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  • In 2009, members of Keswick Churches Together consulted their community and identified the shortage of local affordable homes as the top concern. They decided to take practical action.
  • With the support of the Cumbria Rural Housing Trust CLT enabler and Impact Housing Association, a group of local people started with no money, land or experience, but went on to build their first scheme of eleven affordable homes
  • They have since gone on to convert four flats for single people, and recently completed twenty two more homes
  • An essential early step was to set up a dedicated organisation to deliver and become accountable for the new homes. £18,000 of revenue support was secured from local and national organisations and most of this was used to cover the legal and administrative costs of setting up Keswick Community Housing Trust (KCHT)
  • The Trust became a registered society with exempt charitable status to enable it to raise investment through community shares and at the same time to raise funds from charitable sources
  • Land for the first scheme was bought from the local diocese, which agreed to sell part of a church graveyard that was unsuitable for burial and at a price which would help to ensure affordability. 11 plots were sold at £10,000 each, the capital receipt providing the church with an endowment for the upkeep of the rest of the graveyard
  • As a Community Land Trust and Registered Provider, the Trust was able to bid for funding through the Homes and Communities Agency and it secured a £230,000 grant towards the development. The financial package relied on the sale of one of the eleven homes on the open market and the sale of 50% of another five, on a shared ownership basis, to release enough capital. This arrangement required bridging finance, provided by a local building society on the basis of the CLT’s business plan which included a community share scheme that managed to raise £60,000
  • The residual mortgage (maximum £293,000) is repayable over 25 years and the rental income from the properties covers mortgage repayments, day to day expenses, insurance, audit fees, repairs and contributions to a ‘sinking fund’. Rental charges currently stand at £500 per calendar month for the six fully rented properties; no rent is charged on the shared ownership properties
  • All the properties are subject to a Section 106 Local Lettings Agreement[PD1] 

More information about Keswick Community HousingTrust 

 [PD1]Cross reference to Toolkit Section 1.18

Published in March 2018

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