The East Cambridge parishes of Stretham and Wilburton joined forces in 2012 to address the housing crisis affecting their villages. They now provide affordable accommodation to those living and working in the area.
With excellent links into Cambridge and London, these villages became increasingly attractive to commuters and wealthy retirees. This resulted in a lack of truly affordable rental accommodation, meaning locals who lived and worked there were beginning to get priced out and the essence of village life was being threatened.
Stretham & Wilburton Community Land Trust (SWCLT) began buying and renting out accommodation at an affordable rate for those earning a national living wage or less, allowing locals to stay in the area and keeping the community more mixed and vibrant. They currently rent out and part-own (through the shared ownership scheme) 19 homes in Stretham, with four more being developed. Plans are also underway for 35 homes in Wilburton, as well as a project to provide affordable workspaces to locals who are trying to get small businesses off the ground.
Over the last three years, Charity Bank has given SWCLT three loans totalling £1,844,000 towards the construction of 15 new homes to help continue expanding its portfolio of affordable accommodation.
The houses built with the help of this loan finance are now rented out affordably and house 35 local people. Seventeen of these residents were previously living with parents as they were unable to afford rental rates on the open market.
“You need a lender that understands what you’re trying to achieve rather than just going down the tick box approach. Tick box will only take you so far with commercial lenders and if you don’t fit the mould then they’re not really interested. That’s why it was so wonderful to have Charity Bank’s understanding and alignment of objectives.”
“We got on very well with Peter at Charity Bank. He understood the nature of our trust and what we were trying to achieve and had a sensible, balanced view of risk.”Charles Roberts, Chair, SWCLT
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 1,000 loans totalling over £300m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.
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.