< Go Back Lord Praises Home Ownership Booster
Former deputy prime minister John Prescott has hailed Sunderland as a leader when it comes to helping families get their feet on the first rung of the property ladder.
Lord Prescott visited Wearside to meet homeowners and the company behind a scheme allowing them to buy shares in a property without needing a deposit of a mortgage. The scheme has been welcomed as a means of allowing people to own their own homes and as a ground-breaking project that could pave the way for families across Britain to own rather than rent properties.
The Gentoo Group’s Genie scheme has helped more than 80 families become home owners in Sunderland to-date and Lord Prescott said it was a leading example which he would like to see expanded to cover the whole of Britain.
The Genie Home Purchase Plan means that would-be homeowners pay monthly amounts, fixed in blocks of five years, and each of these buys more shares in the property. When the agreement ends it is the same as when a mortgage is paid off and the people who have been making the payments then own the house.
The project is already being run in Northumberland and County Durham, as well as in Sunderland, and the company is planning to expand its reach further in a bid to help more people into the sometimes difficult to access world of home ownership.
Lord Prescott spoke to families helped by the scheme in Sunderland before visiting Cherry Tree Gardens, which is managed and owned by Gentoo. The extra-care development offers 40 apartments for those over the age of 55 who need some form of care. It also boasts a large number of communal facilities, including activity and therapy rooms, hair salon, a restaurant, laundry, healthy living suite, lounge and guest rooms.
Gentoo’s deputy chief executive John Craggs said Lord Prescott had been a major supporter of the company’s aims and said everyone was ‘delighted’ to be able to show off just some of the group’s activities.
Gentoo Construction has just won an £8 million contract, which will see the company build a new high-end holiday complex for the Holiday Property Board. The 40 apartments, along with leisure facilities, shop, and reception, will be built on the site of Lucker Hall in the Northumberland village of Lucker. The project is expected to create 12 jobs and holidaymakers are expected to spend around ?750,000-a-year in local businesses.
Elsewhere, Gentoo Construction was central to a week of volunteering which led to a transformation at the Burton Stone Community Centre. The North East-based firm’s staff helped to fit a new kitchen and floor, along with giving the valuable community facility a lick of paint. The project was linked to work Gentoo is carrying out for the City of York Council.
Gentoo Construction’s managing director Allan Thompson said the company was committed to providing something positive for the people who live in the areas where Gentoo works.