Moving in to community centre home

Arnold and Beryl Barratt
Arnold and Beryl Barratt

An empty community centre has been transformed into an adapted home for an elderly disabled couple thanks to a housing agency.

Arnold and Beryl Barratt have moved into their new home after Daventry and District Housing (DDH) completed work to transform the former community centre in Starvold Close, Spratton.

The £65,000 makeover has seen the centre, which had been empty since 2007, completely redesigned to create a wheelchair-friendly home for the couple.

It was designed around their specific needs and features an open-plan layout with wider doorways, a wet room and access ramp.

The project received a £10,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency’s Empty Homes Fund, a Government scheme to bring empty properties back into use for affordable housing.

Arnold, 78, who suffered a stroke two years ago, said: “We are absolutely delighted with our new home.

“Our previous home was a 1960s bungalow with narrow doorways and Beryl uses a wheelchair so getting around had become really difficult for us.

“When we heard DDH wanted to offer us this new property we were so pleased. We’ve settled in really well and it is like heaven to us, we can’t quite believe it.

“I think the Empty Homes scheme is a fantastic idea. With the help of the scheme, my wife and I have been able to get this wonderful new home which has transformed our lives.”

Daventry and District Housing has been awarded a £60,000 pot from the Empty Homes Fund and is keen to work with anyone who owns an empty property in the district to bring it back into use for affordable housing. Owners of properties which have been vacant for at least six months qualify to receive grants of up to £10,000 to improve their property.