Key handover welcomes sheltered residents

Few people could be more excited about moving into their newly built bungalow than Linda Short. For Linda, the move marks the start of a new era of independence and in a special ceremony this week, she received the keys to her new home from the Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr. Jim Sewell.

Linda (62), who has lived in Whitburn for most of her life, is among the first to move into Housing 21’s new East Croft retirement scheme, which has been built on the former derelict Rackley Way site. Linda was the last resident to be re-housed as part of the Rackley Way clearance 11 years ago. However, following a leg amputation she has found the last 16 months of living in a house quite difficult.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be moving into a wonderful brand new bungalow in East Croft,” said Linda, “Because of the stairs in my old house, I’ve been sleeping in the living room and been unable to get upstairs to bathe properly. The bungalow is going to make life so much easier and is so close to all my family and friends, honestly it’s a dream come true.”

The development at East Croft provides tailor-made accommodation for older people and comprises 30 apartments and 20 bungalows, each with two bedrooms. The £5.6 million affordable rented scheme was built in a partnership between Housing 21, South Tyneside Council and Frank Haslam Milan (FHM) North East, with funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Local Councillor Tracey Dixon, who was at the forefront of the regeneration scheme becoming a reality, is overjoyed that Mrs Short was allocated one of the bungalows. She said:

“Linda is a really lovely lady who has endured three years of pain and extremely difficult living conditions because she couldn’t go upstairs due to her disability.  However Linda is always happy and cheerful and she thoroughly deserves one of the fabulous new bungalows right in the heart of the Whitburn community so close to all her friends and family who think the world of her.  I know this bungalow is a new start for Linda; it will transform her life and give her back her longed for independence.”

The development received £2.9 million in funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which is supporting a range of housing and regeneration projects in South Tyneside, including new homes at nearby Cleadon Park as well as Reed Street, Sheridan Road and Druridge Crescent in South Shields.

“This development will provide a real boost for the village,” said Anne Mulroy, head of area at the Homes and Communities Agency. “High quality, accessible homes will make a big difference for older people in Whitburn.”

Jane Hinde, regional services director for Housing 21 said:

“I’m delighted to see the first residents moving in. East Croft is a lovely development and a valuable asset for the village of Whitburn. The spacious apartments and bungalows are designed to promote independent living for older people in a safe and secure environment.”

FHM Managing Director David Mellor said:

“In recent years FHM has worked on a number of projects delivering specialist, supportive accommodation solutions for vulnerable people living in the North East.

“We are delighted to have been involved in the East Croft scheme – this development will allow older people in the area to live in a safe, supportive community – retaining their independence for as long as possible.

“We wish Linda Short, and all the other new residents, every happiness in their new homes.”

The development on the former Rackley Way site also includes 27 two and three bedroom family homes for sale through the Whitburn Shores Community Land Trust.

Editor's notes

  1. Photo: Residents George and May Morgan receiving their keys from Catherine Hay, East Croft Court Manager & the Mayor. Looking on are Jane Hinde of Housing 21, George Mansbridge of South Tyneside Council, Sara Holmes of Frank Haslam Milan and Councillor Tracey Dixon.
  2. For further information, please contact Wendy Gornicki, PR & Information Officer, Housing 21 on 0370 192 4338 or email
  3. Housing 21’s mission is to promote independence and choice for older people through quality care, health and housing services. It provides around 124,000 hours of community care each week and manages 18,200 sheltered and extra care apartments.
  4. Keep up to date with Housing 21 at or via our website