Fold investment a vital step towards meeting housing need

A £40 million investment by Fold Housing Association will see 400 new homes scheduled to begin in 10 locations across Northern Ireland by March 2017.

Celebrating its 40th year as a social enterprise, Fold announced that it will invest £40 million in 2016 and provide over 500 construction jobs in a move which will represent an investment in the wider economy of £115 million.

This year, Fold has over 800 homes under construction throughout Northern Ireland.

Work has already started on several significant developments, including the former Visteon site in West Belfast. The £25 million project will see the construction of 244 new private and social homes, set amidst extensive open space. It represents an overall investment of £70 million in the wider economy and will allow for the creation of up to 600 jobs on space designated for business use.

Anita Conway, Director of Development for Fold Housing Association, said: “As we celebrate our 40th year, we are taking the opportunity not only to look back at our achievements and those of our founders, but equally so, to look ahead to a very bright and positive future. We are very proud of our strong links with the community and generations of residents, tenants and service users who have put their trust in us.

“Our investment is centred on Fold’s core purpose to build communities and provide homes for singles, for families and for people with complex needs. Our homes provide comfort and security in locations close to schools and places of worship, shops and open spaces. We pride ourselves on delivering high quality, energy efficient homes in the heart of the community.”

Fold Housing Association and Helm are currently working towards a merger in 2017 with the intention of enhancing their services to all customers and increasing the supply of new quality homes.

Conway continued: “The last few years have forced us, and indeed the whole construction industry, to look outside the box in order to react to procurement challenges. As a housing association we have found it harder to acquire new sites in the face of a rising market. Unfortunately, this is coinciding with a time when demand for social housing is increasing across Northern Ireland. In order to address this potential problem and continue to meet growing demand we looked into pioneering a ‘Competitive Land, Design and Build’ initiative, which would give local builders the opportunity to get involved in housing projects from the very beginning.

“We were the first social housing organisation to trial a scheme of this nature in Ireland with a 41 unit development on Ravenhill Avenue in Belfast, working in partnership with private developer, Kevin Watson Construction. We were able to revitalise and regenerate a derelict site and provide new family homes, following an investment of over £4.5 million. Since this pilot project we have successfully negotiated a further four design and build projects, which will deliver 197 new homes, representing an investment of over £20 million.”

“Our plans for 2016 are a vital step towards meeting housing need and we have further exciting goals for over £200 million of investment in social housing over the next five years and within the new Programme for Government.”

Contact: To find out more visit www.foldgroup.co.uk or call us on 028 9042 8314

 

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