Friday 20th April 2012

South Devon Rural Shortlisted for Small Housing Association of the Year

The association, formed in 1958 has enjoyed unprecidented growth over the last 5 years and responded vigorously to the (then) Housing Corporation's call for small housing associations to use thier balance sheet strength,  to develop more affordable housing.  SDR responded by agreeing a new loan facility with Lloyds TSB Bank in late 2007 which provided and extra £4,000,000 of funding for affordable housing projects.  Since 2007 the association has added 38 properties to its portfolio and has advanced plans to develop another 19 units in the next two years.  The association has 10 units of accommodation on site in Buckfast,  which is in the Dartmoor National Park area. The scheme will produce 1 and 2 bedroomed flats for people with learning disabilities, 4 flats will be formed from a barn conversion, the cost of the development is around £1.2 million.  In addition to this project the Association is currently refurbishing and extending its Registered Care Home in Dartington,  from its current 14 rooms to 25 rooms,  with much improved communal facilities.  This project is set to cost £1.7 million.  More recently the Association has agreed a further £3,000,000 loan facility with Triodos Bank to fund our ongoing affordable housing development programme. The association has also undertaken to extend and improve the benefits afforded to older people and communities through a number of active projects: Creation of a purpose designed Day Centre in Totnes for people suffering with dementia. From its main office in Totnes it has provided  no cost space for community groups and other charities who are providing services for people in need.  Some of these have been, Totnes Memory Cafe; Singing for the Brain; (now re-located) CAB drop in centre and more recently and active living club for older people. The Association provided 16 affordable homes for local people in an innovative scheme working with South Hams District Council, called SHIRE.  Two of the houses purchased were converted especially for people with disabilities.  The Total invested in this scheme was around £2.2 million. The Association has leased 11 properties from the council on a 10 year lease and these properties are availabe at affordable rents for local people. The Association has management agreements in place with other landlords to manage thier housing stock, 16 of which are at affordable rents. The Association entered and won a competition with up to £90,000 of funding to pilot a Work  Hub from Devon County Council from its offices in Totnes.  The Association had spare office space and was keen  to contribute to local employment.  The Association believes that by offering services and space to fledgling and start up businesses it will be contributing to the local economy and providing potential for employment. The Association has held  the Investors in People Award for 10 years, the most recent review taking place in March 2012.