Saturday 17th March 2018
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Words: Sarah Winstanley
Photography: Courtesy of Mount and Minster
Featured in the September 2015 issue

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When Justin and Andrea Rycroft bought an executive home on an exclusive new-build development in Lincoln 10 years ago, it was a complete change for them.

For the previous ten years they had lived in Oak House, a former children’s home between the St Giles and Glebe Park estates in the city. It was derelict when they bought it, but this didn’t concern them as both Justin and Andrea’s father Richard Taylor are property renovators who often focus on old schools and churches.

The couple, who have three children Natasha (25), Danielle (23) and Lauren (19), had intended to turn the home into a children’s day nursery but fate soon played a hand and they became foster carers for children with special needs, along with children in mainstream education.

Andrea, who fostered for fifteen years, said: “When we bought the house it was derelict with no windows. We renovated the house and lived there for ten years but then decided move away from the area to give our children, and the children we fostered, a better way of life.

“My husband used to live in North Hykeham so we made a quick decision to move into a brand new house there.”

The small gated development of six homes at Sinderson Meadows, off Newark Road, was still being built by Tennyson Homes when the couple went to view it in 2005. (Tennyson Homes has more recently built The Colosseum on Newport, Lincoln, a landmark development of fourteen four-storey homes in a classic Georgian design.)

Andrea said: “We looked at all the houses on the development but we liked this house because it was in a Georgian style, had big rooms, five bedrooms with extra rooms downstairs and being foster carers we need a bedroom each for the children.

“The house was pristine, so moving was a lot easier than I was used to, and it was nice not having to do anything to it.”

The executive home has a grand entrance hall, living room, games room, study, open plan kitchen, living area, dining area, utility room and cloakroom on the ground floor with five bedrooms upstairs. The master bedroom has an en-suite shower room and there is a Jack-and-Jill en-suite, as well as a family bathroom upstairs.

Outside, a private road leads from electric security gates to the property and there is an ‘in and out’ block paved driveway providing parking for several vehicles. At the back of the house there is an extensive lawn with York stone patio area and flower beds and a communal, yearly leased, field which can be used as well.

The development offered their huge family of six children in total the lifestyle they were looking for. “We could just shut the gate and play ball games on the field at the back of the house, and walk in the woodland too. We’ve had some great parties with the other families on the development as well,” said Andrea.

Being a foster carer came naturally to Andrea as she had grown up with foster children around. She said: “Mum and Dad fostered when I was young and I always wanted to help children from deprived families and work alongside their parents to help them regain confidence, give them stability, nice holidays and a loving family.

“My family is quite large and the children still come back to see me. I’m like a mum to all of them.”

Now, with all the children in her care having grown up and left home, Andrea and Justin are taking the opportunity to move once again. For the last two years, Justin has been renovating a former farm with outbuildings in eleven-and-a-half acres of land at South Kelsey Moor, three miles from Caistor.

“It took us a year to get planning permission,” said Andrea. “We are renovating the old farmhouse and adding stables and barn conversions with a view to supporting special needs adults. We want to help them find independence themselves.

“I will still continue to foster but will do more assessment work now, looking after teenagers upwards rather than little ones. I may take on a teenage mum with young baby, a mum with children or a family that have been in rehabilitation from drug or alcohol abuse. It will give them an opportunity to learn how to look after their children and help them to live independently.

“Some people have been in foster care themselves but not had a good upbringing and need some assessment for three to six months before they move on.

“I may foster again in the long term but I’m not sure. This way I can have more input and have more of a life for myself.”

With the prospect of moving to their new home in the country, Justin and Andrea have placed their home at Sinderson Meadows on the market. Andrea said: “I will be very sad to leave this house as it holds a lot of happy memories for us. But now my last child is leaving to go to university in September, it feels like the right time to move.

“It’s a time to open new doors and be settled before we start again.”

No 2 Sinderson Meadows is on the market with Mount and Minster with a guide price of £525,000. For more information contact the estate agents on (01522) 716204.

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