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A brighter future for Erith

Leavers case studies

Mr P

Mr P had lived at Larner Road since May 1984. He really wanted to stay on the estate but we didn’t have sufficient one bed properties for everyone to stay.

He often helped a lady in the block who was housebound by picking her up odds and ends from the shops. He knew that she also wanted to stay and hoped that he could be put in the same block as her.

However, once all the one bedroom flats had been allocated, it became apparent that Mr P was not going to be able to stay. Christine contacted him to discuss the options open to him, including other nearby Orbit flats and sheltered housing.

We explained that sheltered housing would give him the security of communal living, together with the independence of having his own front door, a scheme manager on call daily between 9am-5pm and a pull cord system for out of hours. Mr P was interested so Christine showed him the options in the surrounding area and he chose his preferred scheme.

Working closely with the Orbit Independent Living Housing Officer, we soon had a property available for him. Mr P needed help with letters and advising people of his change of address, but he was soon sorted and ready to move.

Christine visited Mr P some months later to see how he had settled in and was pleased to see how well things had gone. He had had a problem with his rent but the Scheme Manager was able to get this resolved.

He had discovered that an old work colleague already lived there and a former neighbour had recently moved in. He has also made lots of friends and some of the residents have given him curtains and other items, making him feel very welcome. He is happy to have his own space in a nice bright room, and enjoys being able to look out to the front of the property and see the lovely flower beds maintained by the residents. Mr P helps out by sweeping the path regularly to keep the place tidy.

His old friend from had visited, and he was looking forward to visiting her in her new property at Erith Park.

Overall he was happy with his move and praised the removal company, although one thing he does miss is walking through the park and seeing the dogs every day.

 

Lucy

Lucy moved into her flat on the fifteenth floor in 2000. She lived with her daughter, and nephew, of whom she had been awarded custody. Both children have learning difficulties, and Lucy balanced taking care of them with making time for her studies.

Lucy had applied to Bexley Council in 2007 for a transfer as the flat did not have sufficient space for them all and she now needed a three bedroom home. When the regeneration started, she had been on the transfer list for four years. Lucy was usually behind 350 other people in the waiting lists for all properties she was bidding on, but once given priority through the regeneration scheme, Lucy was offered a 3 bedroom property in the surrounding area.

Christine visited Lucy three years later to see how the move had impacted on the family, and she said that just a week after moving in, her new house had felt like home.

Lucy had used her home loss compensation to improve the property, installing a new kitchen and landscaping the garden. The large garden has been a bonus as the children are so active and they have room for a trampoline.

At first she did find living in a house a little scary after her high rise flat, having two entrances and accessible windows, but she got used to it quite quickly. And she said the area and streets felt safer than at Larner Road.

The advantage of staying in the area meant that the children could stay at their schools and both children had benefited from having their own rooms.

Lucy feels that the regeneration came along at the right time and that it was a very positive move on the part of Orbit.

 

Miss H

Miss H moved to Larner Road in 1973 and enjoyed living there, especially the great views from her top floor flat.

Now retired, she had no washing machine and used to do her laundry twice a year; a summer wash and a winter wash. This meant that she had an abundance of clothing, and bedding that she needed to store, causing a problem with clutter.

Miss H had also begun to find living at the top of the steep hill harder and harder. She had considering moving into sheltered housing for many years but had never done anything about it.

She had no family in the Erith area but did have a brother in Cliftonville. This led to a discussion about sheltered housing in Thanet, an idea that appealed to her, and we registered her interest in vacancies in Orbit’s sheltered stock in the area.

Later that year there was a serious fire in the adjacent flat with extensive smoke damage to the communal areas.  Miss H and her neighbours were evacuated. She was given emergency accommodation in a care home and we agreed to expedite her permanent move.

Although Miss H wanted a one bedroom flat, there was only a bedsit available, so she decided to accept the offer on the understanding that she could move on to a larger flat later.

A group of staff volunteered to sort through Miss H’s cluttered flat. There was barely any room to move, and the belongings were clearly not all going to fit in the bedsit, so between them they decided which ones to keep. Miss H then returned at a later date with her brother to have a last look around and make sure she had everything she wanted.

The local removal contractors, as flexible and helpful as always, fitted in an emergency move to help Miss H get into her new home within a couple of days of her evacuation. We drove Miss H there, and helped her to unpack.

Christine visited Miss H two years later to see if her decision to move away from Erith had been right for her.

At first she had been quite shocked by the whole situation and the speed at which it was all arranged. After all, she had been in her flat for 38 years and suddenly found herself in a bedsit. But she is now glad that she was able to leave behind all the things she had accumulated over the years and had brought only her most treasured furniture with her.

Miss H has felt welcomed to the scheme. Although she doesn’t often take part in scheme activities, she is very happy as she has always been quite independent and solitary.

Since moving to Margate she has had two accidents, a fractured shoulder and a fractured knee. Due to the location and local bus service she is still able to get out and about with the aid of her wheeled walker and she attends Age Concern in Cliftonville every Thursday. They have a deep sunken bath that she finds therapeutic, and she enjoys attending their lunches and entertainment afternoons.

Although she misses being able to attend the cemetery to put flowers on her mother’s grave, the best part of re-locating has been seeing her family. Her brother used to make the journey to Erith twice a year to visit, but now visits at least every two weeks. Miss H has also been able to have more contact with her niece and her family.

All in all she is very settled and happy and was very interested to be updated about progress at Erith Park.

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