Burwash District Housing Association

The Burwash District Housing Association (BDHA) provides affordable homes for people over 60 with strong links to the Burwash area.


David Cowell - Chairman     Richard Harden - Treasurer Claudette Neville - Secretary
Tom Appleby                    Doreen Cartwright Laura Gregory
Jean Plummer   Alison Hayes  

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The Burwash District Housing Association was created by and belongs to Burwash. You can read our history below.  We provide affordable homes for people over 60 years with strong links to the Burwash area.

We want to involve more Burwash residents as shareholders to keep the BDHA as a continuing visible part of village life.

To be a shareholder you make a one off payment of £1. This does not confer any equity, shared ownership or share of profits as we are a non--profit making body. You will not be asked to do more than take an interest in our activity, unless you wish to. We need you as the BDHA Committee works on behalf of the community and answers to the shareholders. We have an Annual General Meeting for members every March when our accounts are circulated which gives our members the opportunity to monitor our progress and discuss any issues.

Please contact the Secretary Claudette Neville if you would like to become a shareholder in this very special Burwash organization on 01435 883 043 or nevilleclaudette@gmail.com.

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A Short History of the BDHA

This is a brief outline of the impressive work for the elderly of Burwash, started by Nurse Jean Holland in the early 1960s. Nurse Holland was the local health visitor and she was very concerned by the plight of many elderly Burishers living in 'crumbling' cottages with no electricity or hot water. Their toilets were outside, often down steps and shared with other families. The only alternatives were houses outside the village and if taken up resulted in isolation for the occupants from their friends and families.

When Jean Holland raised this with the authorities in 1961, she was told that no appropriate homes would be provided in a small village like Burwash. She then took action and in 1962 a meeting was held at The Bear. Miss Webb from the National Federation of Housing Societies explained the requirements and difficulties of providing housing for the elderly to the 50 attendees. Not to be discouraged, in May of that year, the first ad hoc committee meeting was held and in December 1962 the Burwash District Housing Association for the Elderly Ltd was registered.

Led by an enthusiastic committee the people of Burwash set out to raise funds. With these funds, and also a loan and a grant from Battle Rural District Council, 5 & 6 Broads Cottages were purchased from the Barnsley Trust.

They were converted into 4 flats at a total cost, including the purchase price, of £6,000. In June 1965, 2 couples and 2 single tenants moved in. A year later a coin telephone box was installed as the walk to the box in Ham Lane was too far in emergencies – no mobiles in those days! Since then these 4 flats have been converted into 3.

This photograph was taken in 1965. It shows the BDHA committee, including Nurse Holland in uniform, and one of the first tenants at Broads Cottages, Mr Dick Pope.

Accommodation for 6 elderly people was not sufficient to meet the village’s need so the next move for the Association was to plan to build new homes. Nurse Holland set up a flower fund where money was donated to the Association instead of floral tributes at local funerals and this brought in a steady flow of funds. There were lots of other larger fundraising activities, notably auctions of antiques donated by local people.

Nurse Holland found the plot in Vicarage Road in 1968. It was bought from 2 brothers who were cobblers; hence the name Cobblers Field and the plans were set in motion to build 6 bungalows. The first tenants moved in, in November 1974. But there continued to be a need for more housing so in 1989 an application was started for 4 more bungalows at Cobblers Field and these were completed in 1990. All these developments were financed by local fund raising and loans from Rother District Council which have now been paid back in full.

In the 21st century the housing needs of the community have changed as have the ‘Elderly’! So now BDHA, in the spirit of Nurse Holland, provides 13 local units of accommodation for Over-60s who have links to Burwash, at a reasonable rent.  

Anyone who would like to be considered for one of the units can contact the Secretary to be put on the waiting list.  Local people can purchase a £1 share in the Association to continue the work started by Nurse Holland. To do so, please contact the Secretary or any other Committee member.  

The AGM is held every March. Burwash should feel very proud that our small community, led by Nurse Holland, provided and continues to provide excellent housing for those who might otherwise have to leave the village.

Claudette Neville, Honorary Secretary,  nevilleclaudette@gmail.com




For a full list of events this month, please click here to go to the Burwash Parish Diary. If you have updates or wish to add details of future events please get in touch via burwashweb@gmail.com