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First affordable houses in Helmsdale area in 35 years

Triodos Bank's loan to small housing trust is coming to fruition

21-04-2015 | Helmsdale & District Development Trust (HDDT) has been the first community led development trust to develop affordable housing in the local village for more than 35 years. This week saw the official opening of four new houses in Helmsdale with Minister for Housing and Welfare Margaret Burgess MSP on hand to reveal a commemorative plaque.

This rural housing development sets itself apart from other community led housing developments in that the HDDT itself managed to develop the project without owning any land themselves. 

Mrs Burgess said: "Housing is at the heart of this Government's ambition to create a fairer and more prosperous country. In the Highlands, Helmsdale and District Development Trust and Highland Small Communities Housing Trust are excellent examples of housing development led by the community for the community. It is great to see not just homes being built, but a wider community being invigorated too. We are committed to the provision of affordable housing across Scotland - working flexibly in partnership, and using innovative approaches to maximise investment."

Triodos Bank helped finance the new homes, working with HDDT from an early stage to ensure the scheme's success.


“"Housing is at the heart of this Government's ambition to create a fairer and more prosperous country.”
Scottish Minister for Housing and Welfare Margaret Burgess MSP

Graeme Galloway, Relationship Manager - Social & Cultural Team commented:
"Triodos is delighted to have provided loan finance to Helmsdale & District Development Trust to enable the development of much needed affordable housing within the local area. This project included the support of many organisations and our loan was coupled with grants, enterprise funds and public money. Triodos Bank is always interested in working with small community groups to assist with housing projects, particularly where there is a proven need for modern, affordable housing in the locality."

The aim of HDDT is to establish a regular income for the community through developing commercially successful projects to become self sustaining and benefit the local community. Plans for a local petrol station, wind turbine and harbour upgrade are already underway.

Ronnie MacRae, director of the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust adds: "As we've seen with Helmsdale, who are an inspiration to other communities, the funding from Scottish Government and Triodos Bank has enabled access to affordable housing that they have been desperately in need of. A the same time it has created economic and employment benefits for local companies and contractors."


Notes for editors:
For more information or a tour of the new building please call Faye Holst or Will Ferguson 0117 980 9584 / 9770 or e-mail faye.holst@triodos.co.ukwilliam.ferguson@triodos.co.uk

About Triodos Bank
Triodos Bank only finances loan customers creating social, environmental or cultural added value - ranging from large ethical loan customers to smaller, innovative organisations meeting local needs. Key sectors include organic food and farming, renewable energy, social housing and fair trade. Transparency is a core value: customers are informed about the bank's lending and can target their savings to particular areas of investment. A range of personal savings accounts is offered and full banking services are available for businesses and charities.

About Helmsdale & District Development Trust
Helmsdale & District Development Trust (HDDT) began life some four years ago as a group of local residents united by the ambition to reverse the trend of decline which has been steadily eating away at the resources of this area over the past decades.
As a result of an extensive preliminary consultation carried out among the community, certain priorities were identified, and in order that these might be addressed effectively, the group proceeded to become a legally constituted development trust with charitable status, in 2012.

The business of the Trust is now managed by an elected board of 8 directors, including a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer, all of whom are local residents, and give of their time to the Trust on a voluntary basis.

The day-to-day business of running the office, located in Helmsdale Community Centre, is in the hands of our Local Development Officer (LDO) Paul Harrington, whose post, currently funded by Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE), is essential for realisation of our projects, as most of the directors are in full-time employment.

Success to date includes the completion of the innovative 100% community owned social/affordable housing project, the first in Helmsdale for more than 35 years. Owned by the community for the community.

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