Derelict property restored by Worthing Borough Council and YMCA Downslink Group

Derelict property restored by Worthing Borough Council and YMCA Downslink Group

A once derelict property has been restored to its full potential thanks to a scheme run by Worthing Borough Council in partnership with YMCA DownsLink Group.

Up and down the country, the number of those needing housing assistance has increased rapidly, prompting local authorities to create innovative new ways to keep up with the demand.  Thanks to an empty property scheme put in place by Worthing Borough Council, in partnership with YMCA DownsLink Group, run down homes are being injected with a new lease of life across the Borough.

The first property to go through this scheme has been a roaring success. A four bedroom house in Worthing, the cause of a number of complaints to the Council, had to be stripped back to its shell before work could begin. From plumbing, plastering, electrical wiring to the finishing touches, every element had to be assessed and restored, if necessary, to provide those in need with somewhere safe and hygienic to live.

After successful negotiations between the owner and the YMCA DownsLink Group, a five year lease was signed and agreed earlier this year, with work commencing soon after. This particular property was in a very poor and dilapidated condition requiring extensive refurbishments, but thanks to the hard work of many, it can now be used to provide essential housing for those families and individuals requiring it.

Councillor Dr Heather Mercer, Executive Member for Customer Services at Worthing Borough Council, said: “Though this partnership, we have turned something not suitable for people to live in into a clean, safe and secure home for local people.

“When addressing housing need, it’s vitally important to look outside our own organisation, to see what strengths and skills others can bring, and then to form the right relationships to make improvements happen.  That’s what I’ve seen here – and long may it continue.”

Helen Stevens, Empty Properties Officer for Worthing Council added: “The majority of empty homes within the Borough become so because their owners simply do not have the money to complete the work needed to make their properties habitable again, that’s where this new scheme steps in to provide support. I as the Council’s designated Empty Properties Officer identify suitable properties for the scheme and refer them to the YMCA DownsLink Group.”

Once a property is deemed suitable for work to take place YMCA DownsLink Group will negotiate a lease with the homeowner for up to five or ten years, guaranteeing to manage the property, cover any empty periods and assuring rental income throughout the lease.

Paul Dalton, Projects Manager for the YMCA Downslink Group, said: “It has been great to view this property’s transformation and to see people moving in. YMCA DownsLink Group have worked closely with Worthing Borough Council to get this scheme up and running. Together, we plan to identify and renovate many more empty properties locally, so we can accommodate more of those in housing need.”

Each individual project needs funding for the work to take place, so Worthing Borough Council’s Empty Property Assistance Programme offers grants of up to £5,000 or interest free loans of up to £10,000, to carry out maintenance and restoration. As well as negotiating contracts and undertaking the work, the YMCA DownsLink Group does always try to call upon local traders and resources, where possible, helping others in the community too.

For more information on the work YMCA DownsLink Group  undertakes lease visit their website: www.ymcadlg.org. If you would like to discuss an empty property you own or find out what assistance may be available to you, please contact Helen Stevens by email: helen.stevens@adur-worthing.gov.uk