Housing chiefs build castle in homes bid

HOUSING chiefs launched a bid to get young council tenants more involved with how their homes are managed – by building a castle.

A pair of Sidmouth’s biggest employers teamed up to create the eye-catching centre-piece of the scheme.

Skinner apprentice carpenter Lloyd Soper (pictured) crafted this Camelot replica after East Devon District Council (EDDC) questioned how it could appeal to younger residents.

Council bosses hope the creation will attract attention from young families at future events.

The authority owns more than 4,270 properties and encourages tenants to work alongside housing officers in the management of their homes.

Only 217 tenants are making a contribution toward the working partnership.

“We want to show others they really can influence the decisions being made by housing officers,” said Sue Saunders, a tenant representative group member.

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“We’ve tried everything to reach younger tenants to no avail.

“Having agreed we could reach these groups through their children, we came up with the idea of the castle.”

Complete with turrets and a drawbridge, the castle is designed to work like an advent calendar as each of its windows open to reveal a prize.

“We’re absolutely delighted with it and are sure it will attract a great deal of attention at fetes, fairs and housing events,” said Sue.

Bosses from Station Road based Skinner, EDDC’s repair and maintenance contractor, offered Lloyd’s services to build the castle.

Sue added: “We need to make sure East Devon is aware of the issues which affect tenants of all ages and we are hopeful that the castle will be our gateway to achieving our aims.”

To get involved with tenant participation call EDDC on (01395) 517 453 or e-mail tenantparticipation@eastdevon.gov.uk.