Charity able to buy premises thanks to district council grant

Portland House. Councillors and Open Door staff

Portland House. Councillors and Open Door staff - Credit: Archant

A homelessness charity has been able to purchase a property with the help of a grant from Forest Heath District council.

Newmarket Open Door, that provides supported accommodation for twenty-four young people, was given £50,000 to buy Portland House in Newmarket High Stree.

They were previously renting from Suffolk Housing, who decided to sell the property but give the charity first refusal to buy.

Portland House is one of four properties in Newmarket run by the charity, and the average length of stay for the residents is a year and a half.

As well as providing accomodation, Newmarket Open Door also works to give young people the opportunity to develop skills to enable future independent living.

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The teach their supported young people about tenancy management and can help them with employment and training opportunities as well as addressing any issues in their health and wellbeing.

John Durrant, general manager at Open Door, said: “I am delighted that Forest Heath has continued to invest in our charity and secure the future of Portland House. Thanks also go to Lloyds Bank for their assistance with the financial package and Suffolk Housing, who have supported the charity for close on twenty years. Our next stage is to provide a further three rooms through internal alterations and a purpose built rear ground-floor extension to enhance the social, training and welfare facilities for our residents. Local businesses, churches and private individuals have already donated to the Portland House Appeal and we would be pleased to hear from others who may be able to help.”

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Suffolk Housing offered the charity first refusal after a decision was taken to sell the property.

Suffolk Housing say income from the sale will be re-invested in maintaining and improving their existing properties.

Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, Forest Heath’s member for housing, said: “We are pleased to be able to support them in the purchase of this property. This investment not only secures the future of this type of supported housing which is vital, but also means that Forest Heath can ensure that young people from the district can continue to get the help that they require at this time in their lives.”

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