April 12, 2018
A ground-breaking initiative has been set up by a team of local businesses, charities and property experts to create vital housing that will transform the lives of young homeless people in Bristol.
East Street Mews will create 11 contemporary apartments through the conversion of an empty property in Bedminster, to provide much-needed affordable housing in the city for this vulnerable group of people.
The apartments on East Street will provide a solid foundation on which young people can build towards the next stage of their lives in education and employment. The restored property will also include space on the ground floor for local businesses.
Young people in the UK are three times more likely to experience homelessness than the rest of the population and are disproportionally impacted by job insecurity and poverty . A recent study found that 1 in 13 people aged between 16 and 25 in the UK have experienced some form of homelessness within the last five years.
East Street Mews is the brainchild of Bristol-based property developer Cubex, property industry charity LandAid and local charity Developing Health and Independent (DHI). Realising there was a major gap in provision for young homeless people who are not eligible for other forms of support, they decided to donate their time, investment and expertise to address the problem.
They have enlisted the support of other businesses in the property and construction supply chain, such as contractor Willmott Dixon, to help restore and convert the row of three properties near the Bedminster roundabout into high quality housing. The building, which is owned by Bristol City Council and will be managed by DHI, will provide next step housing for young people on the street or without a place to call home.
The project team is currently working up plans and designs for converting the property, which has been empty for many years and needs significant restoration. It aims to submit a planning application in the next few weeks, start work on conversion in late summer, and welcome the first residents into East Street Mews in 2019.
All the companies who have pledged to help are donating their time and skills free of charge, and organisations that have committed support so far include Palmer Capital, The Bush Consultancy, GVA, JLL, Hydrock, Creation Design, Spirit Public Relations, Carbon Consult, TFT, and Cook Brown Building Control.
Gavin Bridge, director of developers Cubex who are responsible for the new quarter at Finzels Reach, explained how the project came about: “Living and working in Bristol, we are only too well aware of growing homelessness in the city and wanted to do something about it. It seemed to us that the best way to contribute would be to use our own expertise, along with the skills of many of the companies we’ve worked with, to put the East Street Mews project together.
“We’ve been astonished by the enthusiasm and commitment of the team, who are bringing the same professionalism to this project as they would to any other, to create high quality homes that we can all be proud of and that will make a real difference to a group of people who have their futures in front of them.”
When complete, the apartments will be offered at rental levels set according to the amount young homeless people can afford to pay.
David Walton, housing director of DHI said: “We are proud to be part of a project developed and made possible by the partnership of local charities and private companies who are together making a lasting difference for fellow Bristolians.”
“This project is enabling us to address the huge need for high quality and truly affordable homes for young people in Bristol. There is a great need for stepping stone or ‘move on’ accommodation for young people living in hostels or at risk of homelessness, so this is an important project to prevent youth homelessness and help young people turn their lives around.”
Alice Lamb, director of fundraising and partnerships from LandAid, explained: “LandAid are proud to be a part of the East Street Mews project, which will go some way to plugging the gap in affordable housing for young people in Bristol. LandAid’s mission is to end youth homelessness by 2026, but we cannot do this alone.
“East Street Mews is an excellent example of how by bringing together the property industry, local authorities and front line charities, we can make a huge impact to the lives of those who need it most. LandAid hopes that East Street Mews will be the first of many a similar project, not just in the South West but across the UK.”
Willmott Dixon will be leading the construction procurement and management aspects of the project.
John Boughton, deputy managing director from Willmott Dixon, said: ‘‘When we were first approached about being involved in East Street Mews, we didn’t hesitate in giving our commitment to the project. We could clearly see the positive impact that it would have on a group of people that for whatever reason have experienced significant challenge.
“We are really looking forward to giving our support to our customer Cubex and working with the rest of the project team, to help make the vision for the building a reality.’’
There is a public consultation event about the proposals for East Street Mews at Café Grounded on Bedminster Parade on Wednesday 11 April from 2-7pm, where there will be an opportunity to meet the team, share your views and understand more about the East Street Mews Project.
Companies or individuals interested in getting involved in helping with East Street Mews can find out more on the project website www.eaststreetmews.co.uk or they can contact Eleanor Lynch, development manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Poverty and Social Exclusion survey –Young & Homeless 2012, Homeless Link.
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