R-Affordables was established to create an ethical socially driven company, rolling out a new housing initiative based in Scotland. The company’s mission was to build houses whilst tackling inequality and lack of opportunity. This the company felt could be achieved by employing a core of skilled committed builders to work with, train and encourage ex-service personnel, people with past convictions, long term unemployed and those with disabilities. The homes they would build would be strong, light, spacious and energy-efficient, with a target core price starting at £120,000. A number of Oswinners have been living and working in Scotland building a house from start to finish. They learned many new skills and became part of the community where they were living. We are hoping to do a similar project in the local area of Northumberland.
Some of our Oswinners worked with Northumberland Football Association to gain skills in ground maintenance. ‘Pitch Perfect’ was a social enterprise initiative to support football pitch maintenance across the County, with the help of associates and a pilot group of partner clubs. Supported by funding from the Football Foundation and with further assistance from Northumberland County Council’s Social Enterprise team, the programme saw the grassroots club and league sites working in partnership with local authorities to help improve pitches and training facilities throughout the Region.
In June 2016, 3 Oswin Project clients carried out a substantial renovation of the Doctor’s House in Pegswood. It is an interesting building; as its name suggests, it was the colliery doctor’s home and surgery. On the ground floor, the former waiting room and treatment room can be clearly seen. The latter has been transformed into a kitchen but the lovely old shelves for the medicines remain and these were carefully restored. The work was completed on time and within budget and everyone was delighted with the result. But most importantly, those involved have continued in similar employment.
Then in January 2017, work was completed refurbishing the Joiner’s Cottage by another team of three. This work had to be coordinated with plumbers and electricians. It was not entirely straightforward but was satisfactorily completed and the cottage is now being let. Again, two of this team have continued to be employed in painting and decorating.