Trustees tackle the damp impacting the lives of residents

William Holmes Almshouses were provided with a ÂŁ50,000 loan from The Almshouse Association to help resolve damp issues in three of their six almshouses, together with the renewal of electrics, redecoration, replacement carpets and new bathrooms.

William Holmes Almshouses, Nottingham Road, Ripley, Derbyshire, were built in 1926 using a bequest made by William Holmes, a provision merchant of Shirley Road, Ripley, who died in 1922, for the benefit of needy people who lived in the Ripley area. 

The almshouses comprise of six one-bedroom bungalows on the corner of Nottingham Road and Fletcher Street, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3AS.  The bungalows are large enough for two people to live in comfortably, with a large kitchen, lounge and bedroom.  There are communal garden areas to the front and back of the bungalows.

Over the last year, damp became a problem in all the bungalows. The trustees made it a priority to resolve the issue for the health and wellbeing of their residents, all of whom are over the age of 65.

One of the residents informed the trustees that she had been sleeping in her living room because the damp problem was becoming worse in her bedroom. The damp was coming though an exterior wall and in through her fitted wardrobes. She was no longer able to hang her clothes in her wardrobe due to this and so was placing them on her bed. She couldn’t get in her bed because of them so was sleeping on her sofa. When the Clerk visited this bungalow to assess the problem, there was a noticeable smell of damp.

Upon further inspection behind the sofa, damp was coming through the interior wall between the bedroom and living room causing discolouration to the wall and moisture was causing the paint to peel off. There was also rising damp in the kitchen, causing a musty smell. All these issues were causing anxiety for the resident.

A meeting of the trustees was called and it was agreed that the issue had to be resolved immediately. Plans were put in place for the resident to move into a local hotel and all her furniture and possessions put in storage, at the expense of the charity, until all the work was complete, and she could move back in.

One by one, they are renovating their bungalows to include a new damp proof course, replastered walls throughout, new skirting boards, architraves, fresh decoration, new carpets and vinyl flooring to kitchen and bathroom, new and additional double electric sockets to a higher height.

The trustees had completed three of the six bungalows and were running out of funds. Having the work done for the benefit of their residents was their main priority and they didn’t want it to slow down.

One of their residents had died and another had moved to a nursing home, leaving their bungalows empty and the charity without an income. It was an opportunity to power on with rectifying the damp problems and updating the bungalows.  It was at this point they approached The Almshouse Association for information about applying for a loan to enable them to complete all the renovations.

The trustees report that

“all the loan application forms that were sent were generally straightforward to complete. Guidance was available from Fenella at The Almshouse Association every step of the way if we needed it. The only time-consuming task was obtaining three quotes from contractors for the work we needed to have done as they were needed to be submitted for the loan application. We were certain we wanted to use local tradespeople, so we had to research and contact them and give them a deadline when we needed their quote by for us to make the loan application deadline”.

“The Almshouse Association notified us of the outcome of our application in a timely manner. We didn’t get all the amount we had requested as we have some money in our reserves (which we are hoping will enable us to buy another bungalow in the near future to have as an additional almshouse). However, the amount that The Almshouse Association agreed to is still a substantial amount and it has made us more determined to complete all the damp proof work and other associated renovations, within an extremely tight budget so we don’t have to dip too much into our savings.

With the help of the loan, we have been able to carry on with work. Here are photos of one of our bungalows that’s recently completed damp proof work and renovation.”

Bedroom before with evidence of damp on the walls
Kitchen before with paint crumbling off the wall
Lounge before with wallpaper bubbling due to the damp underneath.
Lounge after damp proof course, freshly plastered walls, new skirting boards, architraves, carpet, redundant switches, and thermostats removed from the walls, and double plug sockets higher up the walls at regulation height.

“The quinquennial inspection is due next year, so we hope that by undertaking this work, we will appease the assessors and importantly our residents. We thank The Almshouse Association for approving our loan application, enabling us to complete this scope of works.”