2022 Awards

It is a great pleasure for The Almshouse Association to announce The Almshouse Association Award winners for 2022 projects and developments.

Great Shelford Parochial Charities, Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire

A stunning new development of 21 modern almshouses in three curved terraces, topped with green roofs and sited around a central green, on a green belt exception site. It is sympathetic to the surrounding chalkland landscape.

Great Shelford, one of the larger villages in South Cambridgeshire, has a severe shortage of affordable housing. In 2017 the Parish Council commissioned a survey that concluded 97 new affordable homes would have to be built in order to fulfil the village’s immediate housing need.

Start on site
Site Clearance
Aerial view

Great Shelford Parochial Charities was in the fortunate position of owning 10 acres of open land adjacent to its existing almshouses. From public meetings held in the village, and subsequently, at a meeting of the Parish Council, there emerged a consensus that theirs was the best site on which to build – and that the charity was best placed to develop further affordable homes in the form of additional almshouses.

2-bed internal
1 bed-mezzanine
3-bed kitchen

The almshouses are triple glazed throughout and equipped with air-source heat pumps and heat recovery systems, resulting in minimal reliance on fossil fuels. The charity took the decision to keep cars away from the terraces with parking restricted to the edge of the development, masked by tree and hedge planting, and provisioned with EV charging points.

Planning approval was granted in 2021 and included landscaping of the charity’s adjacent land to include the planting of native trees and hedgerows, a community orchard and garden, allotments, parkland, and enhanced public access with benches and accessible paths.

Development commenced in June 2021 and, with the exception of some groundwork, was completed at the end of 2022. Individuals, couples and families are all in residence and enjoying their new homes.

Martin Terrace

The Honywood and Douglas Charity, Lenham, Kent

A beautifully redeveloped extension of an existing bungalow to form two one-bedroom units with the conversion of an existing historic outbuilding to create a further one-bedroom unit together with communal gardens.

Before …

The site lies in the settlement boundary of Lenham and within the designated Lenham Conservation area. The new development sits within reach of a number of important village amenities including the village stores, post office, and bakery. The proposal was for the alterations, extension and conversion of the 2 existing buildings to form 3 independently accessed one-bedroom almshouses with associated communal garden areas.

...and after

The existing site layout has not been overly altered with boundary planting and garden spaces retained. The underlying principle of the proposed layout was to enhance the immediate setting of the subject buildings and wider conservation area, having regard to its characteristics.

The objectives were to retain and re-use existing buildings on site with modest extensions while supporting the existing pedestrian access onto the High Street.  The existing courtyard was also retained at the front of the site.

The existing landscape features of the site, including trees and hedgerows are retained and incorporated beautifully into the layout as far as possible. A new dwarf brick boundary wall with hedge planting set behind has been created along the boundary with the High Street enhancing the setting within the street scene.

The materials were chosen to ensure that the development responds sensitively to its local context, and matches the existing buildings and the materials used are both durable and easy to maintain.

Tibberton Almshouses, Tibberton, Gloucestershire

Exceptional improvements to four semi-detached almshouses were carried out in stages over a ten-year period.  

Since 2012 the Trustees of Tibberton Almshouses have been on a mission to refurbish, renovate and provide ‘modern’ decent, affordable homes for people in that need.

  • 2012 – Re-roof, re-point all properties
  • 2016 – Provide utility rooms for No.1 and 2
  • 2017/8 – Renovate and refurbish No. 1
  • 2020/21 – Renovate and refurbish No. 3
  • 2021 – Renew fourteen windows and three internal doors with a grant from the Forest of Dean District Council   
  • 2021/22 – Renovate and refurbish No. 4 with a grant from TAA and Gloucestershire Council Build Back Better Scheme
  • 2022 – Ongoing, the refurbishment and renovation of No. 2

In all the work they have undertaken to this date they have tried to add as much value, not only to the properties themselves but also to ensure that household bills are kept to a minimum.

No. 3 lounger during renovations……. and after

They are a small charity with limited funds. The Trust had an investment in the NAACIF and a refurbishment in 2020 was funded through an Almshouse Association loan. Work was completed from 2012 to 2022.

Updating and modernisation has included insulation, the installation of utility rooms as well as new kitchens and bathrooms, electrics, plumbing, and hot water systems, to name but a few of the many refurbishments carried out to all four of the almshouses.

New kitchens ….
New bathrooms ….
New homes for new residents.
[Mrs Alison Evans – 4th generation descendant of benefactor William Philip Price)
handing over the keys to new resident of the newly renovated property]

The almshouses stand proudly in the village and are a tribute to the dedication and commitment of the trustees who have contributed in so many ways to make the almshouses a valued part of their local community.

Nos. 1 & 2
Nos. 3 & 4

The Poland Trust, Brockham, Surrey

The Poland Meadow Almshouse Project includes 12 new almshouse dwellings. One building based around a three-sided courtyard, comprising 2 one-bed bungalows, 5 two-bed houses, and 1 three-bed house. There is also one building resembling a farmhouse containing 4 one-bedroom flats.

Fifteen years ago, the trustees decided that the elderly in the four parishes were well served by available accommodation but there was an increasing need for affordable housing for a younger generation. This is when the Poland Meadow project was launched. In the subsequent fifteen years, this need for the younger generation has got stronger with almost all young people now struggling to find any affordable accommodation in the local area.

The Trust commissioned a housing needs survey and worked closely with Surrey Community Action, as well as undertaking their own public consultation. This showed a high level of need for affordable housing across the four parishes and particularly for one and two-bedroomed homes.

and after

Finding suitable land was their biggest challenge. This was secured through the generosity of a local family, who gave the Trust a corner of one of their fields adjoining the village and close to local amenities and transport links. The Trust worked with Mole Valley District Council housing team to finalise the housing requirement, and created a suitable allocation process and received a grant to help fund the project. The planning team agreed that the site could be designated as a Rural Exception Site allowing the project to go ahead within the strict Green Belt regulations.

fitted kitchen as part of the open plan living areas
spacious living areas with practical, hard wearing floor surfaces
good sized bedrooms all with fitted wardrobes

The Trust managed to fund a significant portion of the project by selling five plots to self-builders in addition to the twelve almshouses they were building for the Charity. The self-builders and future buyers of these houses must pass the Trusts local connection test and future sales of these houses are capped at 80% of market values. On this basis, all seventeen houses in the Poland Meadow project are designated as affordable housing.

Nos. 10-17 Poland Meadow built to resemble a collection of farm buildings
Nos. 10-17 Poland Meadow from the South. Note the architectural detail of the grain hoist in the gable of main building which is repeated in the porches of the other buildings. See Nos. 1-4 in background
Nos. 1-4 Poland Meadow designed to resemble an almshouse

Frances Darlington Charity, Charnock near Chorley, Lancashire

The Frances Darlington Charity was formed in 1898 after the death of Frances Darlington, wife of James Darlington, a mine owner and industrialist, and a great benefactor to the village of Charnock Richard and beyond.

On the death of Frances in 1897, James asked the vicar what he would like created in memory of Frances.  James suggested housing for the needy of the parish, or a community room where local people could meet.  The vicar was delighted when James delivered the whole project, four almshouses, a laundry room and bake house, a warden’s house, and a community room or chapel.

Today, the Chapel has hardly changed from when it was built with its beautiful timber ceiling, timber floor, tiled walls and a Kempe stained glass window.  The almshouses were extensively and sympathetically restored in 1995 with grants from the Housing Corporation, Chorley Borough Council, and a mortgage from Chorley Building Society.

Bringing residents and the community together

A group of ladies from the community wanted to form a craft group at the time when the country was coming out of lockdown restrictions. 

The group meets once a month in the Chapel, two of the residents are members of the group with the remainder coming from the wider community.  The group gives the members an opportunity to meet up, share their skills and expertise, and enjoy some hospitality.  No costs have been involved.

The members have formed a wonderful community group who really enjoy and appreciate the time they share together.   


Zeals Almshouse Charity,  Chafyn Grove, Zeals, Wiltshire

Beautifully manicured and well-loved gardens. Very little cost involved, just the time and dedication of the trustees and the residents. A great outreach to the local community.

The garden until recently consisted of a lawn a few shrubs, a half-dead hedge plus a good patch of brambles. Six years ago it was decided to have two garden members on the committee and a new part-time gardener was also employed. The hedge, at the request of the residents, was removed and a close board fence was erected, giving privacy to that part of the garden. This has been planted on both the roadside and garden side with spring bulbs.

The compost heap, huge, though hidden at the bottom of the garden, has been removed and the area levelled out and turned into a pretty sitting area with table and chairs and lovely pots of flowers.  The silver birch trees now look as though they belong to the garden!

The leggy overgrown shrubbery has been pruned and new pretty shrubs added, as well as bulbs and other annuals. A new seating area has been created here with a stunning, uninterrupted view towards Shaftesbury. Some of the residents are very keen knowledgeable gardeners and have transformed the whole garden.  Their eye for colour and simple planting is fantastic. Flowers are everywhere, drab corners a riot of colour, even during the winter months heather, Christmas roses and other pretty evergreens cheer up the grey days.

The garden in front of the almshouses is worthy of an entry into The Chelsea Flower Show and the back is full of tubs and pots, abundant with colour as well as vegetables grown in high free-standing tubs. A derelict area to the back of the cottages, near the oil tanks has been transformed.  Weeds, broken tiles, etc., removed, membrane was added, then some gravel.  To this was artistically placed driftwood with a few small shrubs making a very pleasing area.

The garden is also enjoyed by others for events held in the village and an open garden event is being proposed with teas being served in the almshouse gardens. There are more sitting areas and there is an abundance of small songbirds that have appeared due to the well-tended bird table.

The oldest resident (88) loves pansies, so his doorway tubs have been filled and his special bench has had hanging baskets added to the back in the hope he can see a riot of colour when he looks out of his window.

The almshouse gardens are a happy, much-used, and pretty area that is a huge asset to the residents and much enjoyed by local people from ZEALS. The residents all take great pride in their garden and spend many hours happily gardening, tending pots and generally enjoying the challenge and pleasure a garden brings.

The local after-school club uses the lawn on certain evenings, to play on.  The residents thoroughly enjoy the interaction with the children and vice versa. The garden has become a talking point as it looks so pretty and is a focal point for different activities in the village.


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