Home sweet home

Blessed was the word used by four families who moved into the new homes on our Meadow Road regeneration site when they completed in December 2015.

The site, which contained six blocks of studio flats built in the 1950s, had become outdated in both layout and build quality by today’s standards and was host to a number of issues.

Following consultation with residents in the area, as well as those that lived within the studio flats, the decision was made to regenerate one of the blocks and demolish the other five to make way for 12 two bedroom family homes.

During a walkabout on Friday 18 March Jackie Bligh – chief executive of Worthing Homes, John Mitchell – director for communities and Cllr Dr. Heather Mercer – executive member for customer services, both from Adur and Worthing council, spoke to some of the families who were keen to show their new homes and share their stories of the difference having a secure home has made for them.

The four families we spoke to were all previously in private rented accommodation with no security of tenancy. A mixture of redundancy and ill health led to some of the families being served notice by their landlords in the run up to Christmas; and with no deposit money or jobs the families, all with young children, were set for a bleak Christmas and New Year with the added stress of being homeless during the winter adding to their ill health. However, their lives were to change for the better when they were offered the properties in Meadow Road.

On chatting with Jackie, John and Heather one lady explained how her young son, who has severe asthma and has been in and out of hospital due to the damp issues at her previous home, has now seen a marked improvement in his illness which has led to a better quality of life for the whole family as they can now do more activities together. She has also decided to take up a college course so that she can start working now that her children are at school.

Another of the families who had experienced redundancy and ill health, spoke of the difference having a ‘forever’ home had made to them. “Everything seemed to go wrong at once for us,” explained Mr F. “We couldn’t see a way out, but being given this home has lifted our spirits and given us the boost we needed to find new jobs. It’s also made us want to give something back and help others who may be in a similar situation so we are now volunteering down at Worthing Homes Community House.”

Now settled into their new homes all of the families agreed that the help and support provided by Worthing Homes, along with the security of their homes has enabled them to build their lives back up.

Jackie Bligh, chief executive said: “We believe that good quality affordable housing is the foundation required for so many other things that we all depend on but may take for granted such as security, education, health, work and support networks and talking to these residents proved how true that statement is. It was so inspiring to see these families, after difficult times, putting their lives back together and creating a new brighter future for themselves.”