Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 09.40.04A young family is settling in to their new abode following the successful renovation of an unused community centre.

Tenants Gemma Lyons, Ian Banner and their four children have found an adapted property suited to their needs in Coxhoe thanks to a Durham City Homes project.

The family’s new four-bed bungalow has been unveiled at the former Lansdowne Road Community Centre site, which through consultation with customers and stakeholders was agreed could be better used for residential purposes.

As well as 15-year old Lucy, 11-year-old Ben and 13-year-old Amy, the property will be home to six-year-old Phoebe who has spina bifida and is a wheelchair user.

The family previously lived in a three-bed house, which could not be adapted to suit their specific needs, so the move marks a new chapter in their lives.

Gemma said: “I have lived in Coxhoe pretty much all my life and when we realised our previous home wasn’t suitable, never thought we would be so lucky to move down the road.”

And it’s definitely a case of keeping it in the family, with Gemma’s parents living next door.

She continued: “I know, I can’t actually believe how everything has fallen into place for us – it’s fantastic.”

Jeff Blackburn, Occupational Therapist at Durham City Homes, has worked closely with the family.

He said: “When Gemma and Ian applied to be rehoused, there were no guarantees about the types of homes that would become available, when and even where.

“However for Phoebe and her family, the conversion was assessed as being the perfect solution for their circumstances.

“We are delighted to have not only been able to offer an additional home in the area, but also one that really will bring this family together.”

Durham City Homes is a County Durham Housing Group landlord, and provides services to around 5,800 households.

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