We had some great news last week, our application to Leeds City Council’s Transition Fund was successful – which means we have £10,000 to help us to develop Leeds Empties further over the next few months.
We were initially looking for £50,000, from a range of sources – to develop Leeds Empties. We knew that was always going to be tough, but there’s nothing wrong with thinking big is there? So £10,000 means that – as we have done so far – we’ll be developing things on a shoestring budget. But we’re confident we can make some real progress by next April.
So what will we get up to over the next few months? Basically, we are looking to try out a range of ways in which we can help more people to bring more empty homes back into use in Leeds. To give you an idea, here are a few of the things we’ll be focusing on:
Empty Homes Doctor
Homes become empty for a number of reasons – no matter what your particular circumstances might be. It could be that you require support in order to access finance or finding people to do work on your home. It could even be that you need assistance to find an estate or letting agent with a good track record in your Leeds area. No matter what the reason may be, we will do our best to help you sell your empty home. We’re aiming to work intensively with at least 15 empty homeowners over the next 3 or 4 months, to help them to bring their homes back into use. Who they are, and exactly how we’ll help, we don’t know yet.
Support new and existing self-help and social ventures
We’re lucky that we’ve got some great social enterprises working on empty homes in Leeds. People like Canopy, LATCH and Gipsil. We want to do what we can to help them do more of what they do.
Attract funding and investment into empty homes in Leeds
We’ll do what we can to attract more money into Leeds. We’re talking to a range of social investors and funders – people we know who are on the look-out for enterprising approaches to solving this big social problem. Read our story so far to learn more.
Engage more people in bringing empty homes back into use in Leeds
One of our big successes with the Call To Action was that we attracted a wide range of people to the event – including more than 20 local businesses who pledged money, skills (such as re-upholstery services) and time to bringing more empties back into use.
Converting Properties from Commercial to Residential
One of our most recent campaigns is supporting empty property owners with converting their property from commercial to residential. Despite the fact that there is a huger housing shortage in the UK, there is an excess of empty properties, both domestic and commercial. For the owners of commercial buildings that are no longer in use, it may be better and more profitable to convert your property to a residential building. Naturally, this is a large project that requires time, money and expertise, which you may not have. Leeds Empties are now contributing to the conversion of commercial properties to residential.