It was a real privilege to run a Step Change Workshop with trustees and other staff at the King Edward VI Almshouses, looking at how the charity can develop its housing stock and continue to serve the community of Saffron Walden. Almshouses have a knack of being incredibly of their time, and yet serving a very contemporary need. In a time when housing is increasingly expensive, and people find themselves unable to remain in their communities, they play a vital role.
KEVI, as its popularly known, was established in 1400 for “13 poor men such as be lame, crooked, blind and bedridden and most at need”. Though residents no longer need to prove themselves crooked, as with many almshouses it provides safe and decent housing for people who find themselves in need, often later in life. The almshouses keep people close to family and friends, and play a particular role in supporting those who are not a priority for statutory services.