Now in its 5th year, Shared Ownership Week will be hitting our streets, newspapers, radio stations and televisions. So what is it, I hear you ask?
Well it’s a weeklong celebration of everything shared ownership, its aim is simple – to get the message out there that home ownership is possible, and to let the world know that there are people who care! And further to make people aware that companies (like ours) exist, and that we have devoted some of our resources and efforts to help aspiring home owners. Thames Valley Housing will be involved and you will hopefully see the So Resi branding and information coming through all forms of media over the next 7 days.
I often get asked about how impactful shared ownership is in our capacity to make a difference to people’s lives, at this point I would normally reel off numerous examples of customers who have shared their positive experience with us.
"For today, I’d like to give you some insight into my early years."
But for today, I’d like to give you some insight into my early years, growing up in Teddington–South West London. Teddington wasn’t quite the same as it is today c 34 years ago. Shortly after getting married, my mum and dad moved into a beautiful semi-detached, three storey Victorian home. The only snag was they shared the 5 bed house wit 15 other people! There was some consolation as all of the fellow occupants were family.
However after a year in, they’d had their first child (me) and things began to take a strain. At the time my dad worked in Sainsbury’s and my mum was training to be an accountant, so they had nowhere enough income to buy a home on their combined income. In 1983, the average price of a home in Teddington was c £52k and their combined income was around £6k. The maths would never work.
They tried to find a home to rent on the private market, but the rents were either too high or they weren’t offered enough security. Just when it seemed like they were running out of options, my dad’s friend told him about a Richmond council scheme which provided help to first time buyers.
After looking into it and taking counsel from anyone that was willing to give a view they decided to buy a 35% share of a two bedroom home in Twickenham.
By this time I now had a brother, so I still had to share a room but things were much easier. In this new home both my parents flourished, a dark cloud that used to persist appeared to be lifted. We were happier and healthier than we had ever been. That first home gave my brother and I a secure place to grow and helped us become the people we are today, it also saved my parents from the ills of living in such cramped conditions. I can honestly say that for me that home was the making of my family.
We’re in a period now more than ever where stability and security are at the forefront of our minds, a decent home; in a good location is arguably the most important factor in predicting an individual’s life chances, what a privilege we have in helping genuinely change people lives.
So what can you do to get involved?
"Spread the word, let them know that help exists"
I started with a simple explanation of the objectives of shared ownership week and this is something each and every one of us can help with. We all know people who are stuck in the rental trap, maybe desperately trying to find a home. Spread the word, let them know that help exists and that there are people that care and want to make a difference.
Sometimes, people have a one sided view of shared ownership either way – whether you think it’s great or you’re unsure. The best thing to do is give people the facts so they can decide. So Resi is our organisation’s interpretation of exactly that - we want honest frank discussions with would be home owners so they understand everything that Shared Ownership is, as well as what it’s not!
Thanks for reading.
Kush Rawal, commercial director at Thames Valley Housing