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Community-led houses in Ulpha revitalised

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TEN community-led houses in the picturesque village of Ulpha are being revitalised.

Copeland Borough Council has awarded £73,500 to support the project in which the historical cottages are owned and managed by the Joseph and Eleanor Gunson Almshouse Trust and offer social housing for local people in need.

All current residents are over 65 and typically have retired from the farming or forestry industries where accommodation would have been included with their role. The cottages allow these residents to stay within the community, close to friends and family.

The properties were built in village of Ulpha, in the Duddon Valley, in 1914 and are in need of substantial upgrading to meet modern housing standards.

Two houses have already been upgraded in 2017 with refurbishments including kitchen modernisation, external wall insulation and redecoration throughout.

Grants from Copeland Council, and CGP Publishing will see two more cottages fully refurbished and a further three bathrooms out of the 10 cottages modernised. The trust hopes to refurbish the remaining properties with its annual surplus collected through weekly maintenance contributions from residents and other fundraising initiatives.

Resident Alan Sherwood is enjoying one of the newly refurbished properties. Mr Sherwood said “I find living here wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

“The neighbours are really helpful and I’m over the moon that I have the opportunity to live in one of the cottages.”

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “This scheme is about creating and supporting homes for the community, that are managed by the community. This is a fantastic example of a very successful take on the initiative in one part of the borough, and I look forward to seeing many more come forward in Copeland.”

The funding allocated by Copeland Council is part of a larger pot which has been drawn down from central Government to help individuals and groups help to address housing needs in their own communities.

Copeland Council has commissioned ACTion With Communities in Cumbria to help deliver its Community-Led Housing Initiative.

Community-led housing projects, whether within the National Park boundary or outside it, provide local occupancy housing in perpetuity and can be homes to rent or buy.

The options for community-led housing schemes are wide-ranging and can include community-owned housing, cooperative and tenant controlled housing, individual self-build or projects managed by providers on behalf of community groups. Benefits for those who become involved in the process can include start-up grants and funding towards feasibility studies, housing needs surveys, planning permission, in addition to capital for schemes themselves or assistance applying for further funding.

Copeland Council has attracted £251,000 funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government to co-deliver the project as an area where the high number of second-home ownership is affecting housing supply in local communities.

Further funding for Community-Led Housing Initiatives are available from Copeland Council. For more information, contact Julie Friend on 01946 598417 or at julie.friend@copeland.gov.uk.

Published: 21 February 2019 - 11:38am