Helmsdale and District Development Trust (HDDT) is the community anchor organisation for Helmsdale and District.
As part of the planning phase, following the introduction of community account management (CAM), the need to build affordable homes was identified as a key priority project by the community. There had been no affordable housing built in Helmsdale for over 34 years, leading to many local families being unable to find housing resulting in out-migration. Similarly, it had restricted in-migration and both factors have added to the fragility of the area and reduced community resilience.
An ideal plot of land owned by the local authority and zoned for housing was identified and following consultation and negotiation, The Highland Council agreed to gift this land to the community for the purpose of affordable housing.
The provision of a Local Development Officer and CAM support has been instrumental in the development of the project.
The project progressed in two phases. Firstly design development, where HDDT were successful in raising the significant funds required, including £9,500 GIA from HIE. In respect of implementation, HDDT raised further significant funds from a wide variety of sources. HIE committed £79,850 as the last brick in the wall to secure the funding required and the first turf was cut on Friday 28th March 2014, by Rob Gibson MSP (photo above).
The first four families moved into their new housing just before Christmas 2014 nine months later. Since then the houses managed by Albyn Housing Society on behalf of HDDT have enjoyed a high level of demand and are providing a valuable source of income to the trust as they look to progress their other projects. The Trust were delighted to receive the Highland Third Sector Community Initiative Award for the housing project.
HDDT are delivering the community aspirations for new affordable housing at their own hand. This will contribute towards population retention and cohesion in a fragile area and further enhance resilience through the community gaining confidence in that they can work to address local needs and aspirations. The following outcomes were achieved:
Allan Tait, Tel. 01847 805 217