Goscombe Homes: Lead story, July edition: Volunteer newspaper

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Exciting new Social Enterprise for Eastbourne

A local Eastbourne-based company is delivering an initiative which provides stable housing for families at risk of homelessness and provide support across other parts of their lives. Here’s how it all started.

One evening in July 2016, a local businessman was called away from dinner to take an urgent call from a friend asking if he knew of anyone who had a had a property which could be made available to a homeless family.  He didn’t, but he returned to the table determined to help.

A few weeks later, the first community-funded house was purchased and the Goscombe Homes social initiative started to roll. Realising this was just the tip of a massive social issue, Alistair and Ruth Wickens, the husband and wife founders of Goscombe Homes, set out to buy more property. Particularly of interest were homes which were empty or had fallen into disrepair, using the combined financial resources of friends and family who wanted to help but on an individual level lacked the capital to buy a property outright. Four months later, they bought their second property and are currently purchasing two more, which puts them firmly on track to provide homes at affordable rent to 20 displaced or financially-disadvantaged families across Eastbourne within 5 years.

In January 2017, Goscombe Homes partnered with the Eastbourne Networx charity providing access to training, mentoring and social support through the local community – a hugely successful partnership which has already placed 75% of Goscombe Homes tenants in a college-based course.

Eastbourne Volunteers asked Alistair to describe the vision. He explained “the vision is a world where investing in a social enterprise is just as attractive as investing in a conventional business. At that point, it’s possible we could see the release of huge capital resources to relieve elements of social deprivation.” Goscombe Homes has already shown this is possible.  In their first four months, the business secured £450,000 to buy the first two properties. Funders have been impressed by the vision and the speed at which this enterprise has taken off, using phrases such as “truly inspirational” to describe the model and the initial results.

Recent world events have shown there’s a steady increase in the number of people prepared to use their hard-earned cash to the benefit of others who are less fortunate – whether it be building a school in Africa, donating to a disaster relief fund or helping to alleviate poverty on the streets of Eastbourne.

The great thing about the model is that it allows an individual to invest in a business with charitable aspirations at its core, backed by tangible ‘bricks and mortar’ assets to achieve a potential return on their capital at a rate which exceeds the current low returns from traditional savings.

Goscombe Homes are currently in talks to set up a professionally-managed Social Investment Fund to raise a multi-million pound fund to accelerate the scheme in Eastbourne and in two other locations across the UK.

To keep track of Goscombe Homes progress, or simply to find out more, go to www.goscombehomes.com, click on the ‘register’ tab and provide your email address. The team at Goscombe Homes will make sure you are kept up to date! You can also help spread the word by liking their facebook page at https://facebook.com/goscombehomes.

For further information:
phone: 07876 521097
email: info@goscombehomes.com

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