Find the answers to our most commonly asked questions below:
This has been the toughest year ever for businesses. How will the building work affect my business?
We’re sorry for the incredible difficulties that the pandemic has thrown on so many businesses and we want to do everything possible to ensure that your business benefits from new local residents.
We are committed to keeping you up-to-date with building work plans and discussing with you anything that you are concerned with. Please contact us if you’d like to speak further about this.
Why don’t you put the social housing somewhere else? This neighbourhood is already a trouble spot. Surely it will influence young people in a negative way – they will be drawn back into the drug and alcohol scene.
Our new development is a wonderful opportunity to bring regeneration to an abandoned warehouse and an area that is experiencing regular antisocial behaviour.
The location is an ideal one for young people, many of whom do not have their own transport but require access to the city centre for work and education. Currently, the high rental cost of property in Exeter would prevent them from living in such close proximity to the centre of Exeter and so providing low-cost accommodation in this area is one of the aims of the development.
The young people who will be moving into the area are at varying stages of life, but all of them are engaged in meaningful occupation; some are working, some are studying at college or university, and others are volunteering. They have all passed the high standards expected of them whilst living in previous accommodation at YMCA Exeter and have been accepted onto our tenancy.
As described in the answers above, YMCA Exeter are working closely with the Designing Out Crime team to ensure that our development positively contributes to the local solution to this issue.
Why isn’t YMCA Exeter working with the local council to sort the main homeless problem in this area?
YMCA Exeter is committed to creating supportive, inclusive, and energising communities where all young people can truly belong, contribute, and thrive. The development of Sidwell Studios is in direct response to the need for local young people to be able to move on into independent living, with affordable accommodation.
Our projects are specifically aimed at the prevention of homelessness and intervening early so that that young people do not end up sleeping rough and are provided with a better alternative.
We are saddened by the number of people living rough in Exeter and we support all the work that Exeter City Council and the many charitable organisations are doing to improve the lives of adults living on the streets.
The bins in this area are already overflowing. Have you considered the amount of waste that this development will create?
YMCA Exeter is committed to providing a new robust bin storage that will be available for all the residents as well as for St Sidwell’s Community Centre and the current residents above. This will reduce the number of bins on Acland Rd actively tackling this very issue. As part of the development, we will also build a new secure bicycle store.
The area is currently used by loads of homeless people. How are you going to ensure that unwanted guests don’t get into the building?
Currently the open access nature of the site is contributing to crime and antisocial behaviour. There are no boundaries in place to differentiate between public and private space and very limited CCTV is creating void areas that are regularly being misused.
- Gates will be installed to ensure only those with legitimate access can enter private areas and the shared cycle/bin store.
- A visitor door entry system will allow occupants to see and identify visitors before they’re allowed in.
- Doors and windows to the building will comply with the highest standards to ensure they’re robust and burglar proof.
Yes, we’re working with the Designing Out Crime team to ensure CCTV will support the prevention and detection of crime across the whole site. The new CCTV will cover access-controlled areas, entry/exit points, the cycle/bin store as well as corridors and stairwells.
As part of the development, there will be investment in better lighting across the whole site, so that the landscape, CCTV and lighting work effectively together.
We are working closely with the Designing Out Crime team to ensure there is a uniform level of light throughout the site, internally and externally which will eliminate areas of shadow.
Local businesses and residents are concerned that this development is going to add to the massive problems caused by anti-social behaviour, daytime drinking and drug-taking in Sidwell Street generally and in the grounds at St Sidwell’s.
YMCA Exeter hears the concerns of local businesses and residents and we are committed to bringing regeneration to this area of Exeter. We are working closely with Exeter City Council, the police and the Designing Out Crime team to ensure that everything we do takes into account and tackles the pre-existing issues in the area. We want to ensure we’re listening to everyone impacted by the development, so please contact us to arrange a time to speak in more detail.
YMCA Exeter provides accommodation for young people needing a varying degree of support. Our Stage 1 accommodation is typically the entry point for young people leaving care or coming out of homelessness, needing the support of a loving community to move forward. At Stage 2, those young people take another step towards independent living, no longer requiring the level of supervision of Stage 1.
By the time our residents reach Stage 3, the young people have built up the resilience they need to thrive, and YMCA Exeter can reduce its intervention. By Stage 3 the young people are able to demonstrate that they can succeed in their employment or in the educational studies they are undertaking and have become good tenants. YMCA Exeter support maintains regular contact to ensure that, should they hit any setbacks or start to struggle, we can intervene immediately.
Stage 4 is the next stage beyond this – young people living successfully in their independent accommodation. YMCA Exeter provides opportunities for social activities, educational groups and maintains a healthy ethos and community feel within the block of accommodation. An outreach worker is also on hand to intervene early on if any young person hits a setback or is struggling.
The total cost of the project is £2.7 million
YMCA Exeter has received significant investments from Homes England and Exeter City Council.
We are committed to fundraising the final £525,000.
Exeter has a challenging housing crisis. There is limited, affordable one-bed accommodation for local young people. Since August 2019, the housing need has increased by a further 24%, with over 350 local young people waiting for 1-bed accommodation.
Our vision is to support young people to become embedded in their communities. The reality is that many of our young people are ready to move on into independent living, but although they have meaningful occupations they are priced out of traditional rented housing. They have nowhere to go.
We’re tackling this problem by taking an abandoned warehouse in the city centre and converting it into 26 self-contained studio apartments. Each apartment will provide a young person with an affordable home, alongside regular YMCA Exeter activities and groups to be involved in. The project will also have dedicated housing and outreach staff.
The knock-on effect to young people moving on into independent accommodation is that it frees up valuable space in supported accommodation for young people, at risk of homelessness, accessing our services for the first time.