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Mencap's housing arm launches £10m charity bond

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Mencap's housing arm launches £10m charity bond

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Development

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Mencap's housing arm has launched a £10m charity bond which it hopes will raise money to buy homes for people with learning disabilities.

Golden Lane Housing's (GLH) charity bond will be the largest issue of its kind in the UK, and investors will receive a fixed gross yield of four percent per annum for the five-year fixed term.

In 2003, GLH became the first UK charity to launch a bond issue to the public. The £1.8m raised helped it to develop its property portfolio.

Working in partnership with Triodos Bank, the charity is aiming to raise £10 million from a wide range of social investors for this bond before the end of April closing date.

GLH views this bond issue as the first step in raising up to £30 million over the next few years, which will mean that in total, investors will give 250 people with a learning disability the chance to live independently in specially adapted homes.

Just one in three people with a learning disability currently lives independently, and many struggle to compete on the open market, making it virtually impossible to find housing in areas where there is no suitable social housing available.

Recent Mencap research found that four fifths of councils in England and Wales report a housing shortage for adults with a learning disability in their areas, with nearly seven in 10 (67 percent) stating this has worsened in the last 12 months.

GLH and Mencap work with local authorities and NHS commissioners to find funding for suitable properties for people with a learning disability and then develop packages of support so that they are able to live independently.

Jan Tregelles, acting chief executive of Mencap, said: “There is a severe housing shortage for people with a learning disability. Following the abuse scandal at Winterbourne View, demand for housing is set to grow further because the Government has committed to return many of the 3,000 people currently in long stay hospitals to their local communities.

“Investors in this bond have the chance to transform the lives of people with a learning disability by helping them to live the lives they choose in quality permanent homes.”

Alastair Graham, director of GLH, said: “In difficult times, we need creative and ambitious solutions. Unprecedented cuts to local authority budgets mean charities must widen their sources of funding. We are confident that this bond will raise the capital we need to help us support more people than ever, and in turn create a new model for social investment within the charity and housing sectors.”

Dan Hird, head of corporate finance at Triodos Bank, commented: “We’re very pleased to support our long standing client Golden Lane Housing in the next phase of its growth by raising up to £10 million of fresh capital through this sizeable charity bond issue. Triodos Bank also advised Golden Lane on its first ever bond issue back in 2003, which raised £1.8m and helped set the charity on its growth path.”

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