Swap scheme for rural residents

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Scores of elderly residents living in rural homes got to mix it up with a swap scheme organised by their housing associations.

More than 160 tenants from Daventry and District Housing (DDH), Severn Locks Housing and South Northants Homes took part in a series of social events to promote the National Housing Federation’s Rural Housing Week.

Rural Housing Week aims to raise awareness of the need for affordable housing to keep rural communities, villages and businesses alive.

To mark the week DDH led on a ‘Scheme Swap’, allowing residents from older people’s schemes in the three housing associations to socialise.

The ‘Scheme Swap’ included a lunch where young volunteers from the Staverton-based Green Acres project served hot lunches at Saxon House in Brixworth, after working with DDH to provide meals at its sheltered housing scheme in Warwick Court.

87-year-old Maureen Houltram has lived at DDH’s Stephenson Court scheme in Kilsby for 26 years. Commenting on the Scheme Swap, she said: “We don’t have a lot of transport and we are all getting older, so we don’t go out as much. This gets us out and about and is a really good chance to meet other people.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it. The place was absolutely lovely and the lunch was excellent.”

Caroline Godsell, resident involvement officer at DDH who organised the event, said: “We’re committed to making sure that residents in rural communities have access to affordable homes that meet their needs. Providing opportunities for older residents to connect with the wider community is an important part of promoting overall health and wellbeing.

“The Scheme Swap has been incredibly popular, and residents are clearly very keen to meet new people, share their experiences and keep socially active.”

Jayne Roycroft, retirement homes manager for South Northants Homes, said: “For older people it’s important to make the most of new social events. It’s been great for some of our residents to have the chance to get to know others in rural schemes elsewhere. We look forward to many more opportunities like this with DDH.”