Lord Curry launched our Strategic Rural Housing Scheme (SRHS) in 2002, when we moved from being a grant giving charity to focus on housing.
Our SRHS addresses situations where farmers have to leave their farm, through no fault of their own, and, in doing so, lose their home. In many cases there is no suitable housing available locally. Priority may be given to retiring tenant farmers.
The majority of farmers who come to us for housing are from the tenanted sector. Tenant farmers do not own the land or farmhouse where they live and when they have to leave, as well as losing their job, they will also lose their home.
Despite a lifetime of commitment to agriculture, the days when selling the machinery and livestock owned by a tenant farmer could fund the purchase of a property, have long gone. In this country, house prices have escalated at a greater rate than livestock values and to be able to retire from farming and fund a home to retire into is unachievable for most.
We consider our SRHS a long-term responsibility for properties and, even more crucially, people. It is therefore essential that Addington is sustainable. The rental income from our properties is sufficient to cover the basic administration of the Fund and the costs of maintaining the property portfolio. This allows all donations to be invested in further properties, adding to the asset base of the charity. When a property is no longer required, it will be sold and the money made available for another purchase. Thus every donation received will have a real and lasting effect.
How the Scheme Works
We look at each situation on an individual basis and successful applicants, within certain financial constraints, have choice – choice of location and choice of property. This is after all to be their new home. We work with each family to help them leave their farm with dignity, and our aim is to provide an appropriate home which meets their individual circumstances.
Although our tenancy agreements are Assured Shorthold Tenancies, our view is that the home bought for successful applicants, will be available to them for as long as needed (provided it is well cared for and the rent is paid) – thus giving peace of mind that they have a stable future.
Some families take on their properties on a 100% rental basis; others have some capital and enter into a shared-equity arrangement. This is an excellent way for any savings that may have accrued to be invested in their home (the value of which may go up or down). In the cases of shared equity homes, rent is only payable on the percentage owned by us.
The trustees, staff, volunteers and partner organisations understand that making the decision to leave a business, particularly farming, is possibly the most difficult decision that will ever be taken. There are many aspects: in established families, to be the one to let it all go; the end of personal aspirations; the fear of an unknown future, and the worry about effects on the wider family.
Providing a solution to the lack of housing offers security, stability and a base from which to progress. Everyone involved with the SRHS makes every effort to respect the confidentiality of an applicant. The ultimate aim is to allow those having to leave a farming business to do so with dignity.
If you are not sure whether our SRHS can help you, please either look at our Frequently Asked Questions page, or contact us, either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us and ask for Sue on 01926 620135.
Please also look at our Affordable Rural Housing page for other housing options.