New Community Share Offer will provide more homes for vulnerable people in Cornwall

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Ben Wrigley, Senior Investment Manager in the Developing Communities Team at Resonance, has been leading the launch of the latest Mustard Seed Property Community Share Offer. In his blog, he talks about what’s been happening since the last raise and the organisation’s plans for the future.

Mustard Seed Property (MSP) buys and refurbishes properties for its partners – charities and social enterprises – so they can provide space for vulnerable people to flourish across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

MSP bought its first property in Helston in 2007 which, alongside local charity St Petroc’s, has since provided a home for over forty vulnerable adults with learning disabilities or at risk from homelessness. One of the founding directors of MSP, Liz James, has seen first-hand how St Petroc’s work is helping people: “I’ve been to visit and spoken to the tenants there. They were so pleased to have a home and to be surrounded by a friendly group of people to support them – and help them on their way to moving into their own rented accommodation.

In 2020, MSP raised £610,000 in its last community share offer from 196 new and repeat investors. The funds were used to acquire and refurb a second property in Newquay. This property is let to community interest company, the Newquay Lighthouse Project, and houses up to eleven men recovering from addiction. Liz James says: “This property provides a wonderfully safe environment where people recovering from addiction can help and support each other to grow in confidence and find their own individual place in the world.

MSP’s third property in Redruth, has been under re-development since December 2022 using short-term debt provided by an individual impact investor. These works are expected to be completed in September 2023 and the property will then be let to United Response to house five autistic adults with learning disabilities and mental health needs, with Karrek Community providing support.

The plan is that by October 2023, MSP will  have three properties let to three different impactful charity partners, which are all supporting people to live more independent lives every day.

MSP is now launching a new community share offer, aiming to raise up to £1.8 million over the next 6-18 months. The money raised will be used to repay the short-term debt (that was needed for the Redruth refurbishment) and for MSP to purchase and refurbish two more properties.

Penzance, St Austell, Truro and Bodmin are all target locations where St Petroc’s needs more space. Newquay Lighthouse Project also wants to replicate the very successful men’s project in that town, by also providing a complementary space for women recovering from addiction.

From my perspective, it’s great working with MSP as they have a strong track record, including raising and deploying capital and working with established housing partners, as well as a sensible plan to scale up. There is insufficient property available in Cornwall for the people who need it. There is a particular shortage of affordable housing[1] in Cornwall, as the housing market in the county is very challenging – largely because of the region’s popularity as a tourist destination alongside a chronic lack of development – with property prices relatively high but with low wages. MSP seeks to tackle this with a business model which is highly impactful and also generates a return for socially minded investors.

Further information Information on the share offer and how to invest are available through the links below:

Ethex: Ethex

MSP:   Investing in Community Shares


Capital at risk and returns not guaranteed
By purchasing community shares issued by MSP you may lose some or all of the money you invest. Returns on investment are not guaranteed and the repayment of any investment is subject to sufficient funds being available. Investors are not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (as you would be with a savings account), and do not have recourse to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

[1] Cornwall Council


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