Our Community Impact award recognises Charity Bank borrowers that have made a significant positive impact on their local community or the community they serve through the work they do.
In January 2009, the Parish Council in the Lyvennet Valley area carried out a community and housing needs survey which identified a lack of affordable housing as a pressing issue. A community-led organisation of 11 volunteers was formed to tackle this issue, comprising of county, district and parish councillors as well as other interested representatives of the community.
By summer of the same year, the Lyvennet Community Trust (LCT) was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and went on to become a registered charity, with the main aim of providing Social Housing and associated amenities within the community for those in need by reason of financial hardship.
LCT managed to secure a grant from Homes England (formerly known as the Homes and Communities Agency) for a proposed affordable housing development, although it came with a number of challenging conditions to satisfy and a short time frame in which to do so. LCT managed to meet all the requirements and purchased a brownfield site on which a development of 10 rental properties, 2 shared-ownership houses and 7 self-build plots was completed by June 2012.
The development is the largest of its kind in the area, increasing the number of properties in Crosby Ravensworth village by an impressive 25.6% (from 82 to 103).
All the rental properties were occupied as soon as they became available. Occupancy levels have been 99.9% with only a few weeks of unoccupied time since construction and there is currently a waiting list, which shows the extent of local need for affordable housing.
Without sufficient affordable housing, it is difficult to retain young people or attract families to the area to keep the community vibrant and sustainable. The local primary school suffers from consistently decreasing numbers. It has therefore been positive to see the affordable housing built by LCT welcome twelve children into the community with four new born over the last 5 years.
Eight of the original trustees remain on the board of LCT and will continue to strive to nurture and improve their local community.
The success of the project has only highlighted the need for further affordable housing, which is one of the biggest challenges in rural areas. Whilst there are no firm plans at the moment, with housing need showing no signs of declining future development projects are likely.
Lyvennet Community Trust received three loans from Charity Bank which helped fund the affordable housing development and enabled it to secure further funding from other sources.