Easing the unaffordable housing tide

As the units arrive from East Yorkshire and are dropped into place on the former carpark in Fishponds Fran Bainbridge from 1625 Independent people reflects on the motivation behind the project and why it’s so important to the young people of Bristol.

“The M word. It’s good to talk about money,” says Lloyds Bank.  Yet with living costs so high, it can be hard to when it seems your wage leaves your account as soon as it has gone in. Recent years have been tough for many, not forgetting, the economic crash, Brexit, low wages and a benefits freeze.

Economic hardship calls us to get innovative, thinking outside the box for the better. Let’s embrace ideas that serve a purpose now, for the problems of today.

Enter Bristol’s pioeneering housing project!

LaunchPad, one such project, forges forward to create a community and excellent homes. LaunchPad identified key areas that are affecting young people; affordable housing, state of current housing (damp, mould, lack of light), isolation, loneliness and opportunities to grow. What would happen if we brought together young people (facing hardship, students and young key workers), gave them a healthy and affordable environment to call home and help taking that next step in their careers? What if we gave them a launch pad?

Investing in the next generation is one of the best investments we can make.  It is two-fold. First, they are the future leaders and grafters of our society, economy and services.  We want people who are confident of who they are, their skills and their values to be spearheading the future.  Secondly, investing in a young person to become a healthy and thriving person who supports themselves is far less costly, than someone who is not supported properly early on who then spirals, struggling and in need critical help.

Good quality, affordable housing is a vital part of building a young person’s resilience as a home environment and money are huge contributors to mental health.  LaunchPad holistically targets problem areas that we know affect mental health: conditions (damp and mould, no natural light), community/belonging (16-25 year olds are at the biggest risk of loneliness) and affordability.  Shelter reported that “housing affordability was the most frequently referenced issue by those who saw housing pressures having had a negative impact upon their mental health.”

Inspired and informed by the successful projects from Amsterdam, the LaunchPad partnership formed to apply the idea in Bristol.  Space is a factor that is important and with the rooms being carefully designed the Partnership has planned for generous living spaces, where tenants can build a shared space and community.  The Partnership is keen to see how the design encourages a more communal way of living that will impact the wellbeing of the tenants, decreasing isolation and increasing a sense of purpose and future.

With thorough research, planning and support in place, the next step is to launch in September!  We look forward to seeing how LaunchPad can help young Bristol be its best and watch the progress grow.

Fran Bainbridge, 1625 Independent People

LaunchPad is a partnership between; United Communities, 1625 Independent People, University of Bristol Student’s Union and University of Bristol.  It has been generously been supported by many including, Bristol City Council, Nationwide Building Society and LandAid.

LaunchPad has started building and is set to be ready at the end of September 2019, with permission to run for ten years.  If you know a young person who is interested, please visit www.1625ip.co.uk/What-We-Do/LaunchPad to check the eligibility and application process.

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