Giroscope is an award winning housing charity based in West Hull. For nearly 30 years we have brought sustainable regeneration to our neighbourhood by providing housing, employment and training. Our primary activity is renovating empty and derelict properties, bringing them back into use to provide affordable accommodation to those in housing need.
View Giroscope’s film
Giroscope was formed in 1985 by a group of ex-students and unemployed young people who decided to take direct action to resolve their own housing situation. Fed up with renting poor quality private sector housing, the group decided to take advantage of cheap house prices, purchasing their first property using their giros and borrowing funds. They established a worker’s cooperative to renovate the house which was then let out to provide accommodation for unemployed people. Over the next few years they managed to scrape together enough money to purchase several more houses to renovate, picking up more building skills along the way.
In this manner we have developed a sustainable method of regeneration, bringing empty properties back into use, expanding people skills and helping to create a thriving community. Giroscope now owns over 80 properties, as well as a local shop, vegetarian café, and other office and workshop space for other charities, small businesses and social enterprises.
Throughout the renovation process we provide work experience and training to those disadvantaged in the employment market. Under the supervision of our Building Skills Supervisors volunteers receive training and experience across a wide range of construction skills, covering all aspects of house renovation: from stripping out and demolition, brickwork and plastering, basic plumbing and electrics, joinery, painting, decorating and carpet fitting. Volunteers also receive support from our Support Worker who develops learning plans for each volunteer to identify their aims, record their progress as well as helping them apply for work or further training.
We work with volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds including ex-offenders, long-term unemployed people, those with mental health problems or learning difficulties, those recovering from alcohol or drug misuse and others with one or more barriers to work. Recently Giroscope was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the ‘MBE for voluntary groups’, as recognition for our work.
At Giroscope we believe that everyone is entitled to somewhere they can call their home. We aim to create a more vibrant local community by repopulating empty streets and ensuring that nobody feels isolated from their community due to poverty, homelessness or prejudice.
We provide secure, affordable accommodation to those in housing need. We house a range of people including those living in overcrowded or poorly maintained properties, people on low incomes or claiming benefits, young people, single parents or those living in hostels or other temporary accommodation.
So long as the conditions of the tenancy are met, you have the right to remain in your home for as long as you wish. We will not sell your home or transfer ownership so long as you are the tenant. We will not borrow money against Giroscope property in any way that endangers the financial stability of the organisation.
Our project in based in West Hull, in the wards of Newington and St Andrews, areas with high levels of deprivation, worklessness and unemployment. The collapse of the previous Government’s failed regeneration scheme, ‘Pathfinder’, left our community facing an uncertain future with properties being left abandoned, lots of boarded up houses and the problems of crime and antisocial behaviour not being addressed. These fragile neighbourhoods tend to have a high turnover of tenants and few owner occupiers.
We tackle this problem by encouraging tenants to view their property as their own, and over time this has helped to establish stable communities in neighbourhoods that suffer from a plethora of social and economic problems.
Giroscope receives minimum statutory funding for its work. The basic running costs for the organisation are generated by our rental income, and we borrow against our existing property to fund new property purchases. To expand our work and create new posts or projects we fund raise from time to time to bring in additional income. Over the years we have received support from a number of charitable trusts and foundations.
We were successful in bidding for the Government’s Empty Homes Community Grants Programme and secured £954k. As a result, between July 2012-March 2015 we were able to purchase and renovate, with our own labour force, 48 long-term empty properties.
World Habitat Award
In March 2016, Giroscope, in partnership with Canopy Housing Project, won the BSHF World Habitat Award for Self-Help Housing In the North. See worldhabitatawards.org  for more information.
Howard League Award
They also one the Howard League’s Organisation of the Year Award  for 2017