Seven-figure loan for new phase of social housing scheme

Leeds-based Canopy Housing is preparing to add five new properties to its portfolio, after securing a loan worth £1.15m from Unity Trust Bank.

This funding package will enable Canopy Housing to move closer towards its aim of purchasing 15 new homes for residency over the next three years.

The not-for-profit social housing organisation was founded in 1998 to tackle homelessness and unemployment across the Leeds region, whilst improving local communities.

Through the renovation of empty properties it provides safe and affordable residential options for vulnerable people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

Having a long-standing relationship with Canopy Housing since 2014, Unity Trust Bank has previously provided several funding packages amounting to a total of £380,000.

Its latest loan, together with capital grant funding from Leeds City Council and Land Aid, enables the organisation to buy five two and three-bedroom properties which, when renovated, will house up to ten participants currently on the waiting list with Canopy Housing.

Since 2007, Canopy Housing has doubled the size of its portfolio to 74 properties.

Michael Wicks, relationship manager at Unity Trust Bank, said: “Leeds City Council reported a 367% rise in the number of rough sleepers in the city from 2010 – 2017, highlighting the increased importance of the valuable work being undertaken by charities such as Canopy Housing.

“The funding to aid this new phase of development is a representation of the commitment Unity Trust Bank has made to supporting businesses which improve the quality of life of individuals and communities.

“Canopy Housing’s own values are strongly aligned with our ethos of helping to create a better society, and we look forward to continuing our work to build upon what I am sure will be a long and meaningful relationship.”

David Nugent, director of Canopy Housing since 2017, said: “The support from Unity Trust Bank will have a positive impact on our ongoing growth, helping us to continue to change the lives of vulnerable people.

“As well as the financial backing from Unity Trust Bank, we have appreciated the wider business advice and support received throughout the process from Michael Wicks, our relationship manager at Unity.

“Thanks to this loan, we’ve been able to accelerate significantly our housing development programme, increase our staff and activities in the Leeds area, and positively engage as well as support more local people into training and jobs.

“We now have a solid source of external funding which will help us over the next three years, to develop social housing properties in the Harehills, Richmond Hill and Burmantofts area of Leeds.

“In the longer-term, we would also like to identify and acquire a bigger office building in Harehills, which will help us further focus our efforts in and around Leeds.”