Students gain work experience helping to build 50 new homes for families in Carlisle

Construction students have developed their skills by helping to build 50 new homes for affordable rent in Carlisle.

The new estate in Beverley Rise, Harraby consists of two, three and four-bedroomed properties which are all now occupied as families moved into their new homes ready for a fresh start to 2021.

“When I first saw the house it was absolutely beautiful, I was in love with it. It’s in a quiet area and there’s a school round the corner for my son when he’s older. It’s a massive change and provides a lot more space for me,” says delighted resident Rachel Beckett who moved into her new home before Christmas.

The £7 million housing development has been delivered by social housing provider Riverside in partnership with Carlisle City Council, Esh Construction and Carlisle College.

Eight construction students and apprentices were able to gain practical onsite training by doing nine-week placements a few days a week in painting, decorating, plastering, bricklaying, joinery, plumbing and electrics to develop their skills to help secure future employment.

Sarah Paton, Riverside’s Regional Director for the North, added: “This project demonstrates successful joint partnership work by all involved which we can adopt on future developments. This includes the social value aspect, providing hands-on work experience for construction students and apprentices that we hope will help address the skills shortage in the area.”

The development benefits from £1.4m grant funding from Homes England, as Carlisle City Council identified the need for more properties for affordable rent in the area.

Riverside welcomed Impact Housing to the Group in 2018, and as part of Riverside’s commitment to support their development programme this new estate will be managed by Impact.

Andrea Thorn, Managing Director at Impact Housing, said: “Our new residents are delighted with the design of the properties. They are built to the latest energy efficiency standards which means cheaper bills for residents to heat their home.”

The Beverley Rise development provides a mixture of properties to accommodate various sized families to meet demand in Carlisle.

“Affordable housing is critical for the city as it expands. It’s still important to have good quality family accommodation, and Beverley Rise is what we need for the city going forward,” explains Cllr Paul Nedved, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Enterprise and Housing at Carlisle City Council.

As with all developments under construction when the Covid pandemic took hold last March, it had an impact on the project’s timescales. However Esh Construction put procedures in place to provide a Covid-safe working environment and it was completed within the timeframe.

John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle said: “Riverside and Impact are two very important providers for housing in Carlisle. This new development provides new family homes at a time when they are needed most in the area.

“This isn’t just about housing but about training and to give the next generation the skills in construction to shape their careers and provide opportunities.”

Riverside is one of the leading registered providers of social housing in the UK and is committed to building more affordable homes in the region.