Further funding for homes

Patsy Healey at West Mansfield House
Patsy Healey at West Mansfield House

A north Northumberland community continues to pull together in an effort to provide more affordable housing.

The Glendale Gateway Trust (GGT) launched a community bond scheme in October with the aim of funding the provision of five flats in the former Wheatsheaf Hotel building and four in the former Abbeyfields Home (now West Mansfield House) just off the High Street in Wooler.

The scheme has gone from strength to strength and now Wooler Parish Council has agreed to invest £30,000 in the affordable-housing programme from the Archbold Trust fund which the council administers.

The decision is beneficial to both organisation as it means the Trust will need to borrow that much less from the bank, while the parish council will be paid four per cent interest once the flats are let, giving them an income of £1,200 per year to be spent on local projects.

The bond scheme, which has a target of £150,000, has raised £122,500 to date to help fund the affordable homes.

The Trust has asked people to loan it £1,000 in exchange for a bond, which is to be held for a minimum of three years.

Before the bond scheme was launched, the Nigel Vinson Charitable Trust had donated £40,000 towards the cost of buying the Abbeyfields building and the homes are being built with the help of grants from the Homes and Communities Agency.

When the scheme was launched, Trust chairman Patsy Healey said: “This exciting scheme achieves two important goals for the community. It helps with the severe shortage of homes for older people following the closure of Horsdonside last year.

“And it brings back into use iconic buildings at the heart of Wooler which have been standing empty.”