Bristol

Fix up and rent deal for derelict homes made in Bristol

Housing project
Image caption The project involves giving young people the training and then giving them home to rent out once the work is complete

A pilot scheme offering young homeless people the chance to renovate derelict council houses for them to live in is being rolled out.

The Ovo Foundation is working with Bristol City Council to give young apprentices the skills to find future work and get homes back into use.

Gaby Sethi, from Ovo, said: "It's great that its having a positive impact on young people."

So far two homes have been renovated under the pilot which began in October.

The project involves the charity paying for the decorating materials and the council providing the housing stock. Once the homes are ready for habitation they are leased out for a peppercorn rent.

Ms Sethi said: "The main problem for young homeless people who are in supported housing or hostels, is that they find it really difficult to move out even if they are ready to.

"We also had a look at the skills gap in Bristol and there's a major need for construction workers.

"We wanted to design a programme to help them get back into training and learn the relevant skills to access long-term employment."

Council figures show there are more than 700 young homeless people in Bristol.

Sophie, 18, who took part in the pilot, said: "I'm looking forward to making it look homely and nice and add extra decoration to it.

"It is a big, big bonus to get a property to live in, as well."

The apprentices were trained up on a free-three month construction skills course at SGS College in Bristol which began in October.

The charity says it hopes to find more derelict homes to bring back into use and help young homeless people.

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