It is widely acknowledged that suitable housing is an essential ingredient for a healthy life. Justlife is working not only to assist people in accessing hostel or supported accommodation but also in engaging in the creation of high quality affordable homes for people to move into when they are in housing need.
Working with Manchester City Council, Intentionality and Morgan North Properties Justlife are leading a bid to the government Empty Homes scheme to acquire and restore 12 houses across east Manchester. The scheme involves Justlife taking over properties which have been empty for 2 or more years, many of them in a derelict state and restoring them to a ‘decent homes’ standard, the accommodation units will then be tenanted by Juslife service users who are in need and will benefit from the improved accommodation. We are awaiting a decision on the funding in June 2012 and plan to commence the three year program of works in the autumn. The development of this small property portfolio will generate income to provide ongoing support to residents for many years to come.
Where we started
Gransmoor Avenue was once a most prestigious place to live. Its two opposite rows of large Victorian terraces and gated entry disclose the grandeur that was once here. Recent years have told a different story for Gransmoor. Since the conversion of some of the houses into flats and bed-sits it has become home to the homeless, breadline poor, drug users and criminal fraternity. The properties on Gransmoor Avenue are described as a ‘key areas of concern’ in a report published in 2006 regarding the regeneration of the Toxteth Street neighbourhood.
Gransmoor has become something of a conundrum in the in the regeneration process as the surrounding streets and houses are benefitting from a substantial regeneration programme while Gransmoor remains untouched. Councillor Neil Swanick says ‘there a have been several ideas proposed but none of them have stacked up.’
Gransmoor according to Shaun Williams of the Heritage Group:
‘Yes after a deeper look into this…..the buildings represent good examples of Victorian/Edwardian brick and stone structures…that are not only important in terms of East Manchester’s heritage but also in terms of National heritage. The venue could easily support a training and restoration project that would benefit local people and people and provide an asset under completion. Each stage of development and restoration would benefit different groups in and around the community.’ Shawn Williamson FRSA
Seeing the Vision
Justlife recognises that the much maligned residents of Gransmoor are indeed vulnerable and oppressed members of our community who deserve help with problems and hope for the future. This is why we are commited to providing services where residents are able to access information and support in resolving problems whether they be social, physical, emotional, spiritual or health related.
These buildings are incredible structures which we believe deserve better treatment than they currently get. Working with a wide variety of partners including the City Council we are trying to imagine a different future for this street or at least the parts of it which lay empty at the moment. These houses could provide large family accommodation which is in great demand in this community. This street was recently described as the worst place to live in Manchester and we would love to see its reputation restored as it becomes desireably once more.