Everyone dreams of a perfect home – a sanctuary where we can create memories, find comfort, and be at peace. But for some, like 83-year-old Gordon, these dreams seemed unreachable. This is a heartfelt story of Gordon’s journey from being a mere lodger to a cherished community member, all thanks to the transformative power of affordable rural homes provided by English Rural.
Gordon’s journey began in a local farmhouse, just 100 yards away from what is now English Rural’s affordable housing development in the village of Staple, Kent. He lived there for 11 years, renting a small attic room in what was also a bustling nine-bed guesthouse. But when the landlord, a victim of the merciless Covid-19 pandemic, passed away, the guesthouse’s operations faltered. Unable to maintain the expansive property, the bereaved landlady had no choice but to close it down. While the other lodgers moved on and secured their own homes, Gordon faced an uncertain future.
Salvation came in the form of English Rural’s announcement of affordable homes in Staple. An unanticipated phone call to Alison Thompson, English Rural’s Deputy Development Director, led to his name being added to the list of potential residents. The joy when he discovered he was successful was, in Gordon’s words, like “winning the lottery.” His cherished dream of a perfect home was finally coming to fruition.
His new home was everything he had ever wanted and more. It was perfect in size, nestled in the tranquillity of the countryside, and resonated with his ‘rural’ roots. This newfound love for his home rekindled his interest in gardening, transforming him into an amateur gardener, lovingly nurturing his green patch.
What Gordon relished most about his new home was its setting in Staple. The village’s serenity was amplified by the community’s warmth and vibrancy. His roots in the rural Buckinghamshire/Bedfordshire border were mirrored in the peaceful scenes of Staple. The horses, reminiscent of his youth on the farm, and the sparrowhawks visiting his garden, fuelled his love for birdwatching.
Staple’s community spirit manifested in its vibrant village life, filled with quiz nights, beautiful walks, bridle paths, and community ‘get-togethers.’ As a former butcher in nearby Sandwich, Gordon relished these communal interactions.
Moreover, living in Staple had a profound effect on Gordon’s health. Illness had cast a shadow over his life, but the tranquillity and comfort of his new home significantly contributed to his recovery. The presence of his daughter, who lives a short 15-minute drive away, added to his sense of comfort. The lively antics of her two cocker spaniels during their visits brought joy and laughter into Gordon’s home and garden.
Gordon’s life took a significant turn when he transitioned from being a ‘lodger’ to a tenant in his own right. This transformation instilled a new sense of belonging within him. His neighbours now recognised him as ‘one of the family,’ erasing the subtle isolation he experienced as a lodger.
The simple act of acquiring a home brought about a huge shift in Gordon’s life, reinforcing the impact of affordable rural housing. His satisfaction was so profound that he even recommended English Rural to others he knew in need.
Gordon’s tale is a testament to the transformative power of affordable rural housing. From living as a lodger to becoming an integral part of a vibrant community, his journey beautifully underscores how rural housing doesn’t just offer a place to live – it provides a sanctuary, a sense of belonging, and an affirmation of individual identity. In Gordon’s own words, his English Rural home has given him everything he ever wanted.