Hachette and BTBS to tackle 'prohibitively expensive' London accommodation

Hachette and BTBS to tackle 'prohibitively expensive' London accommodation

Hachette UK is partnering with The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) to offer subsidised accommodation in London to people starting out on careers in publishing. The offer, part of its diversity and inclusion initiative Changing the Story launched last year, is geared towards to helping those for whom living in the capital is "prohibitively expensive".

The scheme for subsidised accomodation will be open to successful applicants for its BAME trainee programme, the first intake for which begin their 12-month paid internship in September, as well as to others starting out on their careers "on a needs basis", according to Hachette.

In January, Hachette made a donation to BTBS in memory of Carole Blake, a past president and supporter of the charity. This donation will help fund the complete refurbishment of one of the four blocks of The Bookbinders’ Cottages in Barnet about to be undertaken by BTBS. Work is due to start on the properties at the beginning of next month and will be completed in September when the first five trainees will begin their year with Hachette. In addition to being paid entry-level salaries, the trainees will be offered subsidised accommodation in the London flats for a six-month fixed period. 

David Shelley, chair of Changing the Story, commented: "I am so thrilled that Hachette and BTBS are working in partnership on this project. The cost of accommodation in London can be such a barrier to entry to our industry, and I hope this will help some talented people get a start in publishing who would otherwise not have been able to do so."

David Hicks, of BTBS, said: "This is a very exciting time for The Book Trade Charity. We have long been conscious that we need to do more to support younger people entering the trade. Over the last two years we have launched two initiatives, helping to fund interns on work placement, and a wide-ranging scheme to cover a variety of costs young people have in finding employment. Our partnership with Hachette builds on this to address the fundamental issue of affordable housing, and with the resources of Bookbinders Charitable Society, following the merger last October, this support can now become a reality."

Also tackling the problem of extortionate London rents for those entering the profession from outside of London is a pilot scheme, supported by The Publishers Association, called the Spare Room Project. It works by matching aspiring publishers from outside of London needing somewhere to stay during an internship or work experience placement with publishing employees in the capital. The first to benefit from the scheme will be Publishing MA students at the University of Derby on work experience this summer.