Country house to become homeless accommodation

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 July 2015

Charity Bank'’s Chapman Harrison with YMCA Somerset Coast’'s Martin Hodgson, outside Barley Wood in Wrington. Photo by Barbara Evripidou.

Charity Bank'’s Chapman Harrison with YMCA Somerset Coast’'s Martin Hodgson, outside Barley Wood in Wrington. Photo by Barbara Evripidou.

©Barbara Evripidou

AN EMPTY country house in a North Somerset village is being transformed into housing for young homeless people.

Barley Wood Country House, in Wrington, has been bought by social charity YMCA Somerset Coast.

The YMCA will turn the historic site into housing for young homeless people, while creating jobs through the launch of a preschool nursery and community space.

Martin Hodgson is the chief executive of YMCA Somerset Coast. He said: “Our aim is to break the cycle of ‘no home, no job’.

“We will provide young homeless people with a roof over their heads and career prospects through apprenticeship schemes, so they can build their self-esteem and make a contribution to society.”

The YMCA’s purchase of Barley Wood was made possible by a £1.8million loan from ‘ethical’ bank Charity Bank.

It is hoped the money will transform the Grade II listed house, which was built in 1801 for social entrepreneur Hannah More, into 20 accommodation units and two social enterprises.

The site’s nursery will be open in time for the September intake of preschool children and will be merged with the Wrington Playgroup Association, which currently operates from the memorial hall in Silver Street.

Charity Bank regional manager Chapman Harrison said: “It is serendipitous that a house built for Hannah More, the great social entrepreneur of the early 19th century, is coming back into social purpose usage under the management of YMCA Somerset Coast.

“We exist to support projects like this, which will have a positive impact on their communities.”

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