Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust (DGSCHT) is delighted to have secured funding from The Nationwide Foundation to develop and grow their Realising Affordable Rural Homes (RARH) Project over a period of three years.   The project helps communities across the region to achieve community owned housing in line with local needs and demands.

The Nationwide Foundation is a charitable funder which aims to increase the availability of decent, affordable housing for people in need. Funding for this project is part of the Nationwide Foundation’s strategic programme, Backing Community-Led Housing. A key part of this work is for community-led housing to become a more significant contributor to decent, affordable housing for people in need.

 

The RARH Project, currently funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council and run by Project Officer Stacy Bradley, is working with a number of community groups to support development of new build and refurbished affordable homes in line with requirements identified by communities themselves.  By assisting communities at every stage of project development, from inception through delivery and ongoing management, DGSCHT are endeavouring to empower communities to achieve housing that is affordable in perpetuity and allows communities to bridge the gap between conventional housing delivery and very localised requirements.  In practical terms, DGSCHT will lead on applications to the Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund and Scottish Land Fund, Community Asset Transfer and any other relevant finance or resource acquisition.  With these factors at the heart of the RARH project, DGSCHT hope to further enable communities to become more sustainable and diverse, as well as providing income to explore other community priorities in the longer term.

Mike Staples, Chief Executive of DGSCHT, said of the award:

“This funding is a real boost for the Trust and for community development in Dumfries and Galloway.  We’re really grateful to the Nationwide Foundation and are looking forward to working closely with them and other funded organisations over the course of the next three years.  We are currently making great progress on a number of community-led housing projects across the region and this funding will give us the opportunity to engage with a larger number of communities, whilst making our own approach to support more efficient”. 

Nith Valley LEAF Trust (NVLT) are currently working with DGSCHT to develop 3 environmentally friendly, Passivhaus standard houses at Closeburn.  Already owners of a community house, NVLT are keen to repeat their positive experience by delivering an innovative solution which addresses their community’s needs for family housing and reducing fuel poverty.

Speaking about his experience of working with DGSCHT, NVLT Director, Mike Steele said:

“NVLT have been working with the support of the Small Communities Housing Trust for a number of years now, having concluded one project and currently working through the design and appraisal of a second, more ambitious scheme.  DGSCHT have been invaluable in terms of allowing us to understand our local affordable housing needs and the benefits of community led housing, as well as helping us to unlock funding, form partnerships and attain expert advice.  They have been there to provide support and advice at every stage of the process, which is of great help to a voluntary community group like ours”.

 

DGSCHT are keen to hear from community groups across Dumfries and Galloway who are interested in developing their ideas under the Realising Affordable Rural Homes Project.  Please contact mail@dgscht.co.uk or call 01848 332516 if your community would like more information.