Launchpad, a charity which aims to prevent homelessness in Reading, has officially opened five brand new flats to provide long-term, affordable housing in the town.
The one-bed flats were opened by the Mayor of Reading, Councillor Debs Edwards and Councillor Rachel Eden during a ceremony last week and will be made available for people with a housing need.
Launchpad, which is based in Merchants Place, already provides temporary housing and support for 100 people in Reading, but this is the first time the charity has purchased land and built its own accommodation for people to rent on a long-term basis.
Ian Caren, Launchpad’s Chief Executive, said:
“The main driver behind this move is the paucity of long-term, affordable housing in Reading. At Launchpad we help people who are at risk of becoming homeless, support them in getting back on their feet and ultimately move into their own accommodation. But in Reading, there is such a short supply of suitable homes. These flats will give five people a chance to have their own home where they can feel safe and secure. A right everybody deserves.
“We have worked closely with local architect Chris Weston over the past year to design the flats to ensure they not only complement the local community but give the future residents a home to be proud of. We ourselves are immensely proud of what we have achieved and would never have done it without the support of the Reading community.”
Each flat is part furnished and consists of a bedroom, bathroom, open plan sitting room, kitchen and dining area. The flats have solar panels, triple glazing and are fitted with a smart energy system which will automatically turn the heating off if a window is opened. The flats also have Wi-Fi, a bike shed and are situated in West Reading; a 15-minute walk from the town centre.
Funds to help build the flats were raised by major donors, donations from trusts and members of the Reading community. Haslams Estate Agent held a Charity Gala Ball last year raising a magnificent £100,000, while one couple, who wish to remain anonymous, donated a staggering £125,000.
Ian continued: “We feel so humbled by the generosity and devotion we see from our supporters every day. Without them, we would have nothing. From items such as a buggy donated recently which has made such a difference to a mother and her young child, to our fundraisers, donors and volunteers, we are extremely grateful.
“This is our very first building project and we hope it to be the first of many. Over the next five years, we will be looking for further viable opportunities to purchase land in order to build homes, particularly for families who are in desperate need of long-term accommodation.”