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With the theme ‘Delivering the Ambition’, Rural Housing Week is reinforcing the message this week that affordable housing is vital for the survival of rural communities and services.

We are dedicated to building not-for-profit housing in the Northamptonshire villages where there is greatest need.  By developing homes specifically for local people, and reinvesting in our communities, we are helping to bring sustainability to our rural villages for the generations to come.

In Collyweston, our development at The Drove has helped a vital community service to flourish, providing a lifeline for many locals.

The village had already faced the closure of the village butcher, baker, school and Post Office and the loss of public transport links, and villagers were being forced to move away due to the soaring cost of private renting.

Daisy Cox, who had been living with her parents in the village, said: “We really wanted to be in Collyweston as it’s close to our families, but the minimum rent in the village is over £900 a month and me and my partner, Matthew, just couldn’t afford it.”

Enabling villagers to stay in Collyweston has meant that a community shop could become sustainable and this has now become the heart of the village where residents share local news and meet on a daily basis.

The community shop is run on a not-for-profit basis and any surplus is reinvested into community activities.

Sheila Barr, who moved in to The Drove to be close to her son and four grandchildren, says: “I use Collyweston Community Shop very regularly.  It’s run by village volunteers and sells everything you could possibly imagine including fresh bread baked daily in the next village.  There’s even a coffee machine and a dry cleaning service!

“I don’t have any transport but can usually manage a walk to the shop.  It keeps me active and I don’t know what I’d do without it.”