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Somerset Co-operative Community Land Trust

Social performance

Somerset Co-operative CLT are raising investment to provide affordable housing and support urban farming in Taunton.

Somerset CLT's mission is “to provide sustainable affordable housing; and to provide workspace for community enterprises in Somerset; promoting co-operative principles and equality of opportunity for the benefit of the community.”

This is a share issue to provide new affordable rental accomodation in central Taunton, and provide the basis for the society to plan further housing in the future. This property will be held in perpetuity and employed for the benefit of the community in Taunton, and will enable SCCLT to go on to benefit communities elsewhere in Somerset as well. Its model of a CLT anchoring the local social economy, and empowering tenants through cooperative management, is intended to be replicable anywhere in the UK.

Key Social Performance Indicators (KSPIs)

KSPIs are a measure of how the business is performing on delivering its main social or environmental purpose. Read more

KSPI 1 - Permanently affordable housing

The primary target community of this share offer is people in Taunton who are in need of more affordable homes. Through providing more affordable homes to rent and to buy, Somerset Co-operative CLT will serve people who currently find it difficult to buy or rent a decent, affordable home in the area. They will encourage people in housing need in the area to become members of SCCLT (people can become members of their community benefit society for £1) but they do not anticipate that many people who are currently in housing need will invest in their share offer.

SCCLT was formed principally to address a crisis in housing. In the Taunton Housing Market area, the need per 1,000 households (Fordham index) is 15.3, among the highest in Somerset. Since 2006 the number of households on the housing waiting list has risen from 2,211 to over 5,000 (source: Homefinder Somerset). Shelter describe private rented housing in Taunton Deane as 'fairly unaffordable', requiring more than a third of income (source: Shelter 2011).

Assuming a mortgage of 3.5 times income, the deposit needed by the median earner to buy an entry level 2 bed home (entry level 2 bed homes in Taunton cost £127,000) would be £50,000. 83% of residents of Taunton Deane have less than £50,000 savings (Taunton Deane Housing Need Survey 2010). Home ownership nationally is now at its lowest level for thirty years. SCCLT have found that supply of new social rental housing that is compact and affordable but has added collective benefits, is both a valuable service to provide to the community and a viable business model.

In 2015, the CLT set the rents at a level that would allow any adult reliant on housing benefit to afford a self-contained flat. The continued freezing of benefits since then, coupled with the reduced housig benefit offered to the under 35s, makes this a challenge.

Somerset Co-operative CLT can now say that rents are below housing benefit entitlements; and they are within reach of people with low entitlement (eg a younger person seeking a flat of their own) provided that they can use the £6 a week saved on broadband internet, the savings from use of the subsidised washing machine, and the £2 saved on reduced heating bills as a result of our investment in insulation, to make up any shortfall.

KSPI 2 - Supporting social enterprise

SCCLT goes beyond the simple provision of affordable housing by incubating, promoting and resourcing community enterprise. This is an integral part of its mission statement and enables the CLT to help tenants to not only have secure accommodation but to work together to improve their living standards and resilience  It is also enables the CLT to motivate and mobilise its supporters by showing that it does not just manage social problems, but brings about real social change.

The shop front has been let to Somerset Co-operative Services CIC and opened as a 'co-operative hub' which provides a range of services (including credit union savings and loans, social enterprise advice, low cost phone and energy tariffs, and car club membership). The rent is set at £530 a month, slightly lower than other high street premises in Taunton. East Reach is not the busiest area of the town centre and there are several empty shops there at present – Somerset CLT hopes that its hub contributes to a revival of specialist retail there.

Common environmental performance indicators (CEPIs)

CEPIs are environmental performance indicators that are common to all businesses, no matter what their main business activity is. Read more

Carbon emissions

Somerset Co-operative CLT does not currently report on carbon emissions saved.  

Staff travel to work

Somerset Co-operative CLT does not currently report on how staff travel to work. 

Waste and recycling

Somerset Co-operative CLT does not currently report on waste and recycling.

Common Social Performance Indicators (CSPIs)

CSPIs are social performance indicators that are common to all businesses, no matter what their main business activity is. Read more

Community involvement

Please see above KPSI 2.

Ethical procurement

Although Somerset Co-operative CLT seeks to use products that are sustainable it does not currently report on Ethical procurement.

Local employment

Somerset Co-operative CLT does not currently report on local employment.

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