YMCA, the world’s oldest and largest youth charity, has today opened its first Y:Cube development; an off-site manufactured housing project for single people in housing need, designed by renowned architecture practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
The affordable accommodation scheme, located in Clay Avenue in Mitcham, south west London, was unveiled by the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis MP.
The 36-apartment Y:Cube development is designed as move-on accommodation for people leaving homelessness hostels and supported housing schemes. The apartments are being rented out at 65 per cent of the market rate in the area.
This saving is possible due to the off-site method of construction, which in turn led to a far quicker build programme – in this case around five months. The construction methodology and speed of installation mean each unit cost significantly less than a conventionally built equivalent.
Y:Cube has been created by YMCA London South West in partnership with architecture practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, project manager Aecom, and UK contractor SIG Plc Building Systems.
Richard James, Chief Executive of YMCA London South West, added: “Y:Cube presents a new way of creating genuinely affordable aspirational housing for single people in housing need. Great design and an innovative construction system have helped us in developing a housing scheme that challenges traditional housebuilding methods.”
And Ivan Harbour, Senior Partner and Lead Architect for Y:Cube at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, said:
“Y:Cube offers generous space and exceptional insulation, daylight and acoustics. By delivering high-quality accommodation using quick and cost-effective volumetric technology, we hope to offer a new model for house building in the future.”
The 36 Y:Cube units were all built off-site in Derbyshire before being transported to London. Construction on the three-storey site started in March and the last home was completed in August. The courtyard has been named George Williams Court, after the founder of YMCA.
YMCA hopes to roll out other similar Y:Cube schemes across London and parts of England in the near future.
Along with investment from YMCA London South West, the Y:Cube development in Mitcham was funded with a grant of £337,000 from the Mayor of London’s Building the Pipeline scheme and ‘social investments’ from City Bridge Trust, Tudor Trust, Trust for London and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Deputy Mayor for Housing and Land, Richard Blakeway, said: “This innovative scheme aims to give young people the chance to rent their own home in the capital at an accessible price and is part of a range of much needed housing the Mayor has helped deliver. I hope the site we are launching today is the first of many more to come across London.”
Wendy Omollo, 24, is one of the first Y:Cube tenants to move into the site. Having previously been homeless and slept rough on the streets in Kingston upon Thames, she came to YMCA London South West in February 2015.
She said: “By having my own space with my own front door I will regain my independence. But it’s not just that. As the rent is affordable and I can stay for up to five years, I’ll also be able to save money for a deposit. Basically, when the time comes to move on from Y:Cube, I will be in a far better situation than today.”
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England, said:
“As the largest provider of supported accommodation for young people in the country, YMCA is increasingly seeing young people struggle to afford the costs of private rent, leaving them with few options when they are ready to move on.
“Even for a young person in employment, a combination of low wages and high rents can quickly see them priced out of the market. We believe Y:Cube presents a significant opportunity to deliver genuinely affordable housing to meet the increasing demand.”
For more information on Y:Cube, visit: www.ymcalsw.org/ycube.
For further information on Y:Cube in Mitcham, or to arrange an interview, please contact: Anne Nordheim on 07894 690 114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Y:Cube design or to arrange an interview with RSH+P, please contact Jenny Stephens on 020 7746 0483 or Jenny.S@rsh-p.com
Notes to Editors:
About Y:Cube Housing:
Y:Cube uses a pre-constructed modular system that enables the streamlined units to stack easily on top or alongside each other, making it completely adaptable to the size and space available and therefore perfect for tight urban sites.
Each unit is constructed from high quality, eco-efficient materials (primarily renewable timber), creating accommodation that is so well insulated, that they require little or no heating, even in winter months. This presents further valuable savings as the cost of energy rises.
The Y:Cube units are 26sqm studio-like apartments, for single occupancy, that arrive on site as self-contained units. Each unit is constructed in the factory with all the services already incorporated. Therefore, the water, heating and electricity can be easily connected to existing facilities or to other Y:Cubes already on site. This ‘plug and play’ approach results in a modular, demountable system of apartments that are perfectly designed for brownfield sites. Additional units can be added if needed and whole developments can be taken apart and rebuilt in new locations.
Due to the design, size and construction system schemes can be developed without public grant and charge rents at or below Local Housing Allowance levels. Y:Cube Housing is not designed to provide long term accommodation and has an anticipated length of stay of three to five years. Y:Cube tenants will all have a local connection to the area. Half will be YMCA residents currently living in YMCA accommodation in South West London, and the other 50% will be nominations from Merton Council.
About YMCA London South West (LSW):
YMCA LSW is a registered charity that works across the London boroughs of Merton, Kingston, Richmond, Wandsworth and Hammersmith and Fulham, as well as Elmbridge, in Surrey. Since 1874, YMCA LSW has been providing local communities with a range of services including supported accommodation; children’s work; sports, health, exercise and fitness; youth work; catering services and conference facilities; and community programmes.
Every year, YMCA LSW houses more than 600 homeless people, supporting them with a wide range of interventions including life skills training, literacy and numeracy courses as well as access to counselling services in order to equip them with the skills and confidence to lead successful independent lives once they move on from the hostel.
For further information please visit www.ymcalsw.org
Founded in 1844, YMCA in England is made up of 113 member YMCAs working to ensure that young people have opportunities to thrive and contribute positively to their communities.
YMCA operates in more than 530 different communities in England impacting upon the lives of more than 600,000 people every year.
YMCAs provides almost 10,000 beds for young people every night. YMCA is the largest voluntary sector provider of safe, supported accommodation for young men and women.
YMCAs in England enable nearly 43,000 people every year to engage in education, skills and training to enable them to improve their opportunities in the job market.
For further information please visit www.ymca.org.uk