In 2016, we launched a major initiative, called [establish], to mark the 70th anniversary of the formation of Andrews Property Group. This is not a grant funding programme but an initiative that aims to bring a unique focus to the relationship between ACT and the property group that it owns.
The initiative, to be known initially as [establish] will see ACT as the principal shareholder of Andrews Property Group, working in collaboration with the business. It is designed to combine the resources and charity support skills of ACT with the professional knowledge and expertise of the property business to give young people a roof over their heads and support in finding work or training.
The aim is for 50 properties to be purchased across the entire footprint of our estate agency branch network over the next 50 years, or sooner if funding allows. Each house will hopefully provide accommodation for 3-4 young people on their transition into work.
Michael Robson, out-going Chief Executive of Andrews, speaking on the launch of the campaign in 2016 said:
“We were keen to celebrate our 70th anniversary in a meaningful way that reminded those within the business and the wider communities where we operate, of the foundations on which our business was formed and the unique ownership structure that remains to this day. By collaborating on this initiative together, we believe we’re able to draw on the distinct areas of expertise of both the business and its shareholding charity. Staff across the country have helped launch this project with a significant fundraising target of £70,000! This funding will be used to set up the first house in Bristol and go towards purchase of the second.”
ACT is responsible for finding and selecting excellent local charity organisations with a track record in housing-based initiatives to improve the lives of vulnerable young people. We will be looking for charities that not only providing housing and tenancy sustainment support but also evidence of helping young people into work, so that they can realistically move into mainstream accommodation when they leave.
ACT will prioritise local charities that support communities where Andrews already has a presence. Andrews Property Group has more than 60 branches across Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and the South East. Selected charities will then be given long term leases for use by their beneficiaries. The sub-commercial leases will provide ACT with a modest income to help finance future property purchases.
Andrews Property Group will support the project through assistance in finding and purchasing the properties and in negotiating investment finance, when required. It is also hoped that this project will allow each and every member of staff to get directly involved in something that will benefit young people locally to where they work. This could be through fundraising to help with their local house, mentoring young people or even painting and decorating between tenants.
Andrews and ACT have already engaged with their first partner to deliver the first home. 1625 Independent People is a Bristol-based charity which helps 16-25 year olds with housing advice as well as life skills, confidence building, education, training and jobs. Andrews and ACT have already bought a home for 1625 to lease later in 2016 and the plans have the backing of the City’s Lord Mayor Councillor Clare Campion-Smith.
Dom Wood, Chief Executive at 1625 Independent People, concludes:
“We are delighted to be partnering with Andrews and ACT to deliver a new home to young care leavers in Bristol. We are already supporting up to 500 young people in the city at any one time and engage with somewhere in the region of 1800 annually.
“This new home will give the young people who live there the opportunity to live independently, manage their own finances and gain the support necessary to find employment or training. The impact that this will have cannot be underestimated and the team at Andrews should be commended for celebrating their 70th anniversary in this way.”
So the first house is in Bristol, but we are already on the lookout for a second property to be launched in 2017. This time, we are looking in the South East closer to our branches in that region. Then house number three might be around Oxford or Gloucester as we continue to grow this project right across the communities served by the branch network of Andrews Property Group.