Long-term friends relocate 390 miles during lockdown

A LEADING housing provider helped friends relocate to the Scottish Borders in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Stella Coe and her friend Anne moved to Bield’s Fairbairn Court in Greenlaw, after viewing the property solely via a WhatsApp.

The pair met and became friends when Anne moved to Lapta, in Northern Cyprus in 2006 where Stella had been living. After moving back to the UK, both Stella and 66-year-old Anne, decided to relocate make the Scottish Borders home.

Stella Coe, who relocated from Southampton, said: “We’ve stayed friends ever since we met in Northern Cyprus. We were both back in England when Anne told me she was considering moving to the Scottish Borders, and suggested I come too.

“Anne put me in touch with Bield, who sent me some forms to complete. I filled them in and sent them off that very afternoon. Within a week I heard my application had been accepted and it just so happened that I would be living in the same development as Anne.”

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, Bield took an innovative approach to ensuring that customers were well-informed prior to moving in. 

The charity understands the value of good quality homes and innovative services, and the impact this can have on an individual in enabling them to continue living their life to the fullest.

The 73-year-old added: “David from the team at Bield did a really thorough video tour for us, showing all around the apartment, the communal development area and even the gardens. I think offering virtual tours should continue even after lockdown as it’s so much easier and everything’s online nowadays anyway!”

The housing development offers spacious one-bedroom properties, nestled in the beautiful surroundings of Greenlaw in the Scottish Borders. Each property is fully self-contained, and features a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.

Stella and Anne were well-supported throughout the moving-in process by the committed team at Bield adding: “It’s nice to know we’ve always got people looking out for us and that’s what I love about living in a community - it’s got a real family feel.

“I honestly didn’t notice anything different about moving during lockdown compared to any other time. All the engineers and movers wore masks, of course. But other than that, it all felt very normal.

“If anyone is thinking about moving but isn’t sure if this is a good time, I’d say be responsible but don’t let it stop you.”

Anne moved to the development in July from Leeds and Stella followed shortly later in August, the pair have already settled in nicely due to the help received from Bield.

Stella added: “I love it here! It was all decorated for me when I moved in and I had engineers to help set up my TV and internet too. All I had to do was walk in.

“There is a manager at the development called David and he is always around to help us out. I had a problem with my shower and it was fixed in a matter of days – it was as quick and easy as that!

“The surrounding grounds are gorgeous and the village is very pretty, also within walking distance which is a bonus. I have my car, but there’s great public transport too and the bus stop is really close. There are also convenient shops, the doctor’s and a post office nearby… we have all we need on our door step!

“The best part about being here is it feels like home even after such a short period of time. It’s got such a warm and community feel to it. We’ve both said we feel as though we’ve lived here forever.”

Stella is no stranger to an adventure or challenge. Since leaving the countryside where she grew up, Stella owned her own recruitment agency in London and opened a guest house arranging horse riding holidays in Dorset. Venturing further afield, she also spent three years in Balboa, Newport Beach, California.

Considering the move overall, Stella added, “I’d highly recommend Bield to anybody. It’s so nice being here and having people around you. My new kitten pulled the emergency cord in my house by accident and staff were there right away.

“Although it was my cat - it’s nice to know that if anything were to happen, I’d be in good hands.”

Bield is a registered charity which grew from humble beginnings, starting out with one housing development in Bo’ness to become a major provider of housing and care services for around 20,000 older people across 23 local authority areas