People with learning disabilities in Suffolk will have the opportunity to buy their own home thanks to a new shared ownership scheme.

The shared ownership mortgage is part of the Suffolk HOLD (Home Ownership for Long term Disabilities) scheme that will give vulnerable adults across the county the opportunity to purchase their own home. Suffolk County Council’s Adult and Community Services will identify those suitable for the scheme, and will also provide an underpinning guarantee, while Ipswich Building Society will provide the mortgage. The homes themselves will be provided by Orwell Housing and Saffron Housing Trust. The scheme will be supported by an independent deputy who will be assigned to make sure that the individual applicant’s best interests have been fully assessed in the decision to purchase her or his home. The deputy can then sign the mortgage contract on behalf of those individuals who may be unable to do so due to their disability.

Councillor Colin Noble, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for adult and community services, said: “Getting onto the housing ladder is hard enough without having a lifelong disability, so to be able to offer increased independence to those who would normally struggle to purchase their own home really is something spectacular.” Paul Winter, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society, added: “We firmly believe that everybody should have the right to own their own home no matter the circumstances, and this scheme is a great example of how local organisations can come together to support a vulnerable part of society.”