LSE GLH market openTwo men with learning disabilities opened the markets at the London Stock Exchange on July 30 to celebrate the success of the first ever charity retail bond to be listed on it.

The pair, Stephen McHale and Daymien Todd, tenants of national charity Golden Lane Housing, are understood to be the first people with a learning disability to have this honour.  

The bond was launched by Golden Lane Housing and closed two and a half weeks early after reaching its £11 million target due to immense demand and being oversubscribed.

Golden Lane Housing, Mencap’s housing arm, will use the proceeds to buy and adapt much-needed accommodation for more than 100 people with a learning disability in their communities.

Just 16% of people with a learning disability live in supported housing in the community, and many struggle to compete on the open market, with it being virtually impossible to find housing in areas where there is no suitable social housing available.

Stephen and Daymien gave a speech at the event about how Golden Lane Housing has allowed them to live in their own permanent homes in their community. “We're very happy to be here today to open the London Stock Exchange Market,” they said. “We moved into our home last year and we love it. We are very happy that Golden Lane Housing's bond has raised lots of money so more people with a learning disability can live in their own homes.”

Alastair Graham, director of Golden Lane Housing, said: “This Bond has been a huge success for Golden Lane Housing. This is an innovative new way of securing private finance to deliver social impact. The combination of financial return and doing social good proved to be very attractive to investors and we were pleased the Bond issue had to be closed early to avoid being over-subscribed.  

“Now the Bond has officially been listed we will be able to start deploying the funds raised and working on housing around a hundred people with a learning disability, who are currently living in inadequate housing due to the housing shortage. This will also provide a lasting legacy for future generations of people with a learning disability.”

Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, added: “[The success of the bond] shows that investors are committed to helping us make a difference to the lives of people with a learning disability. I hope that the significant firsts that we have achieved… continue to improve the lives of people with a learning disability.”

The Bond was issued via Retail Charity Bonds plc, an independent non-profit vehicle which is an initiative of Allia, a community benefit society which specialises in issuing bonds for charities, and established in association with Canaccord Genuity.