Two new flats, developed from an old church hall, are to be offered for rent to young people in Portland as a response to the shortage of reasonably priced accommodation in the area.
The project has been managed by Rev Tim Gomm, Rector of Portland parish. Last week Bishop Guli Francis-Dehaqani, the Bishop of Chelmsford, who has special responsibility for housing, opened the single-bedroom flats, which will be offered to people in Portland under the age of 25.
Rev Gomm said: “Portland PCC believes that God has called Portland Parish to be of benefit to the community. One issue is that too many young people have to move out of Portland to find affordable accommodation. After I read the Archbishop’s report entitled “Coming Home", I felt that instead of just increasing the income for the parish, by renting these flats out – we would sacrifice some of the income and the use of the church hall and instead we decided to help the young people of Portland by providing good accommodation and keep them on Portland and near family.
“So I raised £82K from various sources – I want to thank the following trusts for their generosity Garfield Weston £10K, Valentine Trust £10K, Dorset Council - Community Housing Fund £40K, Gloucester Diocese £10K, and Portland Parish - £12K. We have just about completed the first flat, with the hope of finishing the second one by the end of October. I would encourage all parishes to look at their plant, and see how it might be used for the benefit of their community – please read the reports as well.”
Bishop Karen also attending the opening. She said: “It is really good to see a local church respond to housing needs. The PCC in developing this asset is displaying good stewardship of its resources in addressing the problem of affordable housing. We hope that this development helps the benefice with some much-needed income while at the same time providing someone with a much-needed home.”