Headingley Development Trust are a member-led organisation established in 2005. They are one of the largest development trusts in the UK. Their vision is ‘Headingley as a sustainable, balanced community that is welcoming and neighbourly, offers a good mix of housing, has a successful and diverse local economy, and is an attractive place to live, work and visit’.
This is being achieved by delivering, brokering and supporting a range of initiatives that benefit the community, specifically through taking an enterprising approach. HDT’s Heart building (Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre), the former primary school, is now a thriving community enterprise. The building houses local businesses including a local children’s play/wellbeing business, shared workspace, a café and lettable rooms for a range of arts, cultural and health and wellbeing activities. The community asset is a visual symbol of an active and permanent local community, being open to all through its activities and services run from the building.
How did they do it?
HDT, building on their success a previous community share offer, launched a new innovative community share offer in February 2018. HDT produced a business plan and share offer document to inform all potential investors what they will be investing in and be clear about risks involved with community shares. The community share offer enabled HDT to establish a Headingley Investment Fund that has 3 main aims:
- Refinance the existing loan from Social Investment Business on the Heart building
- Expand their Headingley Homes portfolio through the acquisition of further properties to respond to an identified need for more affordable and quality rented housing in the area
- Pursue new enterprise opportunities. For example, HDT have now taken on the lease and running of the local greengrocers on the high street (the former owner was retiring)
The community share offer closed at the end of April, raising £381,843 from 247 investors, almost all from the local community. This was matched by Power to Change’s Community Shares Booster Programme, delivered by the Community Shares Unit, bringing their total share value to £481,843. HDT will pay 2% interest per annum on the shares, subject to the performance of the fund, provisionally from the 1 July 2018.
Making a difference to real people
Impact surveys undertaken by HDT and HEART demonstrate that local residents, both members and others, firmly believe HDT has made a positive different to the local area specifically in creating a greater sense of community in Headingley, creating employment, growing small businesses and providing volunteering opportunities for over 100 people.
Anyone who supports the aim of the organisation can join Headingley Development Trust. The membership fee is kept deliberately low in order to make sure that no one is prevented from joining. New projects are developed by members themselves, so they are at the heart of the community business. Members are kept up to date with via a monthly newsletter website and social media.
HDT holds community shareholders meetings to seeks ideas and views on the investment fund which has its own committee (though the decisions are made by the HDT board).