One of the most basic human needs is that of shelter. A roof over our heads protects from the weather and gives us a place ‘to be’. Simply put, North Hertfordshire Homes is in business to provide shelter.

Its homes are lived in by women fleeing domestic violence, by young couples saving to buy a house, by families with children in local schools and by husbands tenderly caring for wives with memories eroded by dementia. It has settled, hard-working families but it also has tenants who feel they are ‘owed’ all they can get.

Building and maintaining shelter costs money which North Hertfordshire Homes gets from house sales, grants, bank loans and rent.

Money from all of these sources is being used towards the regeneration of John Barker Place on the Westmill Estate in Hitchin. For too long it has been one of Hertfordshire’s so called areas of deprivation. Boarded-up shops and graffiti make a depressing picture, yet in this ‘deprivation’ community groups flourish, providing activities that bring people together. The supermarket and the take-away provide essentials, weekend treats and the place where you bump into your neighbour. There is a community of young and old who are fed up with living in a rundown area and North Hertfordshire Homes hopes people will work with them and NHDC to create new shelter; a John Barker Place where people will want to live.