aspire group secures 28m funding for expansion

The Aspire Group has secured £28m of additional funding for ambitious expansion plans to offer new services and provide 300 more properties over the next four years.

The Group comprises housing association Aspire Housing, along with social enterprise training and skills provider PM Training and regeneration charity The Realise Foundation.

And the £28m loan – borrowed from supporting banks Barclays and Lloyds TSB – will be used to ensure the Group’s continued expansion, with the acquisition of several businesses in North Staffordshire in the coming months.

The cash injection will also be used to build and acquire more than 300 affordable new properties across the region over the next four years.

The funding, which is in addition to the Aspire Group’s existing £112.5m loan, will also allow Aspire Housing to continue to improve services and maintain its 8,400 homes to a standard agreed with customers. This “Aspire Standard” is above the minimum “decent homes standard”.

Sinéad Butters, Aspire Group chief executive, said: “The group is very much a business with a social ethos, committed to creating prosperous communities in North Staffordshire – and with the new investment, we are well placed to continue to achieve this over the next four years.

“We are particularly excited about the possibility of acquiring new businesses and expanding the range of services that we offer.

“However, we are also fully committed to our core business of housing and we are planning to build and acquire much-needed affordable homes for the region.

“The funding will allow us to push ahead with our ambitious development programme while continuing to invest and improve in services for our existing 20,000 customers.

“The tough economic situation proved no barrier to us delivering multi-million pound regeneration projects at Ingestre Square and Lymebrook Way recently.

“By securing this investment and working with our partners and funders we will be able to continue this growth over the coming years.”

Aspire Housing provides around 20,000 customers with quality affordable homes and services in North Staffordshire, while PM Training offers training and employment opportunities for more than 1,000 young people a year.

PM Training’s profits are reinvested into North Staffordshire through The Realise Foundation charity, which supports apprenticeships, lifelong learning and improves the environment.