Handcrafted Group Photo, Handcrafted, Lloyds Bank Foundation England & Wales, Neil Sashoua, Portrait, Voluntary Sector Charity visit by Regional Manager, Neil Shashoua, to Handcrafted in Gateshead. Shot by photographer Simon Veit-Wilson

Handcrafted, a charity that helps disadvantaged and socially isolated people in Durham, Gateshead and Chester-le-Street, has received a social investment loan of £2m from Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) to expand its supported housing services.

The loan from SASC’s Social and Sustainable Housing fund (SASH) will enable Handcrafted to purchase 23 properties and house at least 26 people, expanding the charity’s existing supported accommodation services and moving their reliance away from rental to owned properties.

Handcrafted supports individuals with complex needs including mental health issues, homelessness, addiction and social isolation with shared housing and support, alongside skills training to empower people to turn their own lives around.

The charity was set up in 2011 to offer training in practical skills, but in 2014 it moved into supported housing, with the help of homelessness focused social enterprises, Green Pastures and Homeless Link.

Handcrafted has developed strong experience and expertise working with young people with complex needs and those coming out of prison, care or other secure settings. They are currently providing supported housing to 50 people and they also support over 500 people with skills and therapy workshops.

Dan Northover, Managing Director at Handcrafted said: “Handcrafted was born out of a desire to support and connect with isolated people, and those who had lost confidence in themselves. We see this loan from SASC as transformative, as it will enable us to own properties and have more control over the quality of the accommodation and how long people can stay. Having stable accommodation is critical to helping people break chaotic and destructive cycles, build their confidence, and inspire their hope for a brighter future.”

Ben Rick, Co-Founder and CEO of SASC said, “Handcrafted is a well-established organisation with strong local partnerships and some impressive achievements. It has a reputation for having better success particularly with young people and those that local commissioners struggle to place with other providers.

“Through training and creative activities, such as carpentry, cooking and other crafts, they help people build confidence, gain skills and work towards goals, which complements the supported housing services they offer.  The loan will enable Handcrafted to meet much-needed demand in the North East and transform even more lives.”

As of last September, SASH was fully committed, having allocated £64.5m of invested capital to charities across the UK. The successor fund, SASH II, is open and will provide a continuity of funding to frontline providers. The fund will support charitable organisations that deliver a combination of support and housing to move from renting existing housing stock to owning it. SASH II is targeting £125m.

For more information on Handcrafted visit: www.handcrafted.org.uk

For more information on SASC visit: www.socialandsustainable.com