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Leeds Community Homes - OFFER CLOSED

What they do

Leeds Community Homes (LCH) is a community benefit society looking to raise finance to make progress on their aim of developing a community-led approach to creating more affordable housing in Leeds.

The project

The primary focus of this share offer is to raise finance for Leeds Community Homes' first project, the purchase of 16 permanently affordable 1 and 2 bedroom flats on a city-centre development by Leeds-based developer Citu. The development forms part of Leeds’ new Climate Innovation District – and the flats will be built to a high standard of environmental sustainability. The flats will be made available for affordable rental and sale – and through their role as a Community Land Trust for Leeds they will ensure that they are available for affordable housing in perpetuity. The Society will retain nine flats, and sell seven flats.

If they raise above their minimum target (i.e. the finance that they require to progress with Low Fold) they will be able to reduce the amount of long-term borrowing that they require. If they reach their maximum target, they will be able to deliver the Low Fold project without the need for long-term loan finance. A short-term bridging loan will still be required to fund the purchase of the seven flats that they will subsequently sell on.

As well as contributing to the purchase of rental flats, and the overheads required to deliver the Low Fold scheme, shareholder funds will provide some initial working capital to explore future projects. It is anticipated that these future projects will repay these funds, however if LCH decide not to go ahead with any future projects then this work will be funded by the future surplus from the Low Fold development.

Leeds Community Homes' aim is that as a result of this investment they will subsequently be able to make further progress on a range of projects via a second open community share offer, which they anticipate will launch in 2019 – once the homes at Low Fold are occupied. 

About Leeds Community Homes

Leeds Community Homes was set up in November 2015 as a community benefit society. Throughout the previous twelve months the seven founder members of Leeds Community Homes met regularly to explore the idea of establishing an organisation that could take the lead on developing a community-led approach to creating housing across Leeds.  

To date they have been successful in securing funding of approximately £50,000 towards the 2016 running costs of Leeds Community Homes, from funders including BSHF, UnLtd, the Community Land Trust Network and Power To Change. This funding has contributed towards activities including company set-up and the development of this share offer.

They believe that their success in securing a significant amount of funding at such an early stage of their development demonstrates both the current interest in community-led housing, the confidence funders have in their vision, and their ability to deliver on that vision.  They believe that they will continue to be successful in raising grant finance – and have budgeted for a modest amount of grant income (£10,000 per year) for each year until 2021.

Leeds Community Homes has also been awarded the Community Shares Standard Mark by the Community Shares Unit, which is awarded to offers that meet national standards of good practice.

Future plans

During 2017 and 2018, Leeds Community Homes plans to explore and make progress on opportunities including those listed below – with a view to seeking further finance to progress them during 2019 and beyond – including through an open share offer.

• As a Community Land Trust, identify land for permanently affordable housing as part of Leeds’ proposed South Bank development – with purchase forming part of a future share offer;
• Identify small parcels of land to build environmentally-sustainable, affordable homes – with purchase forming part of a future share offer;
• Identify opportunities to partner with developers to build permanently affordable homes on sites they are developing;
• Work towards establishing a student housing co-op in Leeds;
• Support emerging co-housing projects in Leeds;
• Work with other community-led housing organisations to develop programmes for purchasing and renovating long-term empty homes;
• Offer support to community-led housing groups in Leeds to explore opportunities and to build their capacity to build affordable homes in Leeds;
• Explore how to establish a loan fund to provide finance – in particular early-stage finance – for community-led housing projects in Leeds.

Read more about Leeds Community Homes on the Power to Change blog

 Click here to read the blog

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