This month I joined Andrews Charitable Trust as a Trustee. This foundation provides funds for new organisations seeking to tackle housing related poverty, cash for churches wishing to address social needs in their communities and it purchases homes to provide move-on accommodation for young people who have experienced homelessness. This may not seem that remarkable, however the history and the structure of the Trust is quite unique.
Many companies have a charitable trust associated with their work, this allows them to demonstrate a social conscience and to gift aid some funds which reduces their Corporation Tax liability. Andrews is different. The Trust owns Andrews Property Group which in turn runs an estate agency, a property management company, and a housing developer.
This arrangement was the brainchild of a man who is mainly unknown, (were you aware of him before you read this blog?) despite the enormous contribution he made to charitable activity in the country, indeed in the world: Cecil Jackson-Cole.
Cecil’s work can be seen through a formation and development of some of Britain’s main charities including Oxfam (which he helped to found and then to run), Help the Aged (now Age UK, again as a founder) which in turn he used to establish the country’s largest housing association providing homes and support for older people Anchor Housing (which following a merger is now the Anchor Hanover Group), and Action Aid (which he also founded).
Andrews Charitable Trust has become a landlord buying homes in areas closely associated with the estate agency business so that employees of the company can become involved in supporting the projects. The support for the residents, young people who have experienced homelessness, including care leavers, is provided by three specialist local organisations.
Imagine the impact if all estate agencies in the country undertook programmes of this nature. Andrews on its own has a crucial impact for the people it houses but is a drop in the ocean in terms of the national housing need, however a concerted effort by agencies up and down the land could have a significant benefit. Cecil Jackson-Cole started as an entrepreneur, he built his charitable activities out of his businesses and his business acumen and hundreds of thousands of people across the world have benefited from his work. We need more businesses in the property world to step up and bring the skills and resources of their businesses to assist with solving our housing crisis.
18th July 2023