TWO couples whose families have lived in the Lake District for generations have found homes in an old community reading room.

As work progressed converting the century-old redundant building at Outgate, near Hawkshead, they saw a glimmer of hope that they might, at last, get a place of their own.

This week Lucy Wilson and Daniel Nevinson, along with Shaun Taylforth and Sarah Beaty, were officially handed keys for properties they could never normally afford.

They had lived with parents until Lakeland Housing Trust threw them a lifeline. Set up 75 years-ago, the charity provides more than 30 homes for local people at manageable rents.

In an area where Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) figures show that 832 households are in need of affordable housing, trust tenants are fast to show appreciation.

Agricultural worker Mr Taylforth, 25, had travelled by tractor from his family’s farm in Langdale to work in Outgate twice a day.

He explained: “It was a 16 mile round-trip - now my journey is less than a mile. The trust has given Sarah and me our only chance of a wonderful home together near our work.”

Hawkshead Primary Sch-ool teaching assistant Lucy Wilson, 24, said she wanted to continue her family’s long association with the village and stay close to her roots.

She said: “We had been trying unsuccessfully for several years to find somewhere to rent. Now we can finally focus on our future.”

Housing trust chairman Charles Flanagan said the £320,000 Outgate project had met widespread support and had been financially supported by South Lakeland District Council.

“We are delighted that such public-spirited young people can now live and work here,” he said. “I know they will be a huge asset to the village.”

Handing over the keys, LDNPA chief executive, Richard Leafe, said: “It is a proud day for everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen, especially for the deserving new tenants.”