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Millfields Trust, Plymouth

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The Stonehouse Area

Stonehouse is an inner city neighbourhood with a high number of indices of multiple deprivation.  One of the contributing factors is the state of housing and the amount of social housing. The area is blighted by poor management of housing mostly by private landlords.  There is some beautiful housing that has been left to deteriorate and in some cases is sub divided into flats.  This makes for a transient and unstable population whilst is does nothing to improve the housing stock.

Millfields TrustMillfields Trust


The Millfields Trust & Housing Development

The Millfields Trust objectives are to improve Stonehouse for all residents as a trading social enterprise and CIC. Membership of the Trust is open to all residents.

Since inception in 1999 it has successfully run commercial business units, and has earned a reputation for being a good and fair landlord that has supported the development of many SME’s.  The profits of the Trust’s trading support a charity set up by the Trust that works with young people in our area.  It’s part of our long term ambition to change the area by making long term investments in people.

We now want to look at developing residential properties for the following reasons:

  • we would like to improve the housing stock of Stonehouse, and create community neighbourhoods.
  • we would like to offer a decent home to local people ( ie a good quality house on a long lease with an affordable rent)
  • we would like to explore the possibility that local people could buy an equity stake in the house, or possibly buy the house outright at given points, for instance at year 5 or 10 of a lease, wages are low and housing prices are high so it is difficult to get on the housing ladder.
  • we would like to add to the asset base of the Trust and diversify our income streams.
  • we would like to set up our own company to undertake refurbishments and, in doing so, generate local employment.

We have spoken to Nat West and Triodos (with whom we have mortgages) and both are willing to work with us if we can model things satisfactorily. Needless to say, grant input would be of great assistance

We have done some work on a model that would see us look to purchase and refurb around 10 properties, incrementally drawing down the money as and when.

Whilst we are convinced by the need, and that our intervention would be positive, we need to get the financing of this right in order to ensure it is sustainable and making a contribution to community life.

The Trust has now acquired its first property using its reserves and a mortgage from Triodos Bank . While they will be able to repeat this unaided, in order to scale up they will require grant input.  In the future it would also like to set up its own company to undertake refurbishment, which in turn would provide further opportunities for generating local employment.

September 2017