Housing association secures funding for hundreds of new homes
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Development
A Crewe-based housing association has announced plans to build hundreds of new homes by March 2015.
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has invited Wulvern Housing to extend its development programme to build even more homes, for which the Agency has agreed to provide an additional grant of £3.8m.
This comes on top of a £3.4m grant already secured from the HCA in 2011.
Wulvern chief executive Sue Lock said: “This is a fantastic development opportunity which will enable Wulvern to deliver an extra 105 homes.
"We are delighted that our funders, the Royal Bank of Scotland, were extremely supportive and agreed to lend us an extra £18m so that we could commit to build these additional homes.
"We are especially pleased that £10m of this additional finance is coming from the Government’s ‘Funding for Lending Scheme’ which means we are getting it at very competitive interest rates compared to what other housing associations have been able to borrow in the current market.”
Wulvern says that its financial achievements will enable it to provide around 330 new homes for its customers, and has claimed that rent rises will be kept to a minimum.
The average rent increase will be £3.31 per week and is in line with the national formula for social housing rents, which was introduced to keep rents affordable and comparable across the social housing sector.
Sue Lock added: “Over 70 percent of Wulvern tenants are in receipt of housing benefit in either full or part. We will also continue to help tenants by investing in a range of support and advice services such as our partnerships with Christians Against Poverty, Citizens Advice Bureau and Cheshire East Family Support Services alongside our Healthy, Wealthy and Wise project which has helped vulnerable people in the area reclaim over £4m in benefits that they are entitled to."
In other news, Wulvern's deputy chief executive is about to take part in the first women-only mission to conquer the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Sasha Deepwell and Janet Hale, consultant and chair of Progress Housing Group, have been training for the nine day 'Sisters to the Summit' trek up Africa’s highest mountain to raise vital funds for the One Brick at A Time (OBAAT) project and the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust (HACT).
HACT is a charity and social enterprise established by the sector to help change lives and communities for the better.
The two current HACT projects which will be supported by the trek are Reach In, providing volunteer work placements for refugees, hosted by housing organisations, and Self Help Housing, which encourages community groups to bring empty properties back into use.
Sasha is also fundraising for the One Brick at a Time project.
OBAAT is an international partnership offering exciting opportunities in the Rwenzori region of Uganda for colleagues from various housing and construction organisations in the UK, to work alongside Ugandan construction trainees as they carry out work to improve local educational facilities, helping to save children’s lives and provide a better future for children in Uganda.
Sasha is also chair of the OBAAT steering group. She said: “I know from visiting the Fort Portal area that there is a real need to provide children with education in a safe, clean and dry classroom. Through our fundraising efforts we will be able to provide the materials needed for this vital building improvement work.”
Over twenty women from different backgrounds supporting a range of charities will be joining the trek in March as it takes in cultivated farmlands, lush rainforest and alpine meadow to a barren lunar landscape at the summit with a breath-taking altitude of 5895 metres.
Sasha added: “As someone who has never climbed a mountain before and has a fear of heights, this with be a great personal challenge!”
Janet said: “I've worked in social housing for over 30 years and this is the first time I've ever fundraised so ‘actively’ in all that time - colleagues know I prefer stilettos to walking boots, so it’s certainly going to be a challenge!”