In the wake of Grenfell, an affordable housing charity raises £24.7m through retail bonds issue to build quality low-priced homes

Lucy White
Dolphin Square
The Dolphin Square charity was founded after leasehold interests were sold in the real Dolphin Square mansion block, Pimlico (Source: Getty)

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster last week, where a number people of people died after a fire spread alarmingly quickly in their apartment block, calls for quality affordable housing have been redoubled.

Today, one affordable housing charity in London announced it has raised £24.7m towards that cause through a retail charity bonds issue.

The money will go towards providing “well-designed, good quality housing at market and sub-market rents for people on modest incomes”, according to the charity Dolphin Square Charitable Foundation.

“Dolphin is playing a key role in solving London's housing crisis by providing homes at genuinely affordable rents for workers that keep London ticking, such as chefs, nurses, drivers, teachers and actors,” said Dolphin's chief executive Olivia Harris.

“The funds raised through this Retail Charity Bond will be used to invest in more housing in London to take us closer to our strategic target of providing 1,000 affordable rental homes in the capital by 2020.”

The bonds will pay investors a fixed interest rate of 4.25 per cent every year until 2026, and may be sold at any time during their lifespan.

They had a minimum initial subscription amount of £500, and were available in multiples of £100 after that.

Retail Charity Bonds, a special purpose vehicle created by social benefit charity Allia, issued the bonds.

Dolphin's is the fifth bond it has launched, following the success of Golden Lane Housing (the property arm of Mencap, a charity which helps disabled people), Hightown Housing Association (which provides support housing for people who cannot afford market prices), Charities Aid Foundation (which sets up health and education facilities across the world) and Greensleeves Homes Trust (a care home provider).

The Dolphin Square charity was founded in June 2005, when £125m was gifted to it from the proceeds of the sale of leasehold interests in the Dolphin Square mansion block in Pimlico.

The bond issue comes after suspicions were raised following the Grenfell blaze that cheaper, less fire-resistant materials were used to cut costs when the building was refurbished.

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