Exmoor Young Voices

Self Build Project
Exmoor Young Voices (EYV) has started a pilot project for six young couples to self build quality homes. Property prices and rents have soared even further beyond young people’s reach during the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial help is vital to sustain essential, young, Exmoor knowledge, skills and experience.

EYV can access self build land, loans and grants, training, an experienced Exmoor self builder as project leader, a pro bono lawyer to advise on loan arrangements, and planning support from the National Park. A team approach ensures economies of scale for the self builders, especially in sharing skills and purchasing materials.

Finance
EYV has established a partnership with Lendology who are able to source grants and loans from local authorities for local needs housing. EYV also has a private foundation grant of £20,000, starting a small loan fund for deposits on land, purchase of materials, architects’ drawings, planning negotiations etc. The target for this fund is £100,000. The self build project commences September 2021.

Exmoor Summit
Young people’s housing needs are urgent. Councils and Housing Associations must make young people a priority if they want them to stay and work. This is the most aged district in England already. EYV invited all 9 of Exmoor’s County, District, Park, and Housing Authorities, before C19 struck, to explore what pledges they could make to secure a future for young workers on Exmoor. The postponed recall of that event, a groundbreaking partnership including local charities and young EYV Members, will take place this autumn if C19 subsides sufficiently for an effective Summit to take place.

Problems
EYV has helped fifteen young families recently to overcome (apparently) insurmountable blocks and barriers to their housing needs. The system for housing young people on Exmoor needs urgent attention. Two local families, who all agencies agree have vital housing need right now, are still blocked a year later. The costs in time, money and advisors is disproportionate.

Homefinder
The Local Authority/National Park registration process, and website, have both been improved, with EYV members’ advice. It is much better but still difficult for many. EYV supports applicants to register, while also monitoring less visible housing needs.

Effective Broadband
EYV Members have been championing vital improvements. This is a slow, cumbersome process, inhibiting business and public life in the National Park.

Support
EYV members have also addressed Parliament, BBC, Countryfile, radio, ITV, all of Exmoor’s 56 public authorities, and secured the services of 9 professional advisors in housing, planning, self building, IT, travel, training, enterprise, employment, charity law and funding. All are long term, local residents themselves steeped in the issues young people face on Exmoor.

For more information, visit https://www.exmooryoungvoices.org