Above Derwent CLT: Helping people onto the property ladder

As with many areas of outstanding natural beauty, Above Derwent in Cumbria is popular with holidaymakers. Unfortunately, that means that a large number of houses are second homes or holiday lets, and local people are struggling to get on the property ladder.

Social Problem

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy a home in popular holiday and retirement locations such as the Lake District, Devon and Cornwall. Demand is pushing prices up, but local people are often employed in the tourism, hospitality and agriculture sectors, where wages are usually below average. Renting is also difficult, as landlords can make more money through short-term holiday rental.


Above Derwent Community Land Trust has built four new homes in Portinscale, Cumbria. Each home has three bedrooms, a garden and two parking spaces. Most importantly, they’ve been sold as affordable homes, on a shared ownership basis. To be eligible, applicants had to meet strict criteria, including living in the area or having close ties to it, and being unable to otherwise afford to buy or rent in the parish.


While Above Derwent Community Land Trust was able to get several grants, including from Homes England and Allerdale Borough Council, it needed a £750,000 loan towards development costs. Another provider turned the CLT down but recommended Charity Bank. Charity Bank agreed to the loan and offered extra support, which helped the project to move forward.


The new owners are due to move into their homes by the end of 2022. They were all previously renting, so are relieved to have finally got a foot on the property ladder and to have long-term security.

“We're members of the National Community Land Trust Network, and Charity Bank has worked with a few other members, so it seemed like a good fit. The loan process was pretty straightforward. The admin team kept us on the straight and narrow and we got extra help from Jeremy Ince, which was definitely needed at times and helped us to move forward when we were stuck.”

Lesley Bowlby, a director of Above Derwent Community Land Trust
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Above Derwent Community Land Trust home

Ken has recently moved into a house built by ADCLT with his wife, two children, and dog.

“My wife, Natalie, and I have been renting a house in Bassenthwaite but have wanted to own our own now for several years, high house prices and the huge amount of second homes have meant that this hasn't been possible for us until ADCLT built the four homes at Pow Wood.

We love our new home as do our two children who are over the moon to get their own rooms as well as a garden to play in. It means a lot to us that we can move to the village as I used to live in the parish as a child and it's fantastic to be back.

We wouldn't have been able to own our own house in Portinscale village - where we both work - without these shared ownership houses. Thanks to everyone at ADCLT's hard work and the help of Charity Bank and the other lenders, we can now start a new chapter in our lives.”

Ken Swift, ADCLT new homeowner

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,100 loans totalling over £400m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.