Community Campus was formed in 1987 in Middlesbrough. It was created by a group of concerned individuals in response to the housing crisis facing young people in Cleveland and North East of England. It started off by making use of empty properties, /leased from their owners.
Over the years, the organisation has developed a range of projects in supported housing, resettlement, personal development and training and has also established Community Campus Trading Ltd to provide construction services and employment opportunities for local people within the local community.
Today Community Campus ’87 has got to the point where it actually owns 64 properties, the recent development of the last 17 properties has been through a grant of £1.2 million from the Empty Homes Community Grants Programme combined with £500k of match funding, the majority having been renovated by the Key Skills project. These provide much needed supported housing for young people and an ongoing rental income for the organisation and make a major contribution to the sustainability of the organisation. The project also leases property from the Local Authority and Housing Associations to meet its core aim of Housing young people..Over the past 3 years the organisation has focused on developing its asset base while reducing the number of properties it leases in order to build up its resilience.
The organisation has its own headquarters building in central Stockton. The three story building had previously been a nightclub and was renovated by the organisation’s Key Skills Project to provide office accommodation, a workshop and a drop- in offering life skills and learning resources for young people.
Housing & Support
Community Campus has a team of Tenant Support Workers and a Supported Housing Manager based in each office (Middlesbrough and Stockton) who work to support young homeless people applying to the organisation, assisting in making applications and generally supporting them through claiming benefits, considering housing options etc. When young people become tenants of Community Campus ’87 they each have an individual support plan, tailored to their needs, which focuses on key areas such as; managing a tenancy, health, personal development, housing/resettlement and employment, training and education etc.
The project which is based in Middlesbrough is designed to offer discreet time limited packages of support to people who are moving into a tenancy for the first time and for those experiencing tenancy problems in an effort to sustain existing tenancies. The overall aim is to help people maintain and sustain tenancies, the support package is seen as one of the key elements in the maintenance of a tenancy.
The resettlement packages are tailored to the individual needs based on their ability to manage a tenancy, cope with independent living and resettle into the local community. The aim is to reduce the tenancy failure rate and promote the re-engagement with existing support structures to enable the development of practical skills alongside emotional independence.
Key Skills Project
In 1991 the Key Skills Project started as a property renovation scheme linking the housing and training needs of young homeless people and the number of empty properties in the area.
Young people have been able to access the project at a variety of entry points:
- Training placement via recognised training agency
- New Deal Scheme – Voluntary Sector Option
- Volunteering – internal/external to organisation
- Pupil work experience scheme via Learning and Skills Councils, Learn2Work, Local Schools etc.
The variety of access points is one of the key successes of the scheme, it enables young people to access at the level they feel most comfortable with.
The project has grown and developed from it’s roots in Middlesbrough, extending to Stockton-on-Tees retaining a flexibility that has enabled it to adapt to a variety of funding regimes up to the point of employing 10 people and providing a range of building and construction services to customers largely within the voluntary, community and statutory sector.
Presently, the Key Skills Project employs 16 people, all of whom have been trainees and/or volunteers on the project. It continues to provide an access point for young disadvantaged people to learn and train in construction following the creation of Community Campus Trading Ltd which provides excellent value building and construction services to customers. These customers are predominantly from the voluntary, community and statutory sectors, offering high quality, competitively priced works with the added value of continuing to support and develop young people. Recent work streams have included a growing number of empty properties as a sub contractor of local Housing Associations .This has enabled the organisation to deliver over 20 apprenticeships in conjunction with CITB and external funding agencies and we are working to resource more opportunities for young people in the area.
Funding & Future Development
“The organisation grew from an idea on the back of a beer mat” writes Carl Ditchburn “and in the early stages we all paid subs to get things moving. We started attracting charitable monies to employ a development worker, a support worker and admin support to work with young people in borrowed leased properties. We went through the usual routes to fund vans/materials/furniture as a 100% grant dependent agency does.
We now have moved to the point where we earn 70% of our outgoings through contractual delivery and the income from the property we own, including office accommodation. This has taken over 20 years of hard work. Most funding regimes last 24-36 months, which does not encourage long term thinking! The organisation is targeting development in Hartlepool and Redcar over the coming years once again based on our model of developing assets in these areas
We still have to raise upwards of £250k each year. The key to the overall position is that we have built an asset base which has created a robust financial model and we did this through borrowing money and using various grant regimes such as the Lottery, Northern Rock Foundation ,Social Investment Business Unity Trust & Local and National Government regeneration initiatives. The other key is hard work: you have to work hard for ever pound that you earn or ask for! And spend it wisely.
Director: Carl Ditchburn