“Home is where you feel safe.” LIHH’s Housing Service in the words of our tenants
“If you’re in trouble, they’ll throw you a lifeline. There’s someone there who cares.”
- Tom, LIHH tenant at Davitt House, talking about LIHH's Supported Housing Service.
When Tom’s brother died in London, Leeds Irish Health and Homes booked his rail travel and a B&B and arranged for someone to meet him off the train at Kings Cross. “A private landlord would never have done that for a person,” says Tom. “But Leeds Irish Health and Homes cares deep down.”
Tom’s account is just one of the human stories behind the 52 social housing tenancies Leeds Irish Health and Homes currently manages on behalf of social housing landlords. Most LIHH tenants live in individual flats or properties, although 10 tenancies are linked to Davitt House: a property on Headingley Lane with individual bedsit flats and a communal living room and garden.
At Davitt House, potential tenants must be 18 or over although, in reality, most are aged 50+. Many, although not all, are Irish or of Irish descent. Some have struggled with isolation and health inequalities; others have more complex needs.
Leeds Irish Health and Homes are well-placed to help. “We offer furnished tenancies right down to the knives and forks if needed,” says Sarah McBride, Services Manager at LIHH. “And a tenancy support worker offers regular home visits and can help with everything from form-filling to acting as an advocate.”
For some, the offer of support is often enough. “I haven’t needed to use it much, thankfully,” says Cyril. “But I know it’s there if I need it.” For others, the regular visits bring peace of mind. “My anxiety can really build up,” says Andy. “It might be a simple thing that needs doing, but I can’t. It can make me very ill. Here, that doesn’t happen - you can tell someone and they’ll sort it.”
Peter Rollings, Community Support Worker at LIHH and the coordinator of the Men’s Group, believes that it’s that offer of versatile support which tenants find so helpful. “Sometimes it’s just low-level support. But when it’s needed - they’ve got correspondence that they’re struggling with or a hospital appointment - we can step in and help.”
For Andy, a tenant at Davitt House, the property’s garden is a real source of joy. “I like to be outside,” he explains. “And I like to do something at the same time. I never used to garden, but I started buying some bulbs, some plants and some pots. It’s my safe place, my sanctuary."
"I couldn’t think of living anywhere else.”
For Tom, also a tenant at Davitt House, the property’s location is important. “If you get lonely, you can look out over the roads. There’s plenty of greenery around here and not much noise. If you want to read, you can read to your heart’s delight."
"It’s very quiet and peaceful.”
Maggie, who has lived at Davitt House for nine years, values the cultural connection with Ireland and Irish people. She attends the Monday and Friday Luncheon Clubs each week, plus the Mna (Women’s) Group’s outings and the South Leeds group.
“I love going down there to see people. After 50 years, I still can’t seem to get it right with English people,” she says. “It’s just not the same. Us Irish talk about different things!”
Cyril agrees. “We’re part of the diaspora, aren’t we? It’s helpful to know where you come from and to have your roots. It helps you to know where you’re going.” “I’m very proud to be Irish and I’m very proud to be a member of Leeds Irish Health and Homes.”
Leeds Irish Health and Homes has committed to refurbishing Davitt House in 2023 to keep our community members' homes comfortable and well-maintained.
If you'd like to find out more about supporting our fundraising efforts, contact email@example.com or call 0113 262 5614.