Cherchefelle Housing Association was formed in 1970 and has had the welfare of people at its heart for over four decades.
Cherchefelle was set up to provide homes for mental health patients at Netherne Hospital, in Coulsdon. The hospital’s Medical Superintendent, Dr Freudenberg, recognised that patients could progress to live and work outside the hospital. Margaret Laurie, a local lady who wanted to do voluntary work and had an interest in mental health, set up Cherchefelle, and became its first Chairperson in July 1970.
The first property opened in Reigate in August 1971, with funding from Reigate & Banstead Borough Council. It housed five residents and just £301 was spent on furniture, fittings and equipment, as many items had been donated. The house was a great success and Cherchefelle opened a second property in Reigate in 1972. The Association grew slowly, acquiring more properties until by 1990 it had six homes in Reigate.
The pace of growth quickened from 1992, with funding received from the Housing Corporation. An award-winning outreach service started in 1996 and then, in 1998, Cherchefelle opened its first houses for people with learning disabilities.
From 2000 to 2003 Cherchefelle briefly merged into a group structure with Rosebery Housing Association. The association continued to grow steadily, taking over properties from other providers. A new domiciliary care and extra care service opened in 2005.
In 2008, Crawley Borough Council commissioned Cherchefelle to provide support to individuals and families housed in temporary accommodation. The organisation’s geographical spread extended in 2009 with a new housing-related support service for clients of three sheltered housing schemes in Richmond.
2010 was Cherchefelle’s 40th anniversary year, which was celebrated in style with clients, stakeholders and staff past and present at several events throughout the year.
From 2011, Cherchefelle faced successive funding cuts in the face of government austerity. Despite this, the organisation continued to explore new ground, securing funding for a rebrand and new staff provision, plus acquiring new properties and refurbishing others. A partnership was formed with Rosebery Housing Association for Cherchefelle staff to deliver both housing support and care to Rosebery’s clients. Cherchefelle was selected as a finalist in the Surrey Care Association Awards for this scheme.
In December 2015, Cherchefelle achieved the Investor in People Silver Standard.
In 2016 Cherchefelle merged with Transform to form an enlarged Transform Housing & Support.