A North of England housing provider celebrated its 50th birthday in November, by taking a look back at the people and places that have influenced their communities over the last half century.

Two Castles Housing Association, which has offices in Newcastle, has been providing affordable homes to families in the North for the past five decades.

Two Castles started life as the Cumbria Housing Society in November 1966. From its humble beginnings in a small office in Carlisle, the organisation’s original aim was to provide homes for people in need in Cumbria via co-ownership schemes.

The first Chief Executive was appointed in 1975 and one year later the society took its first steps into the North East. The expansion saw the organisation change its name to Two Castles Housing Society, to reflect the historic architectural symbols at the regional centres of Carlisle and Newcastle.

Stephanie Murphy, current Chief Executive at Two Castles Housing Association, said: “By the time we reached our silver jubilee in 1991, our rented property had increased and we owned more than 2,000 homes. Cut to the present day and our stock has grown to over 3,700 properties across northern England, providing much needed affordable homes for many residents and families.”

The Association also shares its birthday with Cathy Come Home, the seminal film from I, Daniel Blake director Ken Loach, often cited as being the UKs most influential TV movie of all time. To mark the film’s 50th anniversary in November, the housing sector has launched a campaign calling on the Government to commit to ending rough sleeping, and halve it by 2020 as a staging post.

Stephanie went on to say: “We’ve come a long way over the last 50 years and we would like to thank everyone who has shared and had a part to play in our history, including, most importantly, our residents. The 50th anniversary of Two Castles is a chance to reflect on the issues we still face in UK housing and we remain steadfastly committed to building more homes for local people, and supporting local communities for the next 50 years and beyond.”

Two Castles chairman, Michael Johnson, said: “I have only been Chairman of Two Castles Housing Association for the last six years, out of a long and distinguished history.  However, I am delighted to be Chairman of the Association at the time of its 50th anniversary and very proud of the impact it has made to the lives of people in housing need across our communities during the past 50 years.”

What are your memories of living in the North over the past 50 years? The team at Two Castles has been creating a special retrospective timeline to celebrate the last five decades of northern homes. You can view the timeline via the Two Castles Twitter account: @TwoCastlesHA

To find out more about Two Castles Housing Association, visit www.twocastles.org.uk or telephone 01228 541161.