A new place to call home following freak fire

Just three days after a devastating fire destroyed their property a family of five have found a new place to live – after their housing association turned an empty house into a furnished family home.

Last week a freak fire ravaged the home in Ryde, after glass caught alight, igniting a hedge in the back garden, with flames spreading into the three-bedroom home, destroying it completely.

Edward and Margaret Mew, their daughter Lynne and her children, Lauren and Joshua all survived the blaze but they were left homeless. Almost all their possessions also went up in smoke – apart from a photograph of Lynne’s grandparents, Nora and Frederick on their ruby wedding anniversary, and Frederick’s war medals from the 2nd world war.

That’s when their landlord, Sovereign Housing Association, stepped in.

Since Covid-19 took hold across the country business as usual has been difficult for many housing associations, but Sovereign has continued to prepare some of their empty homes for people affected by the crisis, or who became homeless for any reason, to move into.

All this has been done within government guidelines around essential moves that housing associations are being asked to help with and while adhering to social distancing and safety rules at all times.

With hotel’s and B&B’s closed, this vital work by Sovereign meant the Mew family had a new place to call home just three days after they lost the one they had lived in for more than 35 years.

The new place is furnished, newly decorated and carpeted and in Newport, just a few miles from their local community.

Lynne, who works in a bakery, said the new home for the family to live in had provided them with ‘a lifeline’.

She said: “It was utterly heart-breaking to see our home go up in flames. Everything was destroyed and smoke damaged. It started in the hedge and just took over like an express train.

“I am so relieved that no-one was hurt but the family had been there since March 1985. My children were born there – it was our family home for all of us.”

Lynne added: “The night after it happened we were all staying in a friends flat and when Sovereign said they had a place for us all, it was a real lifeline. It was amazing how quick they turned it all around.

“We are so thankful. We are all still in shock after the fire, it is devastating but without Sovereign I don’t know what we would have done. We are also so thankful to our local community for everything they have done for us since the fire. We have been overwhelmed by their kindness. We will now stay here and make this a new home for us.”

Executive Director, Property Services for Sovereign, Nicole Sharp, said: “We’ve been working on homes like this one to ensure that they are ready for families both post-coronavirus lockdown and now, in this type of emergency scenario.

“We are delighted that we were able to provide accommodation for all the family in the wake of such a devastating fire. It’s testament to the commitment of our teams.”

The community have sprung into action, dropping off bags of clothes and essentials for the family and set-up a just giving page which has raised money for the family.