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West Suffolk family given ‘fresh start’ thanks to housing association scheme

PUBLISHED: 07:52 18 November 2017 | UPDATED: 07:52 18 November 2017

Zoe Birch at her new home in Risby. Picture: SUFFOLK HOUSING

Zoe Birch at her new home in Risby. Picture: SUFFOLK HOUSING

Archant

A Risby mother-of-two says she “has been given a new start” thanks to a housing association scheme in the west Suffolk village.

The homes in Risby, near Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SUFFOLK HOUSINGThe homes in Risby, near Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SUFFOLK HOUSING

Zoe Birch, and her sons Marley, 18, and Harry, 11, picked up the keys to their new build three-bedroom home in Fishers Drive in October.

They moved to the property from a cramped privately-rented house in the village, which saw Marley and Harry forced to share a bedroom.

Their new home is one of six in Risby developed by non-profit making housing association Suffolk Housing, and they have all been made available to people with a link to the village.

Four are rented homes and two are shared ownership properties.

Suffolk Housing’s main role is to provide and manage subsidised rented homes to those on low or modest incomes.

The housing association also provide homes for rent and shared ownership to help other people like first-time buyers and key public sector workers.

Zoe, 36, who works in a nursing home in the village, says the family have not looked back since the move, and are all “absolutely loving” their new home.

She said: “I can’t explain how I felt when I found out we had got the house – I still get really emotional now.

“It has made such a big difference to me and my family – there are not enough words to describe it.

“It’s a gift – I feel as though we’ve been given a new start.

“If we hadn’t been offered this house we would have been forced to move out of the village, which would have turned all of our lives upside down.

“I don’t drive so couldn’t have kept my job, plus it would have meant a change of school for Harry.

“Our new home is a really lovely size and has a great garden which looks out over open fields. It already feels like home and we are very content. We feel so lucky and are very grateful to Suffolk Housing.”

Sue Philp, Suffolk Housing chief executive, said: “We are delighted that our latest scheme in Risby has made such a huge difference to Zoe and her family, as well as our other tenants who have moved to the site.

“These new homes will play a vital role by allowing people to remain living in the village of their choice, in turn helping to ensure our rural communities continue to thrive.”

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