This is a very good question and one we are often asked! Councils used to provide grant funding to homeowners for essential home repairs although grants were often limited to people in receipt of means tested benefits, or over a certain age. In 2002, central government encouraged councils to think of new and innovative ways to support homeowners with sustainable funding schemes as opposed to the old reliance on grant funding.
In 2003, we worked with 10 local councils in the South West to bid to central government for funding to kick start the home improvement loan scheme. Our bid was successful and we secured 2.3 million pounds to invest in the loan scheme. Since 2003, Devon councils joined the scheme meaning we now work in partnership with 20 local councils across the South West. For a list of our partners, please click here.
Through providing loans, council funds are recycled meaning that funds lent out are repaid directly back into the council’s pot held by us to be re-lent again, and again, and again, and again… As this is a home improvement loan scheme, councils can be more flexible in their approach to eligibility and the schemes have developed to include not just homeowners, but also park home owners, landlords, empty property owners and more.
However, some councils do still have a retained grant fund but operate a ‘loans first’ policy, this means that where we cannot provide a loan, a homeowner may be referred back to their council to apply for a grant*.
For more information about what we deliver in partnership with your council, contact us today and your local adviser will be in touch.
*Subject to local council policy and eligibility.