Brixton housing association wins £12m funding for new homes

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Ben Laryea, CEO of Ekaya

Brixton-based Ekaya housing association has plans to build more than 65 new homes in South London over the next three years with £12m funding from NatWest.

It already has about 450 homes for affordable rent, shared ownership and supported housing across seven South London boroughs.

Ekaya brought together the work of two Lambeth hostels supporting young, single Black women living in London when it was created in 1987. Its first head office was in the Bon Marché centre on Ferndale Road and it is now on Stockwell Road.

Maggie Scarlett, a founder member, said the not-for-profit association began with “a group of Black professionals from the housing and social care sectors identifying a need for Black, single teenage mothers to be supported and enabled to parent their children safely whilst learning critical life skills.

“Over 30 years, Ekaya has moved from being a grant-aided organisation to an operating business with strong assets worth several millions of pounds.”

Ekaya provides housing and accommodation support to predominantly Black and ethnic minority women and their families.

A subsidiary, Happy Nursery Days in Tulse Hill, runs a community nursery and employs 20 staff.

In 2019 Ekaya opened its first supported housing scheme, Kabo House in Saltoun Road, Brixton. Working in partnership with Lambeth council, it provides housing and support to young people leaving care.

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Then mayor of Lambeth Ibrahim Dogus takes a selfie with Ekaya CEO Ben Laryea (front, left) and chair Michelle Nelson (front, centre)

Chief executive Ben Laryea said the £12m funding from NatWest “will enable us to expand our portfolio of properties and provide affordable housing to those that need it most across South London.

“As we expand, our focus will continue to be on providing a safe space and environment for predominantly BAME women, children and families to thrive in the local communities where they live.”

Ben Laryea is also chair of BME London Landlords, a collective of 14 BAME-led housing associations in London.

The funding is part of NatWest’s commitment to support the housing association sector with £3 billion of finance by the end of next year.

NatWest associate director Dharmesh Patel said: “We are committed to supporting housing associations and will continue to support Ekaya as it expands it portfolio of affordable, supported and shared ownership housing that it both owns and manages.”

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