Mull and Iona Community Trust – Delivering Affordable Homes

Mull and Iona Community Trust, a locally based charity, was set up over 20 years ago to address problems of geographic isolation and economic and social exclusion in remote communities on the islands of Mull and Iona, Scotland. Today, they continue to deliver community development projects to improve the quality of life of residents across these unique communities.

Working closely with local organisations, including the Ulva School Community Association, the Community Trust identified an ongoing acute housing need, particularly for smaller houses for young people and older members of the local communities. Amongst others, housing concerns affect the school roll and ten years ago, the local primary school was threatened with closure as a result. A major focus for the Trust in the last decade has been to provide affordable rent and energy-efficient housing to increase population retention, boost local jobs, support the local primary school roll, and make a stronger community.

One of their projects, partially funded by an Ecology community mortgage, delivered four affordable homes at Ulva Ferry on the Isle of Mull. The Community Trust’s Housing Project Officer, Helen MacDonald, commented, ‘the need for affordable housing is ever increasing on Mull, and these four houses will bring many social and economic benefits to Ulva Ferry, building on our existing projects in the community.’

The affordable homes were completed by the Wee House Company, a Scottish modular construction company, in just seven months. The homes were manufactured off-site in a local factory and then transported and installed on-site ready-fitted with kitchens, bathrooms, plumbing and electrics. This approach enabled the new residents to move in much faster than traditional methods would allow, whilst reducing waste produced during the construction process.

The new tenants, who were selected based on a locally agreed allocation policy to prioritise those experiencing significant housing need, settled at Ulva Ferry in May 2021. The homes were offered with secure, long-term tenancies and rent was set at an affordable level in line with existing social housing on Mull. This, in combination with the excellent levels of energy efficiency that make the homes economical to heat, helps to lower energy bills ensuring the homes’ ongoing affordability.

For more information about Ecology’s community-led mortgages, click here.