A UNIQUE housing project in Liverpool, which allows future owners to reduce the cost of their new home by helping to build it, is a finalist in a hat trick of awards.
The 32-property scheme off Kingsley Road, in Granby-Toxteth, is a contender for ‘Best Housing Alliance’ at the First Time Buyer Readers’ awards and for ‘Best Community-Led Initiative’ at the UK Housing Awards, both of which will be decided in London in April; as well as the ‘Excellence in Partnership’ category of the Excellence In Social Enterprise Awards, which will be announced in Blackpool on March 15.
The homes are being built by the newly named housing charity, Housing People, Building Communities, in partnership with leading housing and care provider Sanctuary Group.
The housing scheme combines self-build, volunteering and corporate philanthropy in a unique way; future home owners help to build the properties, working alongside volunteers from all over the world and using products, services and materials donated by some of the biggest corporate names.
Liza Parry, chief executive of Housing People, Building Communities, said: “Being shortlisted for two national awards is fantastic news and a great way to celebrate our new identity. We’re creating affordable homes for those who would otherwise struggle to get onto the property ladder and, at the same time, fostering a real sense of community through volunteering, teaching new skills and contributing to the regeneration of the wider area.”
Providing valuable help to those traditionally excluded from home ownership, the scheme favours those with a housing need, allowing them to spend 500 hours working on site – or helping with administrative tasks - in return for a £10,000 discount on the price of their home. Homes can then be purchased on a shared ownership basis, with Sanctuary owning any residual equity in the property and providing housing management services.
Sanctuary is providing £1.9 million to the project, and has donated essential safety equipment to aid partners during the building work. This includes a variety of high visibility jackets and hard hats to the value of £1,000.
Ian McDermott, Sanctuary’s chief operating officer, added: “The partnership with HPBC will make a real difference to the local people and community of Granby-Toxteth so we are delighted this unique project has been recognised in this way. As well as addressing the need for more affordable homes in the area, the project is providing practical training and work experience opportunities to people, while helping them get a first foot on the housing ladder.”
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.
Organised by Inside Housing magazine and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), the UK Housing Awards recognise excellence across the social housing sector. The First Time Buyer Readers Awards are organised by national consumer magazine First Time Buyer and voted for by their readers.
The Excellence in Social Enterprise awards are organised annually by the Social Enterprise North West network, which works to raise the profile of social enterprise in the North West of England and to encourage mutual support, inter-trading, sharing of best practice, training and development opportunities between social enterprises.
If successful these three latest awards will add to previous honours for the Kingsley Road houses, including ‘Best Community Initiative’ at last year’s national Housebuilder Awards and the special title of ‘Judges’ Favourite Project’ at the Liverpool Your Move Property Awards.