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Mencap and GLH shortlisted with Land Securities for Business Impact Challenge

18/06/2015

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Aims to launch the first ‘social’ Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in the UK, allowing investors to achieve an attractive return while helping create the accommodation needed by people with a learning disability.

The learning disability charity, Mencap, and its housing arm, Golden Lane Housing (GLH) have today been shortlisted with their official corporate partner, Land Securities, for Big Society Capital’s Business Impact Challenge. It is one of five innovative partnerships between corporate and charities or social enterprises selected.

The prize was established to catalyse private sector social investment in the UK and develop a high-impact investment to generate strong business and social value. The Mencap, GLH and Land Securities entry aims to launch the first ‘social’ Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to be listed in the UK. The winning partnership will raise £5 million to £15 million of investment which will be matched by Big Society Capital, who will also provide support.

Only 16% of people with a learning disability live in supported housing in the community. The REIT will enable investors to achieve an attractive return and provide the capital for desperately needed housing across the country for hundreds of people with a learning disability.

Anna Chapman, Head of Sustainability (Society & Economy) at Land Securities said:

“We are excited to be working with our official charity partner Mencap and Golden Lane Housing on this initiative, and to have made it to the shortlist of the Business Impact Challenge together is brilliant. The skills we bring to the partnership complement the work of Mencap and GLH. Our expertise will be valuable, enabling them to establish a successful REIT proposition that, in the long term, will mean many people with a learning disability are able to live in the accommodation they want.”

Alastair Graham, Director of Golden Lane Housing, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that we have been shortlisted for this award. This means there is real hope for many people with a learning disability who are currently in inadequate housing, whether that’s in remote long stay institutions or with relatives who can no longer cope. It follows the great work by GLH in securing social investment through two successful bond issues. These have allowed us to buy high quality houses and bungalows in supported, community settings across the country for people with a learning disability.”

GLH has already raised millions through pioneering charity bonds which has helped hundreds of people with a learning disability into accommodation that better suits their needs. Such as friends Vicky, David, John and Susan who were living in properties in Grimsby that were not appropriate to their needs but with the support of GLH were able to move to a specially adapted bungalow supported by Mencap.

Steven and June Ellis, Vicky’s parents explain their daughter’s experience of moving into her home purchased by Golden Lane Housing:

“The beauty of Golden Lane Housing is they took on all our concerns about Vicky and her bedroom. They agreed to convert the garage into her front bedroom. The day they told us we were beaming. Vicky is happy, settled, and safe and has got a secured future. Mencap have been brilliant, they go over and above. We couldn’t ask for more.”

The shortlist was chosen by an expert panel and assessed on the basis of social impact, business model and delivery. The panel was chaired by Lord Davies of Abersoch (former Chairman of Standard Chartered and Minister of State for Trade and Investment) and comprises internet entrepreneur Baroness Lane Fox, The Economist journalist Matthew Bishop, Harvey McGrath (former Chairman of Prudential plc and Man Group plc), Ian Davis (former Managing Director of McKinsey & Co), Karen Lynch (social entrepreneur CEO of Belu Water) and Nick O’Donohoe (Chief Executive of Big Society Capital).

Each of the shortlisted candidates will now work with Big Society Capital over the summer to develop their ideas before making a final pitch to the panel in October.

The winner of the Business Impact Challenge will be announced in Autumn 2015. For more information, visit their website.