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Tea & Opportunities in Shadsworth

Tea & Opportunities in Shadsworth

IMG_8787Sitting in the garden with a cup of tea in the evening might seem like a small pleasure, but for Jannat, a Blackburn Together Housing tenant, it’s a transformation from where she was 12 months ago.

“Sometimes, when the kids have gone to bed, I pour myself a cup of tea and come out here,” she says, “I just think ‘wow’.” 

It’s not surprising she feels this way.  Her previous house may have only been a few miles away in distance, but it was a world away from being her home.  The privately rented property had doors that didn’t fit and was in constant disrepair with rats, seeking rubbish outside the property, occasionally getting into the building.  “The landlord did try to solve the problem, but the rats kept coming back,” she remembers, “and with a young son, this really wasn’t the place I wanted to be.”

As a mother, Jannat wasn’t someone who was going to let things stay as they were, so she logged onto the B-with-us website and started bidding on properties.  She came across the new-build property in the Shadsworth area and was amazed there was an opportunity to bid for it.  “I was hoping we’d get something newer than the place we were living in  and I really wanted a property that was relatively new, but I didn’t think we’d get a new-build where we were the first in!”

Moving into a Together Housing property, whatever the age, provides tenants with a blank canvas and for Jannat, this provided an opportunity to really make the place her own.  She worked with her eight-year-old daughter so they could decorate her room together and kitted out the kitchen so the family would have the perfect place to eat together.

 She admits, however, that she did have some initial concerns.  “I’d heard a lot of bad things about the area, which worried me, so I came down to check the area out first.

 “I went into the chippy nearby and spoke to the staff who were lovely and gave me an honest view of the area.  I decided to give it a go.

 “Since moving here I’ve not experienced any of the issues I was worried about.  There are shops and a number of schools nearby, a nursery where I’m hoping my son will soon start and, on a Sunday morning, we even hear the gospel singing from the community room.”

 “As well as the local amenities, it’s great to have a garden.  My son will have his first birthday over the summer and we’re planning a barbeque outside for family and friends; it will be great.”

The property is one of 20 new builds in Shadsworth built by Keepmoat on behalf of Together Housing with funding from the Homes and Communities Agency.  It’s just one of a number of developments that Together Housing Group have across Lancashire and Yorkshire that are providing new homes for affordable rent, shared ownership and outright sale.  The Group’s new developments are just one of the ways that they help to address people’s needs as a result of the housing crisis, alongside the 37,000 other properties they own and manage across the North.

For Jannat, housing association properties are the way forward: “I grew up in housing association properties, but not new builds like this.

 “With properties like this you can make a long term plan, you can settle down and, maybe, even buy further down the road.  The money you’re paying in rent isn’t dead money – it’s paying for your home.”IMG_8790

 With her child approaching nursery age, her home isn’t the only part of her future she’s considering.  “I want to return to work as a teaching assistant, hopefully qualifying as a specialist in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND),” she says, adding, “Now that I don’t need to be worrying about my home, I can spend time thinking about new opportunities.”

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Related to: Blackburn, Lancashire.