believe housing delivering affordable housing and supporting communities in rural County Durham

A housing association is not only providing much-needed affordable homes in rural communities, but also helping to enrich the lives of people living there.

County Durham-based believe housing manages more than 18,000 homes in towns and villages, stretching from the Durham coast to the rural North Pennines.

In May, construction partner Imperator Developments started work on believe housing’s new 20 home scheme at Wolsingham, in Weardale, County Durham.

Sitting on the main route into the picturesque village, the homes will be built of coursed sandstone with slate appearance roofs, so they are in keeping with the area.

Seven two-bed houses and two bungalows will be available for affordable rent and 11 three-bed houses will be available under the Rent to Buy scheme.

Bill Fullen, Chief Executive of believe housing, said: “We are committed to providing the right homes, in the right places and creating thriving communities where people want to live.

“This development may only be for 20 homes, but we think it will have a hugely positive impact on the area.

“It will give more people who want to live and work in this fantastic rural community the opportunity to rent or buy a high-quality home here.

“The new residents will support local amenities, there will be economic benefits during construction and we’re also contributing financially towards open space, school places, biodiversity and footpath improvements.”

Alongside homes, believe housing provides innovative support services for customers and works with communities to help fund projects which address local issues.

In 2021-22 it awarded £142,979 in community grants to 64 rural projects, including conservation initiatives, sport and youth clubs and £1000 to help primary schools create tapestries reflecting the history of Weardale.

Weardale Flower and Garden Club, based in Wolsingham, received £445 to bring national demonstrator Lucy Richardson to an open evening later this month (Tuesday, 19 July), to attract new members.

Joint Chair Susan Harris said: “In rural areas like ours, people can experience social isolation and travel is often an issue. We bring people together at the club and we go to gardens and events people might not be able to visit if we didn’t organise a bus.”

Joanne Norman, Community Investment Coordinator at believe housing, said: “Clubs like this can be a social lifeline, particularly in rural or remote areas, and good for people’s overall wellbeing and confidence.

“We’re delighted to be able to support this event, for existing members and potential new ones who will be made to feel welcome.”

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