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OurPlace shared housing project welcomes first tenants

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OurPlace shared housing project welcomes first tenants

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Published by lpriest for Progress Housing Group in Housing and also in Communities

Left to Right- Kimberley Ross, Training and Shared Housing Coordinator at Key, Sue Whitham, Head of Housing Support for Progress Housing Group and new tenants Amanda Blakeley, Zoe-Marie Belshaw and James Timms outside their new shared home in South Ribble Left to Right- Kimberley Ross, Training and Shared Housing Coordinator at Key, Sue Whitham, Head of Housing Support for Progress Housing Group and new tenants Amanda Blakeley, Zoe-Marie Belshaw and James Timms outside their new shared home in South Ribble

Residents who are seeking accommodation across South Ribble, Chorley, Preston or West Lancashire are being given additional support through an innovative new house-share scheme, which is being piloted by Leyland-based social landlord Progress Housing Group and South Ribble based youth charity Key.

The OurPlace project offers shared accommodation and ongoing support to people under the age of 35 who are looking for accommodation and may not want to live on their own or can’t afford to.

By offering a house-share rather than the social isolation of a temporary single-bed property, Progress Housing Group and Key Unlocking Futures aims to give people who can no longer live with their family, or are in need of accommodation, a better introduction to living independently.

As part of the project, prospective tenants are asked to take part in pre-tenancy training provided by Key Unlocking Futures, which is designed to equip them with the skills to attain and sustain their own tenancy. The training covers topics on the rights and responsibilities of being a tenant, budgeting, debt, paying bills to health cooking on a budget.

The first young people to take part in the OurPlace project – James Timm (19) Amanda Blakeley (27) and Zoe-Marie Belshaw (23) - moved into a shared house in South Ribble in May.

Amanda said: “I wanted to move out of living with my family to gain independence and at first thought I would be living on my own. I approached the council for accommodation and they told me about the OurPlace project.

"After taking part in the pre-tenancy training, I felt ready to take on the responsibility of having my own space and budgeting. I am now really enjoying moving into the house and living with other people, whilst having my own space.”

Zoe-Marie was facing homelessness due to family breakdown and was looking for accommodation when she was told about the OurPlace project. “I needed to find a place to live fast but wasn’t keen at the thought of living on my own. The OurPlace project was perfect for me as I didn’t think I could afford living by myself.

“Sharing the house means that the rent is a lot lower as we all pay for our own rooms but split the bills. 

Sue Whitham, Head of Housing Support for Progress Housing Group, said: "The OurPlace project is about offering the best possible opportunities for people who approach us for housing. Temporary accommodation can often be isolating and not always affordable for everyone. By offering shared accommodation we are giving people the chance to maintain their independence but at the same time being part of a group that has to take responsibility and make decisions in order to maintain a tenancy.

We are pleased that the three tenants allocated to our first house seem to get on so well together and I look forward to offering this service to more young people in the future”

Ursula Pattern, Managing Director of Key Unlocking Futures, said: “ It is great to see that the first shared house is up and running, the pre-tenancy training has been a great success and it is good to see that the young people involved have a new home and are positive about what sharing has to offer. The scheme works to match tenants so that many of the negatives of sharing accommodation are discussed and resolved in advance.

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