GLH openingMencap’s housing service, Golden Lane Housing (GLH), recently celebrated tenants moving into the final property bought with the £10 million charity bond it raised last year.

With the proceeds from the bond, GLH has bought 27 properties providing independent living opportunities for 99 people with a learning disability.

The GLH Bond was the UK’s largest ever charity bond issue of its kind. It was oversubscribed by people wanting to invest in a bond that gives a social as well as financial return.

GLH decided to raise the bond after Mencap research found that only 16% of people with a learning disability live in supported housing in the community and 8 in 10 councils report a housing shortage for adults with a learning disability.

This bond issue was the first step in raising up to £30 million pounds over the next few years, which will allow investors to give 250 people with a learning disability the chance to live independently and take control of their own lives.

The four tenants – James, Bryan, Danny and Ryan – moved in to their brand new five-bed property in Buckinghamshire on June 2. They previously lived in a Mencap residential care home at Lee Road. The property has room for five tenants and one sleep-in support worker, with all bedrooms having en-suite bathrooms. Buckinghamshire County Council provided support with the design of the accommodation, and it has entered into a nomination agreement to ensure that the service is fully occupied.

“I will miss Lee Road but I think I am going to like it at my new house,” said Danny. “My room is much bigger and I am glad I have my own en-suite and that I got to choose the colour – it’s yellow. The house is so big that I will be able to have my friends round. I was worried that my support staff would not support me anymore, but they are coming with me, so it is great!”

Alastair Graham, director of Golden Lane Housing, said: “We are delighted to welcome the new tenants of our final home purchased through the 2013 Bond. Thanks to all the people who invested in the bond making this possible and to Buckinghamshire County Council. Also a massive thanks to the dedicated staff of GLH and Mencap and our contractors – the transformation is amazing, they have done a fantastic job. Most of all thanks to our tenants!”