Paul Bray

Paul Bray

Fond memories of growing up in social housing

I’m the eldest of six children and grew up living in social housing in Plymouth. During my childhood, as the family grew, we moved from a prefabricated bungalow in Deer Park (Little America) to a flat in Pentamar Street, to a Cornish unit house in Manadon and finally to a four-bedroom house in Estover.

Without the freedom to move homes as our family grew, life could have been very difficult and cramped. The homes were always well looked-after (by us and the council) and were located in areas with a great community spirit.

I have especially fond memories of groups of kids forming full-sized football teams and playing football on the pitches at Manadon, before the Parkway was constructed and got rid of most of the play area. No referee or no league, just great energetic fun.

During the summer, these teams would be playing cricket. Our dads and other adults always got involved and sometimes got a bit too competitive – they really didn’t like being beaten by us youngsters!

As our family got older and we left home, my parents were able to buy their home and have since moved on a few times. A couple of my siblings are now living in PCH homes, continuing the tradition, and although I don’t live in social housing now, I’m proud of my roots and the life I had as a child. Without the help and security that social housing provided, I am not sure my family would have thrived as we did.

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