A new partnership has been formed to deliver an affordable housing project in Wensleydale.
The Upper Dales Community Land Trust (UDCLT) has announced it is working with North-East housing association North Star to convert the former Methodist chapel in Bainbridge into housing.
UDCLT was awarded funding of more than £340,000 from the then Richmondshire District Council last year to buy the building.
The plan is to covert it into two two-bedroomed affordable housing units.
However, they still required additional financial support to complete the renovations and housing expertise to manage the ongoing build and maintenance of their project.
As a small community land trust, the UDCLT isn’t a registered housing provider and therefore is not able to apply directly for financial support from Homes England, the non-departmental public body that funds new affordable housing in England.
However North Star is a registered provider and they were able to approach Homes England on behalf of the trust.
Homes England has now confirmed they are awarding a grant towards the Bainbridge project.
Stephen Stubbs, chair of the UDCLT, North Star’s Sarah Fawcett and Richard Panter, growth manager at Homes England, along with volunteers from the trust, came together recently celebrate new partnerships and to see the former Chapel prior to its transformation.
Sarah said: “The heart of North Star is very much about working in communities and not imposing ourselves upon them – we just felt that this was an opportunity for us to partner with an organisation in a rural area we’ve not currently got a connection with.
“There’s obviously a housing need, and the UDCLT has skills, expertise, passion and interest; it feels to me like this could be the start of a partnership relationship that we’d love to explore to meet additional housing needs in the area.”
Homes England’s Richard Panter said: “When North Star and the UDCLT teamed up it was a beautiful moment. We rely on organisations such as North Star to hear about opportunities for us to provide financial awards in areas where we’ve not to date been able to reach.
“This project involves a community land trust promoting community-led rural housing, and in a location where we know we haven’t delivered a lot. We also know there’s very high need and big affordability issues.”
Stephen said: “The trust volunteers all have jobs so we don’t have the capacity to organise the build of these properties and then manage them in the long term.
“We do have in-depth knowledge of the rural communities and insight into the area’s affordable housing need so we see ourselves as facilitating the creation of affordable housing in these deeply rural areas by teaming up with partners such as RDC, North Star and Homes England.”
The UDCLT has a number of future affordable housing projects in the pipeline.