Saturday, November 27, 2021

Top award for new developments giving hope to homeless in Leeds

Two new developments in Leeds specifically designed to tackle housing vulnerability in the city have received a prestigious Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Award for Sustainability and Societal Impact.

Don Robins House completed this summer in New Wortley, and Regent Lodge, which was built in 2019 in Hyde Park near Headingley, were both developed by Leeds homeless charity, St George’s Crypt, and designed by Brewster Bye Architects.

Vistry Partnerships Yorkshire was the principal contractor on both schemes, which scooped the inaugural prize at the Yorkshire Residential Property Awards 2021. The event raises vital funds for Variety, the children’s charity, to pay for individual grants for children in Yorkshire who need wheelchairs and specialist equipment that is unavailable on the NHS. Both developments were also runners-up in the Best Small Development category.

Don Robins House, which is named after the priest who established St George’s Crypt in 1930, consists of 24, one and two bedroom apartments and was developed in partnership with Leeds City Council, which provided low cost loan facilities as well as financing 30% of the capital costs through its Right to Buy Replacement Programme.

Property industry charity, LandAid, which works to end youth homelessness in the UK, also provided a £75,000 grant for the development.

This supported setting offers two homes specifically for people under the age of 25, helping some of the most vulnerable young people in Leeds. Residents are allotted properties for two years based on need and personal circumstance, with tenancy agreements designed to promote independence and engagement. Residents benefit from ongoing support within the development’s dedicated training area, covering everything from nutrition to health and wellbeing.

Don Robins House is St George’s Crypt’s second purpose-built development following the completion of Regent Lodge, which now supports 14 residents with alcohol dependency issues, who are on the road to recovery. They all live in self-contained studio apartments, designed to aid in the development of life skills, boost self-confidence and aid self-esteem in a structured setting. Last year it was named Yorkshire’s best residential development at the RICS Social Impact Awards.

Chris Fields, CEO at St George’s Crypt, said: “Both these developments are immediately making a major difference to local people who are firmly committed to turning their lives around and preparing to live independently.

“The support from Yorkshire’s property community, including the expert guidance from Brewster Bye Architects, city living specialist Jonathan Morgan and Joel Owen from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, has been invaluable. Winning this award, and having our efforts recognised in front of the best of Yorkshire’s property industry, is a huge achievement for everyone involved.”

Nathan Wilkinson, a director at Brewster Bye Architects, said: “It has been very rewarding to work with St George’s Crypt to successfully finance and deliver two high quality, purpose-built developments. Both schemes provide a lifeline to some of our city’s most vulnerable people.

“The concept was a complete first for Leeds and although we’ve faced a lot of challenges along the way, we’ve continually found solutions and proved the model can work. This award is testament to this, and we’re now exploring further development opportunities in and around Leeds, in order to continue tackling homelessness in the city.”

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