Worcester MP Robin Walker has hailed the creation of a number of new accommodation units for people in need of affordable housing in the city following a multi-agency initiative backed by £500,000 of Government funding.
Worcester Municipal Charities – an historic charitable organisation with roots in the city dating back to 1559 – already owns a number of self-contained one bedroom flats, a 4 bedroom shared flat, and 6 self-contained studio flats in Sansome Place, all for people who have been or are at risk of being homeless. The flats, which are let on licence, are managed and supported by Worcester CAB & WHABAC through their SmartLets social lettings agency.
Now, with assistance in the form of a £500,000 grant from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the charity has plans to expand provision in the city with the creation of a further 25 properties.
By the end of 2017 the conversion of three buildings into 15 units of affordable accommodation will have been completed. This includes two self-contained flats above the new Maggs clothing shop on the Tything which Robin officially opened last Friday (15th December). All the flats will be let immediately to people on SmartLets’ waiting list.
In 2018 a further 10 purpose-built flats will become available which are currently under construction in Lowesmoor, taking the total number of new flats created by the charity in Worcester since 2013 to 37.
Worcester Municipal Charities (WMC) are now considering creating a further 25 such flats in two buildings in 2018/2019 subject to planning consents and further approved grants from the HCA.
Speaking after his visit to the new Maggs shop and WMC’s flats on Friday, Robin said:
“This is a fantastic initiative providing sustainable and low-cost housing to those being supported out of homelessness in Worcester.”
“I was very happy to open the new Maggs Clothing Project last Friday and to see the accommodation that has been created there. I have long advocated for more attention to be paid to ‘living above the shop’ as we have so much space available for this in Worcester, and so it is great to see this becoming a reality thanks to the efforts of Worcester Municipal Charities, WHABAC and Maggs. I will continue to work with local voluntary organisations and colleagues in Government to promote the conversion of unused commercial space into affordable residential accommodation as I believe this can meet two big challenges, making more affordable accommodation available and helping to make our city centres more sustainable.”
“I commend the vital work these three charities do locally to support those unfortunate enough to have faced homelessness and help people to move on into affordable and secure accommodation. I look forward to seeing the newly built properties in Lowesmoor when they are completed next year. I will certainly be supporting any further bids to the Homes and Communities Agency that will enable expansion of this project and provide more secure housing in Worcester for those most in need.”
Notes to editors
To apply for help from SmartLets you can call in to Worcester CAB & WHABAC at their offices in the Hopmarket: Opening times Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9.30 am to 4pm (closed Thursdays) for an initial assessment, or call 03444111303.
For more information on Worcester Municipal Charities, see: http://www.wmcharities.org.uk/index.html
The Maggs Clothing Project is now up and running and taking donations. They can be found at 59/60 The Tything and are open 9-12 Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They will be closed for a Christmas break from 25th December and will re-open on 3rd January 2018.