To support the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and #NationalYoungFarmersWeek, we’d ike to share a case-study from a farming family in Kent who was desperately in need of an affordable rural home, close to work, family and support networks:
“My partner and I are both in our mid-twenties. I work in education and my partner works in the farming and agricultural sector. We live in a beautiful village in Kent – a village where I grew up as part of a mixed-farming family.
We were looking to buy a house and investigated how much this would cost in terms of a deposit and monthly mortgage. We quickly realised that we simply could not afford to live in the village I grew up in. We were devastated as this would have meant moving into a nearby town so that we could afford to buy. It would also mean moving away from our family farm, friends, and the rural life we hold so dear. We love living in a rural community – we’d say it was a privilege. The fresh air, the country walks, the space. We didn’t want to give that up.
At the time we were looking to buy a house, a family friend happened to mention English Rural to us and told us that they provide affordable homes in rural areas. It just so happened that one of their shared ownership homes was available in the village. Luckily for us, they also always give local people priority when allocating their homes. So, we went through a simple application process and to our delight we were accepted and got the keys to our home in July 2020. Shared ownership allowed us to step onto the housing ladder, as we secured a mortgage to buy part of the property whilst paying a low rent on the bit that the housing association still owns.
I can’t tell you how much it meant to be able to stay close to my family. As a farmer’s daughter, my Dad, brother, and Grandad all still work on the farm to this day and it meant the world to remain close to them. It also meant that my partner could stay close to his work in farming without having to endure a long, expensive commute from a nearby city. Growing up in a farming family I am all too familiar with the long, tiring hours – I barely saw my Dad in the summer months when I was young. Being able to work so close to where you live means my partner has more hours in the day to spend with his family and friends.
We love the house. It’s warm, comfortable, and spacious and has everything we need. The community-spirit is fantastic too. When we moved in, just after the Covid-19 lockdown, the locals put us on a mailing list and sent us newsletters so that we could be kept informed. I can honestly say that life is great. If we hadn’t found English Rural, we’d be living in a small, expensive urban flat with no outside space. We’re very grateful for the opportunity and to remain close to the farming community we both know and love.”
Georgia, an English Rural resident, Kent.