Initiative Launched to Tackle Empty Homes
27000 people are on the Leeds Homes Register whilst there are 15000 empty properties in the city.
It was organised by Leeds-based social entrepreneurs Gill Coupland and Rob Greenland who run Social Business Brokers CIC, a community interest company, with Rob saying: ‘we need creative, enterprising approach to bringing empty homes back into use in Leeds’.
Gill and Rob had the idea after seeing how many empty properties there were around their new offices and watching Channel 4′s Great British Property Scandal, presented by architect George Clarke. They were able to put their idea into reality with support from Leeds Community Foundation, CITU, Ecology Building Society, Big Lottery Fund, Construction Yorkshire and Swarm Communications.
George Clarke attended the event on Wednesday which was attended by a wide variety of people and organisations including Leeds City Council, Social Enterprises and Principal Contractors.
The event saw Leeds City Council, represented by Chief Executive Tom Riordan and Cllr Peter Gruen, Executive Board Members Housing and Neighbourhoods, pledge their support. Cllr Gruen said that homelessness and empty homes are a number one priority for Leeds and urged attendees to share ideas and get involved, which they certainly did.
George Clarke launched the Call to Action Pledge-a-thon and asked attendees to pledge what they could to bring an example, empty property back into use. Pledges came in for survey work, design work, clearance, windows, paint, furniture, electrics and auction costs; so impressed by the generousity, George Clarke himself pledged the bathroom kit.
Construction Yorkshire, one of our projects, will be continuing to work with Gill, Rob and other partners on the initiative to secure pledges of support from members and explore how, in the longer term, they can develop a supply chain for empty homes renovators. re’new pledged to make sure that this issue was kept on the agenda in our work with Housing and Neighbourhoods and position on the Leeds Housing Partnership.
It was agreed that this was not an issue that any sector can solve alone but only by all sectors working together. The event was over-subscribed with everyone there very keen to make a difference and press coverage received from BBC Radio, Look North and throughout local newspapers. George Clarke commented that this was the start of something special and later tweeted Rob Greenland to say: ‘If I could bottle the feeling in that event today and pour it over Britain, the Property Scandal would disappear’
Cash donations can be made to the initiative by visiting: www.leedscf.org.uk or to get involved by providing resources please contact us and we will be coordinating the labour.
Call To Action on BBC Look North: http://www.screenr.com/vQm8
For more information: http://www.leedsempties.org.uk/