Jan and Peter

Jan and Peter having a cuppa on the sofa

Two years ago, Jan and Peter were living in a four-bed house near the coast in Carmarthenshire, Wales, but at the start of the Covid pandemic, Peter, a former postman of 21 years, suffered a stroke.

Once Peter was on the mend, the couple, who have been married for 37 years, started to look at moving house to be closer to more of their family for support.

Jan says: “All three of our children had been brought up in Wales, but our eldest daughter had been at Northampton University and then moved to Milton Keynes. Then our son moved to Northamptonshire when he secured a job working for a Formula 1 team. Peter’s sister lives in Bedfordshire, so moving seemed like a good idea.

“We sold our house in Wales quite quickly, because it had land. However buying somewhere else wasn’t as easy as we thought.

“We just couldn’t afford to buy anywhere in Northants on the open market, and in Wales, no-one had heard of shared ownership to be able to talk it through with anyone.

“We spoke to large developers and other housing associations, but got nowhere. It was all so impersonal.

“Our son’s friend has bought his shared ownership house through Grand Union and said he’d been happy with the service, so we got in touch.

“I was so surprised to actually talk to a human! When someone said they’d call back, they did; we hadn’t been forgotten.

“When we saw the plans for these houses in Hackleton in West Northants, we were very excited.

“The house would be brand new to us in a small community in a village where we could walk to the shop with Snoopy, our 15-year-old rescue dog. We couldn’t do that back in Wales!

Jan and Peter moved into their three-bedroomed home in October, where they feel like they’ve really settled in.

“We’ve an overwhelming feeling of contentment here. This is the right place to be; it felt right from day one.

“Hackleton is a great little community and everybody’s lovely. In Wales, there was hardly anywhere to go walking in, because the land always belonged to someone. Here there are parks and outdoor exercise areas. We’ve really noticed the difference.

“Our children are over the moon about it. They’re so happy that we’re just down the road and we now have support close by, if we need it.

“We were so afraid of losing our buyer if we didn’t find something quickly, we’d even been looking at park homes or a motor home. Geraldine, the New Home Officer, has been so helpful, really going the extra mile.

“In fact everyone’s been helpful. When they say they’ll get back to you, they do! The whole ethos of the company is people-focused.

“We wouldn’t be here without shared ownership.”