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Victorian villa in Tameside transformed to offer fresh start for homeless

Executives, Board Members and Councillors from Stepping Stone Projects, Cornerstone Place, Ashton Pioneer Homes and Tameside Council.

A Victorian villa in Tameside has been transformed into new homes for people being offered a fresh start away from life on the streets, in hostels or in care.

Homelessness charity Stepping Stone Projects and social enterprise Cornerstone Place joined forces in summer 2021 to acquire the villa, and are working with Tameside Council and Ashton Pioneer Homes on the project.

The council is aiming to build on the work it has done to support rough sleepers and those facing homelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government’s Everyone In scheme saw the council provide emergency hotel accommodation for everyone who needed a bed, without resorting to emergency hotel accommodation further afield.

It is now keen to build on that support and create new pathways and housing options that will eventually see people move on into more permanent accommodation.

The partnership also includes housing association Ashton Pioneer Homes, who will lease the building and ensure it meets the highest quality property and management standards.

The scheme has been jointly developed by Stepping Stone Projects and Cornerstone Place. A pioneering Shared Upside funding model used to purchase the villa transfers 50 per cent of the property ownership to the charity over a five-year period at no cost to them, while giving homes to people now.

If successful, the model could be used to deliver more, much-needed temporary accommodation and offer a vital first step to people moving into permanent homes.

MP Angela Rayner and the Deputy Mayor of Tameside, Councillor Mike Glover, cut the ribbon

Dave Smith, chief executive of Stepping Stone Projects, said: “The project will provide vital support services to those most in need, giving them the chance to learn new skills and ultimately live a more stable and happy life.

“The progressive, privately funded model has brought a beautiful building back into use for the benefit of people in Tameside, and we are excited to see the difference it’s going to make to people’s lives.”

Cornerstone Place co-founder David Ball said: “This sector needs a combination of innovation and determination to address the homelessness challenge.

“All stakeholders have worked hard to bring this project to life, and we are pleased that our unique Shared Upsides funding and ownership model underpins it. We look forward to continuing to work with Stepping Stone Projects and Ashton Pioneer Homes on future initiatives.”

MP Angela Rayner, who joined the charity and their partners for the opening, said: “It was my absolute pleasure to be at the opening of the villa and I know what a positive difference it will make to so many people in my constituency.

“The partnership working that has made this project possible is really inspiring and will hopefully be replicated many times to help more people get the help they need to get on track to find a permanent home.

“I look forward to seeing how the residents at the villa make the most of their time there as they access the support that will help them turn their lives around.”

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