Council Leader marks opening of YMCA Exeter’s unique studio homes

Homes England & Exeter City Council made significant investment into the development as well as donations from many charitable trusts & local supportive individuals & businesses. Each studio will provide a young person with a longer term, affordable home.

Exeter City Council Leader Phil Bialyk has taken part in a ceremony to formally open YMCA Exeter’s brand new Sidwell Studios.

It marked the unveiling of a joint venture to tackle Exeter’s one-bed housing shortage by converting a city centre warehouse into 26 self-contained studio apartments.

Each studio will provide a young person with a longer term, affordable home and support where needed. 

YMCA Exeter completed the development thanks to the significant investment from both Homes England and Exeter City Council, as well as donations from many charitable trusts and local supportive individuals and businesses.

Cllr Bialyk said: “I was delighted to attend the formal opening and cut the ribbon at the new Sidwell Studios housing development led by the YMCA. This former warehouse has been converted into 26 new homes for young people who are ready to move out of supported accommodation.

“The self-contained studio flats are a fantastic and much-needed facility in the city centre, and I was delighted to be given the opportunity to have a look around.”

Gareth Sorsby, YMCA Exeter Joint CEO said: “We are delighted to see our vision to transform this abandoned warehouse into affordable housing become a reality. These new homes will make an incredible difference to young people who have come through supported accommodation and who will finally be able to afford to move into a suitable self-contained home, in the heart of Exeter.”

The unique housing initiative is based on a model that will help young people to feel embedded in their community, but also be financially safe for them.

The new development sits adjacent to St Sidwell’s Community Centre, providing the opportunity for residents to access vocational skills workshops and a community allotment.

For many young people, the risk of losing work makes it difficult for them to find and maintain rented accommodation. In the new Sidwell Studios, YMCA Exeter tenancy workers will provide early intervention if any tenant starts to struggle to get the tenancy back on track. 

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