Following the sale of her marital home in Clapham, Bedfordshire, 41-year-old Vicky Shaw and her son Joshua, 14, found themselves moving in with her brother for eight months.

“I was previously on the property ladder, so did not want to come off it. I really didn’t want to rent but thought it might be my only option. Shared ownership seemed to be the answer.”

Vicky had savings for a deposit but found there were few shared ownership properties available in the area. After applying for one, she was disheartened to be rejected.

“Then one morning, as I was taking Joshua to school, I saw Grand Union’s advertisement for shared ownership houses in the village of Oakley. I was so happy when I was accepted for one.

“When one door closes, another one opens. It’s a bit cheesy, but it really is location, location, location!

“It’s a fantastic setting, with a great countryside feel, without feeling out in the sticks.”

Vicky had never been through the process of buying a house by herself before.

“Andrea in the sales team became like a friend throughout the process and went above and beyond. She was always on hand to answer questions and made what was quite a stressful period much less stressful.

“The quality of service and support from Grand Union has been amazing, I can’t fault it.

“Things like the welcome pack we got, which had tea, coffee, sugar, popcorn, vouchers, biscuits and a card… it was the little touches like that that didn’t make you feel just like another number.

“The whole finish in the house, the attention to detail, even down to the plug sockets where there often aren’t enough, yet we are spoilt for choice here. The house is finished to such a high standard.

Vicky and Joshua have now settled into their new home with their rescue cat, Snowy.

“I love Oakley, it’s great for running. I’m a member of the Bedford Harriers running group and I’m enjoying going for runs around the village.

“I have run many races and marathons for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a charity close to my heart since Joshua was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of two. My next plan is to run an ultra marathon for the JDRF.

“We’re actively involved in local parent support groups and support Bedford and Addenbrookes Hospital where Joshua has received care.

“Oakley is good for Joshua too. His school is local, all of his friends are here and he’s not far away from his dad’s house.”

“It’s nice that we have finally got our own space. It’s not just a house, it’s our home.

“Homeownership means security, stability and providing something for the future, for Joshua.

“I feel like I’m getting my life back on track.”