Case Study: Helping to create a positive future
Girton Town Charity has funded the building of 11 almshouses located at Centenary Court, traditionally-built homes for Village residents who were able to meet the Charity's criteria.
Mark and Sarah Walsh, together with baby Owen, were one of the lucky families to move in and one year on, they reflected on how this has changed their lives.
Sarah, 30 years old and Bar Manager at Trinity College, is married to Mark, 31 who works as a Duty Manager at The Regal in Cambridge. She says: "We moved in at the beginning of December 2012 and before that were living in Longstanton. When we first heard about the almshouses, we were keen to find out more as I was brought up in Girton and had spent 28 years living in the Village.
Close to family
"We were so fortunate to be chosen and just love our home! The houses are really well-built – you would honestly never believe you have neighbours in the adjoining property. It's also nice to be within walking distance of family – my Dad and sister are both in the Village and it was great to have them close by when Owen was a small baby. He was just two months old when we moved in and I was able to attend the local baby and toddler groups to meet other mums.
"The almshouses scheme is excellent and I would recommend any young family to consider applying when the homes become available. It is so good to be located near our family support network and living in Centenary Court has enabled us to start saving for our future. We are hoping to be in a position to get a mortgage and buy our own property.
"When we leave Centenary Court after our three years*, we would really like to stay in the local area – Girton ideally – but definitely within cycling distance of town.
"As a family we have also benefitted from GTC's Managing Your Money workshops, providing advice on how to draw up a budget and setting personal financial goals. We found the sessions really helpful, well structured and not intrusive. Both Mark and I came away feeling very positive that we were heading slowly in the right direction and it strengthened our relationship.
"There have been so many good things about moving into Centenary Court – it's been lovely to feel part of a community again and we have met lots of new people in the Village. Having my sister and nephews round the corner has also meant that Owen has grown up seeing them most days – it was quite a job getting from Longstanton particularly as we are a single car family.
"It has been a relief to know that we can save money for our own home and although we still need to budget carefully, it's not like counting the pennies in the same way each month.
"Finally Mark and I would just like to say a big thank you – we are so much happier at Centenary Court and can now look forward to our future as a family".
*The three year appointments at Centenary Court have been extended to five years.
(This case study was prepared in December 2013.)