6 September 2019

Onward Homes with Housing People Building Communities (HPBC) and partners were the winners of the Best Partnership award at the National Housing Awards 2019 for their scheme St Bernard's.

St Bernard’s, Liverpool, is a unique project which has united a wide range of partners to transform a derelict church into 16 homes for affordable home ownership. Onward Homes worked with housing charity Housing People, Building Communities (HPBC) and partners to deliver the project after the church was gifted by the diocese.

The scheme used sweat equity – an innovative approach to helping people get on the property ladder. The initiative enables potential homeowners to reduce their deposit by £10,000 by giving 500 hours of work to the development. This could range from manual labour to offering a particular skill or talent. As a result, the church has been sensitively converted into 11 three-storey three-bedroom homes and four new-build two-bedroom apartments and a three-bedroom house have been developed within the grounds. All the homes have been bought on a shared ownership scheme which combined with the sweat equity model has boosted affordable housing options for the area.

Judges' comments

This is fabulous! Preservation of landmark, creation of homes, and the community at the heart of it. We love this entry.

It's small scale, for sure but the sweat equity is a fantastic opportunity. Ideal for people who are prepared to put in the effort, but can't always put in the money. And so many partners, all working to one common goal. For us, this is really the benchmark in partnership working with everyone having one inspired vision.

This is the very essence of what affordable homes should be about: creating community based areas that provide safe and lovely homes for people to live in not invest in. The fact that this has been achieved in one of the poorest areas of the UK has much to teach all of us.

Category sponsor

Winner: Onward Homes with Housing People Building Communities (HPBC) and partners

Onward Homes is a leading provider of quality, affordable homes for rent and sale in the North West. They own and manage over 35,000 homes right across the region. They believe that everyone deserves a place to call their own, which is why we’re committed to building more new homes throughout the North West for those in housing need.

Housing People, Building Communities (HPBC) is a not-for-profit charitable organisation that is changing people’s lives as well as helping to address the UK’s housing crisis by combining self-build, volunteering and philanthropy in a unique way. Its home partners help to build the homes they will ultimately live in, working alongside volunteers from all over the world and using products, services and materials donated by some of the biggest corporate names. Onward and HPBC have worked together on the St Bernard’s Church Project alongside several delivery partners.

Best Partnership 2019: St Bernard's