First Choice Homes Oldham delivers 16 new affordable family homes in Middleton, despite Covid-19 challenges

Date published: 29 June 2020

First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO) has taken handover of 16 new family homes for affordable rent in Middleton, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

The properties on Clough Road comprise of three and four bedroom family homes, and will be managed by FCHO and have all been allocated to customers on Rochdale Council’s housing register.
The £3m scheme is part of FCHO’s strategy to help meet increasing demand for affordable homes across the region and has received £624k funding from Homes England.
Shanayde Knox is the final customer to pick up the keys for her new home at the Clough Road development. She will be moving into her four bedroom property with her partner and five children, and all the family are looking forward to living a home which meets their needs.

Shanayde said: “We had a two bedroom house in another part of Middleton, and space was tight for seven of us. I’ve been applying for bigger properties for five years without success and when Maz our Neighbourhood Officer told us I’d got this new home, I cried because I was so happy.

"My eldest son, who is autistic, will have a proper bedroom and my little girl has finally got her own room. There’s great space outside in the garden to enjoy the summer and it’s in a good spot for schools. It’s so big and such a nice house – it’s just perfect for us.”

For the safety of customers and staff during the coronavirus pandemic, FCHO’s lettings service has moved online and the Neighbourhoods Team is operating a remote sign up process, which has proved successful and enabled the social housing provider to allocate all the homes to customers.

The Clough Road development was in its final stages when the government announced lockdown measures, but Oldham-based contractor Gilby Homes was able to complete the homes with minimal delays while strictly following government guidelines to limit the spread of the virus.

Heidi Thompson, Executive Director of Homes and Investment for FCHO said: “We’re so pleased to be able to offer families in the area these fantastic new homes and hope they will be very happy living in them.

“Due to Covid 19, the site and lettings teams faced unprecedented challenges at the end of this project and they planned safe, well-managed working practices to get it finished and let all the properties to customers, and I’d like to thank them for their hard work.

“The lack of affordable housing in our region and across the country is a significant challenge and this Clough Road development is part of our plans to build 850 much needed new homes for people over the next six years to help the situation across our region.

"It’s also a great example of how we’re working with local contractors and employing local people to deliver modern family houses which are fit for the future and I wish Shanayde and all our new customers all the very best in their homes.”

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