23 JAN 2014

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Chapter 1, is celebrating their first Empty Home to be brought back into use under the scheme launched last year in partnership with Cornwall Council. 

The cottage in Roche had been standing empty for a year before the landlord decided to link with Chapter 1 under its Empty Homes programme following referral by the Council’s Empty Homes Team. Chapter 1 provides capital to improve the property, in return for which the landlord leases the property to the charity for a minimum five year period. 

The property had a complete refurbishment including re-wiring, re-plumbing, a new kitchen, bathroom and heating system, structural work and redecoration. The process to bring it back into use took eleven months from initial liaison with the Council and subsequent discussions through to completion. The work has been carried out by local contractors, Paul Brannan & Son. 

Chapter 1's Chief Executive, Geoff Hawkins, said: 'We are delighted that we are being handed the keys to our first empty home. This is not just a first for Cornwall; it's a first for our Empty Homes schemes across the country. 

'Getting an empty property up to a standard where people can move in requires a lot of hard work and co-operation between many different people, including support and financial assistance from the Cuncil. Seeing the transformation here shows the difference we can make by working together. Our investment is starting to pay of as we are now able to offer a new home to a local family who need it.'

 'At Chapter 1 we believe in changing lives one by one. For many people the turning point is having a home to call their own. Every home we make available will make life better for someone here in Cornwall.' 

Cornwall Councillor Geoff Brown, Cabinet member responsible for Housing and Communities, said: ‘Cornwall is leading the way in bringing empty properties back into use. With our support, Chapter 1’s initiative is helping to provide much needed homes for local people, while dealing with the problem of derelict properties across the county. We look forward to continuing to work together, and to celebrating the renovation and occupation of many more homes over future years.’

 A family of four will be the first to benefit when they move into the house in the next week.  

By March 2015 Chapter 1 plans to invest over £6 million in Empty Homes schemes largely in the South West including Gloucester, Torbay and Plymouth. By the end of 2015 200 properties will be brought back into use, creating homes for around 700 people. 58 of these homes will be in Cornwall.