Star pupil Paisley puts silver lining on new development
Published by Kelly Elliott for Keepmoat in Housing and also in Communities
Front, Paisley Eldridge (11) with Keepmoat Area Director Lee Francis. Back l-r Paisley’s mum Susan Eldridge, Silver Tree Primary School head boy Aidan Owen, head teacher John Trueman and head girl Brodie Hopper, Keepmoat Quantity Surveyor Phil Tindale,
Pupils from a County Durham Primary School have made their mark on the local area after being invited to name a new housing development in their village.
The children from Silver Tree Primary School, in Ushaw Moor, County Durham, were set the challenge by housing and regeneration specialist, Keepmoat, which has just completed an older persons’ accommodation scheme on behalf of social housing provider Housing Hartlepool, part of the Vela Group, in Skippers Meadow, Ushaw Moor.
Before work on the development began, staff from Keepmoat visited the school to talk to the children and highlight the dangers of playing on building sites and the importance of health and safety.
Always keen to get involved in the communities where it works, the Hebburn-based firm joined the children, aged between four and 11, at their daily assembly, showing them an interactive DVD and inviting them to think of a new name for the development.
Paisley Eldridge was the lucky winner with her chosen name of Silver Tree Gardens. The 11-year-old was presented with gift vouchers by Keepmoat staff during a special ceremony held last week. She was also presented with a plaque which will be placed in the school’s garden alongside a Silver Birch tree planted to mark the new development.
Silver Tree Gardens, which has been built for people aged 55 and over, consists of 16 two bedroom apartments for affordable rent and shared ownership, with the affordable homes managed by Housing Hartlepool, part of the Vela Group.
Each apartment consists of a main double bedroom and a single bedroom, open plan lounge, kitchen and dining room and bathroom. The homes have been built to the Code for Sustainable Homes level 4, Building for Life and Lifetime Homes Standards.
The two-storey scheme, which is located on the site of Oversteads House - a former sheltered housing scheme previously owned by Durham County Council, also includes communal facilities, landscaped gardens and office accommodation.
The scheme also incorporates many environmental design features such as solar panels, high efficiency lighting and power and water saving measures.
Paisley Eldridge whose winning name was selected by all partners, said: “I only moved to the village two years ago but really love living here and enjoyed being at Silver Tree Primary School. I also love gardens so was really pleased that my name was selected and that I was able to plant the tree in the school garden - when me and my friends are older we can go back and see how it has grown and be really proud of it”.
Lee Francis, Area Director from Keepmoat, said: “As part of our commitment to local communities, we like to visit local schools to help raise awareness of the work that we are undertaking within the area but more importantly to talk to the children about health & safety and the dangers of playing on building sites.
“This project demonstrates our commitment to building and sustaining local communities. In addition to developing the new scheme within the village, our wider commitment is to support local projects and initiatives involving local people.
“We were delighted with the children’s responses to the competition and would like to thank all of them for their suggestions and enthusiasm. I would particularly like to congratulate Paisley as the overall winner and I am sure the residents will have many happy years living at Silver Tree Gardens.”
John Trueman, head teacher of Silver Tree Primary School, said: “We are absolutely delighted to take part in this project. The children really enjoy being involved in local community activities and by naming this new development they are leaving a lasting legacy in the local area”.
Sarah Fawcett, Head of development at the Vela Group, said: “We have invested £1.7m in this community by building our first housing development in Durham. As well as transforming a site which had stood empty for more than three years, we have created 16 high-quality and affordable new homes for older people, something which is much needed in the city.
“We really wanted to get the community involved in this project, and asking children from one of the local primary schools to name the development was the perfect way to achieve this.”
The scheme received £539,000 funding from the Homes and Communities Agency and the architect for the development was BSBA architects.
An open event, to give people the opportunity to view show homes at the development and find out about available tenures, took place on Friday.