TENANTS who formed a housing co-op to buy their home have succeeded in securing the £140,000 they needed.

Tir Cyffredin has been an established shared house in Machynlleth for a number of years, but was owned privately by its live-in landlord. 

The landlord offered his tenants the chance to buy their house at a below-market rate, so they formed a co-operative, launching a fundraising campaign to do so. 

Had the fundraising bid failed the tenants, who paid just a pound to join the co-operative, would have been facing homelessness. 

The fundraiser offered people the opportunity to make a pledge as an investment, from which they will receive a return as the co-operative repays the loan from their investors.

The co-operative will own the property, and residence of the house is a condition of membership. 

The fundraising attracted £180,000 in pledged investments, and the co-op has also been offered a £140,000 mortgage with the Ecology Building Society. 

The house, which is to be extended to seven bedrooms, will now provide seven secure rentals in the Powys market town, where housing can be at a premium. 

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Allan Shepherd, community-led housing officer at the Wales Co-operative Centre, helped support the co-op through his role - which is supported by the Welsh Government and Nationwide Foundation-funded programme, Communities Creating Homes. 

He said the success of the scheme showed there is support for such initiatives. 

“The fact that Tir Cyffredin secured £40,000 more than they actually needed is a stunning achievement and a testament to all their hard work.

"It also shows a real appetite amongst the public to support schemes where there is genuine community involvement. 

"This is community financing in action. People see the need to support affordable housing in their area, and offering a loan at a low interest rate to housing co-ops is one way of doing it.

"There is always a risk to investors, because the loans are not secured by any guarantees, but historically housing co-ops have successfully used this method of raising finance and paid back their loans in full.” 

Tir Cyffredin will also continue as an informal community space, and will serve as the organising hub for the El Sueno Existe Festival, which celebrates the life of Chilean singer and poet Victor Jara, who was killed by the dictator Augusto Pinochet for his communist views. 

The Wales Co-operative Centre will highlight the success of Tir Cyffredin at its Community Led Housing virtual festival, which is taking place on Thursday 21st October. 

Minister for climate change Julie James will outline how community-led schemes, such as co-operatives and other forms of community ownership or community-led housing schemes, can be developed in Wales. 

Also speaking at the event are Padraig Flynn and Tom O’Donnell from Self Organised Architecture, who this year produced a roadmap for a viable community-led housing sector in Ireland, as well as Trevor James, an experienced advocate for community-led housing, who will explain how the sector has thrived in the Netherlands. 

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