Aspire Housing secures £2.5m for 92 new affordable homes

Aspire Housing will be providing 92 more affordable homes in North Staffordshire after being granted £2.5m from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Of the 92 properties, 51 will be new build and 41 will be existing privately-owned empty homes that will be bought and refurbished as part of the Aspire Group’s Youth Refurbishment programme. This gives young learners and apprentices the opportunity to develop skills to help them find work.

Sixty-eight of the new affordable homes will be for rent by Aspire Housing and 24 will be for shared ownership.

The £2.5m HCA grant for 2011-15 will contribute towards the expected £7.1m total cost of building and refurbishing the homes. The additional cost will be met by Aspire Housing, using its existing bank funding.

The new homes will be in the proposed redevelopment of Charter Road, Cross Heath, and other sites as they become available.

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.

Sinéad Butters, Aspire Group chief executive, said: “We are delighted to secure this funding so we can continue to provide more affordable homes for the local community.

“We will also be able to give young learners and apprentices the opportunity to gain the skills needed to get work through our youth refurbishment programme.”

Neale Clifton, Executive Director of Regeneration and Development at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council added: “This is tremendous news from a regeneration viewpoint because it will enable Aspire Housing and their partners to continue with their investment in much needed housing in our area.

“Whilst the support for the Youth Refurbishment Programme acknowledges the value and importance of local young people gaining valuable construction skills in bringing empty properties back into productive use.”

The Youth Refurbishment programme works by using apprentices and young learners from Aspire Housing’s sister company PM Training to carry out work such as stripping out existing fittings, plastering, decorating, joinery, carpeting, improving driveways and gardens. Structural alterations, central heating, and electrics are carried out by specialist contractors who will also employ apprentices from PM Training.

The property is then rented for social housing by Aspire Housing to an applicant on the Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent waiting lists.