Giroscope is an award-winning housing charity based in West Hull which renovates empty and derelict properties to provide homes for those in housing need.
The collapse of Hull’s fishing industry left many parts of the city with low levels of owner occupation and a surplus of poorly maintained private rented housing. Like many cities, Hull is facing challenges regarding the availability of good quality housing, with many people on lower incomes being priced out of the housing market.
Giroscope renovates empty and derelict properties, bringing them back into use to provide affordable housing to those in need. Renovating empty properties has also allowed Giroscope to run training and employment programmes for those at risk of social exclusion. The charity provides opportunities to attain skills in Giroscope’s bike repair workshop and joinery workshop, as well as training in most building trades, numeracy, literacy and computer skills. Many beneficiaries often go on to live in a Giroscope home, sometimes one they have renovated as part of the volunteer program.
SASC made a £250,000 investment from its Community Investment Fund in early 2016 to fund the purchase of three properties. Giroscope repaid this loan in August 2016. In late 2017, SASC approved a second facility of £750,000, alongside a £250,000 grant from partner Power to Change, to help Giroscope grow.
The loan enabled Giroscope to acquire properties that could not be funded through traditional mortgages, with the charity often benefitting from being cash buyers. Giroscope is able to make loan repayments from the rental income generated from the portfolio of properties.
Giroscope now provides housing for over 260 people, a 20% increase since receiving the first investment from SASC. The charity has expanded its training and community services: in the last 12 months it has worked with over 200 volunteers. Giroscope has also been able to renovate its office headquarters, which now serves as a walk-in community hub for local social enterprises and individuals to access.
SASC’s initial investment was crucial as we risked losing the commercial property. The investment process was rigorous, but it was enjoyable, and it really helped us understand our figures. The process was also very fast, which enabled our project to go ahead - it couldn’t have happened without them.
Caroline Gore-Booth, Project Manager, Giroscope
SASC’s mission is to help social enterprises and charities deliver scalable and sustainable solutions to social issues by providing them with the appropriate capital to allow them to grow and to help those most in need in our society today. SASC is itself a social enterprise, recycling repaid investments to support other organisations who need it.
Giroscope does really important work in the heart of the west Hull community. Breathing new life into these empty houses and renting them affordably has not only given those most in need safe and high-quality homes to live in, but it has improved the community too. In just two years since receiving the initial investment, the social impact Giroscope is having on the people in need within the local community is incredible. By creating secure homes, providing vital support and new opportunities for disadvantaged individuals, Giroscope is tangibly helping to improve the quality of their lives.
Ben Rick, Managing Director, SASC