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  • Writer's pictureCornerstone Place

Official Opening By Angela Rayner

Updated: Apr 30

Cornerstone Place is a social enterprise which supports homelessness charities to add fit-for-purpose properties to their portfolios as well as supporting Local Authorities to deliver their own social housing.

One of our models when working with charities is the unique ‘Shared Upsides’ model which gifts more than 50% of the value in our project to our charity partners. This model was used to help Rochdale-based charity Stepping Stone Projects to provide 13 self-contained units for people in housing need in Audenshaw, Manchester. Local MP Angela Rayner cut the ribbon at the official opening.

The Challenge

Many homelessness charities provide housing by either renting from the private sector or by buying their own properties. Our proposition is a third solution, not offered elsewhere. Cornerstone Place was set-up in 2019 to source properties for charities, secure funding and develop them, and then enable the charity to benefit from the upsides of owning the properties through our model.

The offering has evolved from the initial offering to incorporate a variety of approaches for the public and charitable sectors. In every case we follow our core philosophy of ensuring the 'assets are in the hands of the impact makers' and there is no leakage to the private sector.


We source the properties, arrange all the funding, manage the build and professional teams, arrange long-term finance and deliver the projects. Once the property is ready, our charity partner takes control of the building through a lease and is then able to start delivering services to the beneficiaries. Unlike other lease models however, most of the benefit of the value created by the lease accrues to the charity and not the private sector.


Funding for this project came from a variety of sources. Firstly, Unity Trust Bank provided the senior debt which was supported by over £50K in grant funding from Key Fund and Power to Change together with some private capital.


The Victorian Villa in Tameside has been purchased and refurbished to create 13 self-contained apartments. The Charity Partner, Stepping Stones Project, works with Tameside Council to provide homes as well as essential support services including access to training and employment opportunities. The property will be let for an initial term of 15 years representing up to 71,200 ‘homeless bed nights’ for some of the most vulnerable in society who would otherwise be at risk of homelessness.

The impact is not just on the beneficiaries however. Using a report on the impact of homelessness to the taxpayer created by Crisis and PwC the 13 rooms in this project should deliver savings of over £5.1m during the initial term of the lease. This is the result of reduced blue light costs, NHS costs etc.

“A member of my family spent a lot of time on the streets so this has personal resonance for me, and Richard has the social sector running through his veins. Our business model is a way to empower, strengthen and increase the sustainability of homeless charities. Our ambition is to provide 1,000 rooms over the next five years.”

- David Ball, Co-Founder of Cornerstone Place

“The appeal to this project was the unique structure it has in place; it’s an innovative model that we haven’t seen before. Some of the biggest challenges facing organisations who are tackling homelessness in the UK is firstly, somewhere to do it and secondly, long-term security. Cornerstone Place gives a solution for both, and also provides the opportunity for charity partners to purchase the property on favourable terms.”

- Chris Colwell, Investment Manager (North West) at Key Fund


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