Groundbreaking housing project from Cornerstone Place funded by SASC named ‘Social Investment Deal of the year’ at UK Social Enterprise Awards

A groundbreaking project from social housing company, Cornerstone Place, funded by Social and Sustainable Capital, has been recognised for its innovative approach to tackling homelessness in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, at the prestigious UK Social Enterprise Awards 2023.

Cornerstone Place’s pioneering Whitworth Road housing development secured the coveted “Social Enterprise Investment Deal of the Year” award, sponsored by Big Society Capital.

Rochdale faces a critical need for stable and affordable housing to help those who are homeless or at risk. The Whitworth Road project directly addresses this challenge by building 14 self-contained homes specifically designed for individuals in these situations.

Built with sustainability and energy efficiency in mind, the homes use modern construction methods championed by builders Agile Property & Homes, such as modular construction and renewable materials. This approach significantly reduces residents’ energy costs and carbon footprint while providing safe and secure shelter.

Rochdale Borough Council provided unwavering support and crucial investment for the project, while SASC’s £844k loan played a key role in making the project financially viable. Additionally, Stepping Stone Projects, a local homelessness charity, will manage the units and offer comprehensive support services to residents, ensuring a holistic approach to tackling homelessness challenges.

‘The real relevance of the award is not the focus on us, but the fact that we have developed a realistic scalable model that directly addresses the significant social housing challenge we face in the UK at the moment, with a major focus on easing the burden local authorities face’ says Richard Kennedy, Co-founder of Cornerstone Place, ‘The model created can be replicated to build necessary housing without the need for major public finance.’

Mark Bickford, CEO of SASC: ” SASC is delighted to have funded this award-winning project – The Whitworth Road project highlights the strength of collaboration and commitment. By combining Cornerstone Place’s expertise with Rochdale’s dedication and our financial support, we hope to create lasting positive change for vulnerable individuals. The modular homes, coupled with the support from the charity, will provide a ‘stepping stone’ on the pathway to independence for care leavers, people who are homeless and those at risk of losing their homes.”

Peter Holbrook, CBE, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: ‘The last year has been a difficult one for businesses across the UK, and it has been no different for social enterprises. The Awards were a real evening of hope and inspiration and brought home the sheer ingenuity, adaptability, and determination of the social enterprise community, which has continued to deliver for the people and communities they work with and support.

The winners include businesses which are breaking down barriers for groups marginalised in the workforce, organisations at the heart of local economies, and those finding innovative ways to tackle the climate crisis. The ever-growing movement of social enterprise truly represents business at its best.’

The Whitworth Road project stands as a concrete example of how innovative solutions and dedicated partnerships can tackle complex social issues. By providing safe, sustainable housing and holistic support, it paves the way for a brighter future for vulnerable individuals and communities, not just in Rochdale, but potentially beyond.