Housing for the young and vulnerable secured with Council grant

02 Feb 2018

Cllr James Waters, Leader of Forest Heath, Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, Cabinet Member for Housing, Rev John Hardy, chairman of Newmarket Open Door, David Jervis from Suffolk Housing and John Durrant, General Manager for Open Door, along with staff

The future of supported temporary housing for homeless and vulnerable young people in Newmarket, has been secured.

Forest Heath District Council has given £50,000 to Newmarket Open Door to enable the charity to complete the purchase of Portland House in Newmarket High Street.

Portland House is one of four properties in Newmarket run by the charity, which provide supported temporary housing for young people aged 16-24. The average length of stay for the residents is a year and a half.

Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, Forest Heath’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We have a strong working relationship with the charity Newmarket Open Door, and we are pleased to be able to support them in the purchase of this property. This investment not only secures the future of this type of supported housing which is vital, but also means that Forest Heath can ensure that young people from the district can continue to get the help that they require at this time in their lives.”

Newmarket Open Door also gives young people the opportunity to develop skills to enable future independent living, including tenancy management, employment and training opportunities as well as working with them to address any issues in their health and wellbeing.

Cllr Robin Millar, Forest Heath’s Cabinet Member for Families and Communities said: “This is such an important project aimed at helping some of the most vulnerable in our community at a critical time in their lives when they need support. Forest Heath has supported the development of this much needed service over the last 18 years and I am glad that we will continue to work with Newmarket Open Door to help shape this going forward.”

John Durrant, General Manager for Open Door, said: “I am delighted that Forest Heath has continued to invest in our charity and secure the future of Portland House. Thanks also go to Lloyds Bank for their assistance with the financial package and Suffolk Housing, who have supported the charity for close on twenty years. Our next stage is to provide a further three rooms through internal alterations and a purpose built rear ground-floor extension to enhance the social, training and welfare facilities for our residents. Local businesses, churches and private individuals have already donated to the Portland House Appeal and we would be pleased to hear from others who may be able to help.”

Newmarket Open Door previously rented Portland House from Suffolk Housing, which offered the charity first refusal after a decision was taken to sell the property.

Justin O’Connor, Operations Director with Suffolk Housing, said: “We have worked closely with Newmarket Open Door over the past 12 months to secure this deal, and were delighted to be able to offer the charity first refusal so that it can continue its good work at Portland House.

“Income from the sale will be re-invested in maintaining and improving our existing properties for the benefit of local people, and will also contribute to building vital new homes for those in housing need.”

Newmarket Open Door provides supported accommodation for twenty-four young people, two charity stores and training centres, a food bank and the local community recycling centre.

Individuals, businesses and organisations wishing to back the Portland House Appeal or find out more about how they can help should contact Newmarket Open Door on 01638 563203 or email Portland.house@ntlworld.com

For more on Newmarket Open Door visit www.newmarketopendoor.org

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