Three months ago Beverley Nicholls and son Harry had no idea that they would be spending Christmas in a different home, having lived at St Michael’s Gate for the last 10 years.
But having been served a notice of possession for their home, they have had to say goodbye to their friends and move to another part of the city, all while racking up a large bill.
Fortunately for Beverley, Peterborough City Council is paying half of the near £3,000 debt she has accrued while desperately finding a new home, but the authority will not be able to replace the community she is leaving behind.
Beverley said: “It’s been our home for 10-and-a-half years. I was explaining to my son that for 27 years of my life I’ve lived within a square mile of where he was born. Now I’m having to move to a completely different part of Peterborough. I will stay in touch with people by Facebook and I will continue to support the ones that are in St Michael’s Gate. When you have a community like that, it will be hard to find that again.”
Beverley moved out of St Michael’s Gate on Saturday, and despite her sadness there was some optimism.
“I just wanted to go,” she said. “I’ve had no problems with the families that are moving in, but there’s talk that the house next door, which is vacant, will be turned into a six bedroom house of multiple occupation. Currently there are just three bedrooms. We are quite excited about our new place. We are not going to have the funds to spend as we’ve had in the past, but we will make it a nice Christmas.”
Beverley might be looking forward to Christmas, but there is still anger at how she has had to find a new home.
She added: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting and that won’t change. The more it’s gone on the more underhanded it seems to have been.
“We are two of the lucky ones, we’ve been able to find somewhere. We took out a loan and not everybody is in that situation. I’ve heard horrendous stories of people being offered rooms in the YMCA. There are a lot of people that have had to go to the council and declare themselves as homeless.
“But there are about 10-11 families who have been granted extensions by Stef & Philips for the time they have to leave their property.”