A LIVERPOOL housing charity is shouting from the rooftops after winning two more national awards.
Housing People, Building Communities (HPBC) picked up the UK Housing Award for ‘best community-led initiative’, while the charity’s partnership with Sanctuary Group was named ‘best housing alliance’ at the First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards.
Announcing their success at the First Time Buyer event, TV presenter Nicki Chapman – whose credits include property programmes Escape to the Continent and Escape to the Country – described the project as one of her favourites.
Both ceremonies were held in London and saw HPBC beating of stiff competition from much larger organisations from all over the UK.
The two latest awards recognise the achievements of HPBC’s 32-property scheme off Kingsley Road, in Granby-Toxteth and, in particular, the combination of self-build, volunteering and corporate philanthropy that make this scheme unique. Future home owners help to build the properties, part funded by Sanctuary, working alongside volunteers from all over the world and using products, services and materials donated by some of the biggest corporate names.
The UK Housing Awards, organised by Inside Housing magazine and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), recognise excellence across the social housing sector. The prestigious ceremony at the Lancaster London Hotel was hosted by comedian, writer and environmental campaigner Marcus Brigstocke.
Announcing HPBC as winners of the best community-led project on the night, Marcus said: “There were lots of excellent examples of community initiatives in this category but the judges felt that the sustainability of this one set it apart. They said it had great potential to have an impact in the long-term, both on particular individuals and the community as a whole.”
The First Time Buyer awards, held at The Landmark London, were voted for by readers of the popular magazine. Best housing alliance was a new category designed to celebrate the partnerships formed by companies who provide innovative solutions to housing and community development challenges in order to help increase home ownership, improve housing quality, reduce homelessness and build stronger communities.
HPBC’s housing venture, which allows future home owners to spend 500 hours working on site or helping with administrative tasks in return for a £10,000 discount off the price of their home, clearly struck a chord with first time buyers UK-wide.
It also won praise from TV’s Nicki Chapman, who said: “This is the first time I've heard of such a project and I think it could be the future! Any housing venture that not only helps people own their own home, but also actively encourages them and their families to be hands on and to make a difference to their own lives has to be a positive step to home ownership.”
The Kingsley Road homes are purchased on a shared ownership basis, with national care and housing provider Sanctuary Group owning any residual equity in each property and providing housing management services.
Sanctuary is providing £1.9 million to the project, and has donated essential safety equipment to aid home partners and volunteers during the building work, as well as valuable marketing support.
Overall design of the houses has been kept simple to allow unskilled volunteers to have a healthy input into the building process; while local colleges, including Hugh Baird College, in Bootle, regularly use the site to give practical experience to students who are training to become joiners, bricklayers, and painters and decorators.
Thousands of pounds worth of building materials, including roof tiles and brick pavers, have been supplied by building products manufacturer Wienerberger; Pret-a-manger donates surplus sandwiches and snacks daily from its Liverpool city centre shop to help feed volunteers; and the 75 Engineer regiment of the Territorial Army has helped build a road and lay drainage as part of a MACC (Military Aid to the Civil Community) project, using materials supplied by Balfour Beattie and Birse Civils.