The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) has completed its Whetstone affordable housing development in “an enormous step forward” for the organisation.
Applications for the range of studio apartments, one-bed flats and two-bed flats in north London are now open, particularly for young people wishing to enter the industry as new entrants, apprentices, on long-term internships, or currently in their first roles.
The development, designed to help with a lack of affordable housing in the capital, is based on a pilot project in 2016/17 which followed the merger of BTBS and Bookbinders Charitable Society and brought an additional 22 flats to the charity.
Ten of these were vacant, so BTBS initiated a £300,000 improvement scheme, upgrading six to offer affordable bedsit accommodation to young people, particularly from diverse backgrounds and those geographically distant from the south east.
The rapid take-up of this accommodation led the charity to invest a further £3m in developing the concept. In October 2019, two blocks of flats unsuitable for renovation were demolished, and completion of the 16-month development now provides an additional 17 units.
Those vacancies will now be let at rents around 40% cheaper than equivalent accommodation in the area. Funding came from charitable reserves, an ongoing fundraising campaign which amassed £365,000, and a bank loan facility.
Charity chairman David Hicks said: “The completion of this project is an enormous step forward for the Book Trade Charity, and I am delighted to see it completed before I retire at the end of March. Being able to offer affordable housing for young people, from a wide variety of backgrounds, to enable them to take up opportunities for employment and internships which might otherwise not be possible, fills us all with a great sense of pride and achievement. We are delighted to be able to offer support to the industry’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity.”
Rents, which include utilities, are £407 per month for bedsits, £585 for studio flats, £780 for unfurnished one-bed flats and £481 per person for unfurnished two-beds.
Application forms can be downloaded from the charity website. To discuss eligibility or for further details, phone 01923 263128.