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M-AR teams up with homeless charity Centrepoint to create a place for young people to call home

Specialist offsite contractor, M-AR is nearing completion on an ambitious new build project in partnership with the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity, Centrepoint.

The project’s goal was to create single occupancy homes for young people experiencing homelessness in London - a first for the charity which up until now has relied on refurbished accommodation.

Centrepoint provides housing and support for almost 13,000 homeless young people every year in London, Manchester, Yorkshire and the North East. Its bold new Independent Living Programme aims to pair over 300 young people with a job and a home across London and Manchester within the next three years and this new development, which will be known as Reuben House, in Peckham is the first step.

Working collaboratively with design consultant Modularize and the Centrepoint project team, M-AR manufactured 33 modular homes in its factory to create the new two storey apartment building. The design features repeatable modular units that can easily be delivered on multiple sites – which means Centrepoint and M-AR will be able to replicate this model on future projects as the Independent Living Programme rolls out to other locations over the next five years.

Each self-contained 21m2 home has its own private access, a small functional kitchen, dining area and a bathroom as well as space to sleep and relax, making the units a comfortable home for young people to live independently. The homes were delivered to site fully fitted with the kitchen and bathroom, with all electrics and plumbing installed as well as being fully decorated throughout for greater programme efficiency.

Another key aspect of the project was to ensure each home was as energy efficient as possible to keep future running costs low for residents, which has become even more important as the cost of living crisis continues. The homes have energy-saving features including photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and air source heat pumps to reduce energy consumption and shield residents from spiralling costs.

As well as offering Centrepoint cost predictability from the outset, the use of offsite building techniques provided a solution to the specific constraints of this project including its location on an extremely tight site. By moving much of the first and second fix works off site and into M-AR’s factory, it freed up space on site while also minimising disruption to the local community during the build.

Looking at the bigger picture, the new homes had to meet the requirements of the London Plan, the new spatial development strategy for Greater London, as well as the latest building regulations governing energy efficiency. The development also had to fit seamlessly into the local neighbourhood - the landscaping and exterior cladding works perfectly achieve this aim.

Ryan Geldard, Director at M-AR commented:

“It’s a privilege for us to be able to do our bit to help Centrepoint in its mission to end youth homelessness by delivering these new safe and secure independent living homes. We’ve worked closely with the whole team to make sure that the units are perfectly suited to the young people who will call them home and it’s great to see them starting to be occupied and know that our job is here is done. We’ve learnt a lot from this build and are looking forward to the next project with Centrepoint.”

Sally Orlopp, Director of Centrepoint’s Independent Living Programme, said:

“It has been a real privilege to watch these units turn into homes over the last few months. M-AR and our other partners have been fantastic in helping us take this first step towards building 300 homes for those people under 25 ready to escape homeless but unable to afford skyrocketing rents.”
“We can’t wait to hand over the keys to our new tenants who will now have the space and stability they need to stop worrying about the roof over their head and get on with achieving their ambitions. I know these first purpose-built homes are the start of something really special for Centrepoint and our Independent Living Programme and the young people we support.”

For more information call 01482 635 081, email buildingrelationships@m-ar.co.uk or visit www.m-ar.co.uk

For more information about Centrepoint’s Independent Living Programme, please email independentliving@centrepoint.org or visit https://centrepoint.org.uk/what-we-do/independent-living-programme/.

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