Abbeyfield South Downs has marked the official opening of its affordable rental development, Holdenhurst, by burying two time capsules.

Local MP Huw Merriman, accompanied by Holdenhurst residents, High Sheriff Jane King and Abbeyfield South Downs’s CEO Nolan Taylor, buried the capsule under the iconic Monkey Puzzle tree on Mill Road, in front of the building, on Friday 4th November. It included items that illustrate what it is like to live in Heathfield in 2022, as well as the history of the building, donated by individuals and organisations from around the local community.

Abbeyfield South Downs is a registered charity that offers care enabled housing for older people from the local community, is part of the worldwide Abbeyfield Family and its network of over 350 care homes, sheltered living schemes and independent living complexes, supporting over 8,000 residents.

The Society invited schools, community groups, businesses and residents of the town to contribute content for the capsules, including photography of Heathfield, drawings, poems, stories and videos from local schoolchildren, describing and illustrating what living in Heathfield means to them, as well as contributions from local societies and clubs. The capsules also included coins, stamps, a shopping receipt, front pages of national and local papers published on the day they were sealed, as well as a soil sample taken from the grounds of Holdenhurst in an airtight vial. The time capsules are marked by a plaque and will be dug back up in 50 years’ time.

“We are extremely excited to bury the time capsules and have enjoyed working with the Heathfield community to ensure its contents are truly representative of what it is like living in this thriving market town. After the last couple of years everyone has had, it has been a fun and positive focus to bring the community together even more. Holdenhurst has long been a part of the community and local people will continue to play an important role at the affordable housing scheme. We thought of no better way to commemorate this by burying a time capsule. Over many years, the site has been a facility for older members of the community and in its most recent incarnation, Holdenhurst regularly hosted the local Age UK day centre lunches. We hope the new building will be similarly used by local community groups.”

Nolan Taylor, Chief Executive of Abbeyfield South Downs

The new development comprises 48 affordable rental apartments, offering enhanced sheltered housing in a care-enabled environment to anyone over 60.

Holdenhurst has been designed to attract tenants who want to live in a vibrant and like-minded community where active, independent living is at its heart, but with the option of additional services if required now or in the future. A restaurant, café and bar, hairdressing salon and a wellbeing suite for exercise, activities and crafts are also on site for tenants to use, as well as accessible spaces for local groups to have a place to meet.

“It was a real pleasure to meet the staff and residents at Holdenhurst last Friday for such a lively and happy event. It’s great to see the housing scheme fully open and providing such a great environment for the local community in Heathfield. It demonstrates that an affordable rental housing scheme for older people is achievable with the right support. We need more housing charities like Abbeyfield South Downs to work with Homes England and funding partners such as Charity Bank to deliver much needed older people housing.”

Mr Merriman

The burial was followed by a launch party for its tenants, members of the Heathfield community and those who have played a role in the development as well as the time capsule, featuring a performance from local entertainer Chris Jacobs.

Holdenhurst: Independent living in Heathfield, East Sussex

Holdenhurst has a choice of 48 one and two bedroom apartments for affordable rental, offering care enabled housing which has been designed for people that may need extra support to live independently, now or in the future. 

Learn more about Holdenhurst
Holdenhurst: Independent living in Heathfield, East Sussex Image
Holdenhurst: Independent living in Heathfield, East Sussex Image