The saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” couldn’t be more true than in the case of Stella Toddington who is the first tenant to move back to Wornington Green.
Stella wanted to return to the area simply because she loves the people. She visits her local park to walk her dog, Blue, several times a day and gets the chance to catch up with her neighbours. “I’m happy here because I’m surrounded by people I know and can speak to them regularly” she says.
But Stella hasn’t met many of her immediate neighbours yet as she didn’t know they’d moved in! The insulation in her new flat is so good that once the doors and windows are shut all the outside noise is shut out too. Stella says: “It’s ever so quiet in my flat – you can’t hear a thing. One lady said to me in the street ‘Why didn’t you answer when I was calling you from the balcony?’ I replied saying I can’t hear a thing from outside.”
Stella moved to her two bedroom flat in the first building to be completed on Bonchurch Road in April and she describes it as “perfect”. She likes her new home so much and finds it hard to decide what she likes best. “I love it, I love it! I love everything about it. It’s so spacious and light”, says Stella.
Before she moved in, Stella got the chance to choose the colour scheme and flooring of her new home. She said: “Catalyst was really good in letting me decide what I could have, from the floor to the kitchen units. I even picked the curtains. The little touches made me feel like it really was my home!”
When Catalyst first showed Stella the plans of her new home she was a bit sceptical about moving to a home without a garden. “I like to sit out and soak in the sun. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do this” she says. But the balcony in her new home is big enough for her and Blue (her dog) to enjoy the weather and fresh air.
Stella’s been a Catalyst resident since 1979 and previously lived at Munro Mews. As part of the regeneration of Wornington Green her home was demolished and she was re-housed for three years at another Catalyst property – Pollock House, on Kensal Road.
Throughout the process Catalyst supported Stella through her moves and helped her settle into her home. She says: “Every time I moved, Catalyst accommodated my needs. Mushtaq, my Housing and Regeneration Co-ordinator has been a real star!”
Stella believes the regeneration and the building works have been well worth it and she’s much happier now. “You can see the physical difference in me. Everyone who sees me says I look much better now”, says Stella.
“There’s nothing to worry about” is Stella’s advice to residents worrying about moving into a new home in the redeveloped neighbourhood. She has been talking to other residents and their main concern is that they have too many things to take with them. But Stella’s advice is to “get rid of anything you don’t need. It’s a new era so take it as a new start for yourselves!”