We're a poor estate in a poor city. We try to look after people in the best way we can.
Goodwin Development Trust Chief Executive, Peter McGurn
Fourteen residents from the Thornton Estate in Hull created the Goodwin Development Trust in 1994. They thought their community deserved better and wanted access to services and activities that other communities had. Twenty-five years later and the community-controlled Trust has a wide range of assets and services that are supporting local people and providing fulfilment.
On a mission to build
It was in the early 2000s when Goodwin Development Trust decided that it wanted to do housing. With many local people shut out of traditional housing options and countless empty properties in Hull's city centre, they saw an opportunity. Using funding through the Empty Homes Community Grants Programme (now closed) they were able to renovate and bring 60 properties back into use.
Renovating abandoned homes inspired Goodwin to build new homes to help even more people in the area. In a move that is currently quite unique in the community housing world, they decided to become a Registered Provider meaning they could access funding from the then Homes and Communities Agency (now Homes England) and also manage the homes themselves. Given their history of doing things for themselves, bringing in a housing association to manage the low-cost homes just didn't feel right.
To get funding Goodwin was also required to join an Investment Consortium to be able to qualify as an Investment Partner. And so they joined the Accent Group Consortium, led by Accent Housing which comprises of 12 other Registered Providers. It was much easier to join the Consortium rather than applying for Investment Partner status in their own right. This is quite common with smaller housing providers and is where the Consortium applies for funding on behalf of its members and then passes the money to the organisation.
All this hard work, and much more besides, led to the construction of five modular built 3-bed family homes in 2016. Built to Passivhaus standards, these striking prefabricated homes demonstrate that affordable homes don't mean generic and poor quality design.
The development is Hull's first code-5 social housing development and has innovative features such as a communal rainwater harvesting tank and water recycling system that collects bath and shower water that is filtered for toilets and washing machines.
Goodwin is now working on its next housing development using the same modular construction. This time they'll be building 40 homes and have got the backing and additional investment from Hull City Council. The council see the scheme as a highly beneficial project for local people, an opportunity for Hull to get further Government investment that would otherwise go to another area and a project that will strengthen Goodwin's position as a housing provider.