Thousands of young homeless people in London are to continue to benefit from a new state-of-the-art home following a seven-figure funding package from Unity Trust Bank.
YMCA London City and North opened LandAid House, an ambitious 146-bed development in Errol Street, two years ago. With the new building complete, transitioning from development funding to a long-term financial product was the final step required to complete the project.
Thanks to Unity’s expertise and understanding of third sector organisations, a long-term debt solution was created which included a remortgage for the new premises and additional working capital for further housing programmes.
Chris East, Director of Community and Enterprise at YMCA London City and North, said: “LandAid House was a £19.4m project started 14 years ago because the old building was no longer suitable for vulnerable young people. We created new ensuite bedrooms with lounges, kitchens and laundry facilities and it’s now a place where young people can get back their dignity and self-respect and experience being truly independent.
“LandAid House will impact over 10,000 young people over its lifetime, so it was important that we found the right financial partner. The way this deal was structured secures LandAid House and gives us flexibility for the future and that’s a great place for us to be in.
“Unity’s relationship manager Paul Kelly demonstrated a great ability to understand us as a client and a charity and to come up with a solution that met our financial needs and helped drive our vision for growth.“
YMCA London City and North serves seven of the capital’s boroughs with a combined population of 600,000. With pockets of affluent and deprived areas, the charity manages five sites which provide up to 400 bed spaces for young people.
Each person referred to the YMCA is assigned a case worker and life skills coaching along with training and education to help them find employment.
Paul Kelly, Relationship Manager at Unity Trust Bank, said: “The YMCA gives vulnerable and traumatised young people a safe place to live and the chance to rebuild their lives.
“Being a Londoner myself, it was particularly rewarding to partner with an organisation that helps so many young people in the capital.
“Unity’s mission is to do good through finance, and we are proud to work with organisations whose values are aligned with our own.”
Gillian Bowen, Chief Executive YMCA London City and North, said: “The values of Unity resonate with our cause. They have been a consistent, understanding and an efficient partner, providing us with a flexible financial product that allows us to stay focused on our objectives to make life better for young people experiencing homelessness.”
Paul Thornhill, Director of Thornhill Capital Ltd which introduced YMCA to Unity, said: “It has been a pleasure working with Paul Kelly and Unity. Paul did a wonderful job and developed a strong rapport with YMCA’s Board and Executive team.
“Unity has provided a loan facility with very competitive terms which satisfies the requirements of YMCA London City and North. This is excellent news for all parties involved with this deal.”