Reliance Bank and Hurstpierpoint Cottage Trust helped a resident to live a happier, affordable, and fulfilled life in the community
Hurstpierpoint Cottage Trust was originally set up around 1850 by 3 prominent, local philanthropic families, for the purpose of providing housing for the people of Hurstpierpoint and its immediate surrounding area who faced housing and financial difficulties.
These three families were worried about bad living conditions and built 20 cottages, in 2 facing terraces, known as Manor Cottages to provide affordable and well-maintained housing for retired agricultural and trades people, in much the same way as almshouses. The Trust became a limited company in 1902, and charitable status was obtained in 2006.
Tenancies of the Trust’s cottages are granted to applicants registered on a waiting list. When a vacancy occurs, the tenancy is granted to those who are perceived to be in the greatest need. The cottages are let at concessionary rates, currently £50 per week exclusive of Council Tax, water, and sewerage rates. Historically, the profile of the Trust’s Tenants had been largely older people, mostly retired and with some degree of infirmity. Over the years, this has changed and many of the current tenants are younger and struggling with the increasing costs of living, particularly rental levels in the private sector.
The Trust still owns the freehold today. However, one cottage in the original terraces was sold in around 1967, to raise capital to repair and maintain the remaining 19 cottages. In 2021, the Trust was offered the opportunity to buy back the cottage in a private sale.
Reliance Bank provided a term loan to the Trust to reacquire the single cottage. Although the Trust had gradually built-up funds over the years, they needed a loan from a bank to buy the property.
Although the Trust approached the high street banks, many were not interested in lending to a charity. For that reason, one of the Trustees had searched online for “banks’ lending to charities” and Reliance Bank came up on the search! That’s when the Trust began talking to Paul Wedderspoon – Relationship Director for Reliance Bank.
The purchase of the single cottage, which was let in the private sector at the open market rent, enabled the Trust to house the existing retired resident, who was struggling to pay the high rent. When the resident became a tenant of the Trust, at the Trust’s rental level, her outgoings dramatically dropped. This has transformed her life and she is able to make the cottage her home and live a happier, affordable, and fulfilled life in the community.
Andrew Pridell – Chairman of the Hurstpierpoint Cottage Trust commented “Thanks to Paul, it is a great pleasure to have achieved the acquisition of the remaining cottage in Manor Cottages. There was a time when you used to be able to pop in to see your bank manager. So, I was really pleased that whenever I called Paul, he was always available. It was the direct communication that made the loan and purchase of the cottage so easy. The joy was the personal service that Paul provided. Once we started to work with Paul at Reliance Bank, he was more than keen, and the deal came together very quickly. I can’t tell you how easy it was. The joy came when we had completed the purchase of the cottage and I was able to tell the tenant that she could pay a small rent of just £50 per week. She was overwhelmed because this has transformed her life. It reflects the Reliance Bank motto – “WE DON’T LOVE MONEY BUT WE LOVE WHAT MONEY CAN DO”. It has been a real pleasure dealing with Paul.”
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Reliance Bank has been at the forefront of social impact banking since 1890, when we were formed as the bank for The Salvation Army.
As a Bank we’ve supported charities for 132 years and we prioritise business lending to organisations that deliver positive social impact in the UK.