight architect-designed “cottages” were built in what is now Sun Barn Walk.
These cottages, or bungalows, were built with features that we have come to regard as normal for occupants with limited mobility, including:

  • 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;
  • electric light switches and outlet sockets fitted a little under three feet above floor level.

Obviously, over the last half century, circumstances have changed; for example, most of the 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.
As an 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 flower bed for the tenant’s 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.
Reepham Housing Trust is a not-for-profit company that is responsible for the care and upkeep not only of the bungalows but also the grounds and shared amenities. The trustees hold scheduled meetings four times a year plus an annual general meeting.
Rents are reviewed every 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.
Like all organisations Reepham Housing Trust needs new trustees. This need not be a particularly onerous task as it only meets four times a year and not all trustees have designated roles.
It just needs people from the local community who can contribute to the discussions at the meetings, bringing fresh ideas and enthusiasm. In the fullness of time some people may feel able to take on additional roles.
If you would like further information or feel you could help, please email Carolyn Penney, Secretary, Reepham Housing Trust Ltd:

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