These tracks have been carrying commuters from Sydney’s south west to the city and back since openining in 1987 as a line extension between East Hills and the Main South Line at Glenfield #hiddensydey #holsworthy #west #traintracks #train #rail #station #easthillsline #city #commute #travel #sydneytrains #transport #bush #suburbs (at Holsworthy railway station, Sydney)

A case study in Community Land Trusts: affordable homes for Holsworthy

In its capacity as the fund manager for the Community Land Trust Fund, Venturesome invested £175,000 in Holsworthy Community Property Trust (HCPT) to build two affordable semi-detached homes in the village of Sheepwash in Holsworthy, North Devon. We’re pleased to be able to say that, after a lot of hard work, the homes have been built and we’ve been repaid.

A housing needs survey carried out prior to the development commencing found that property in the village was scarce: only 5 new homes had been built in the village between 1999 and 2007, and with the average price of a new home approaching £250,000, none of these were considered affordable as all of the survey’s respondents had a below average income level for the South West.

The two new homes have now been allocated to local people; one property will be available for rent whilst the other will be sold on a shared equity basis:

HCPT was established in 2005 as a charity to provide affordable housing in the rural community of Holsworthy, North Devon. It is one of the many examples of communities taking the housing issue into their own hands and leveraging in finance to make affordable homes a reality.

CAF Venturesome previously worked with HCPT in 2007, when we bridged the purchase and resale of five flats in Holsworthy, which were sold on a shared equity basis. The Trust will now go on to work towards its target of providing 50 homes for local people who are unable to purchase a property on the open market.

The Community Land Trust Fund has now offered a facility for a new scheme in the Holsworthy area and there are many more in the pipeline.

Always watching you. (See a theme yet?)

Anyhow! It’s been an interesting adventure in trains today. First time I haven’t had a seat. Ended up sitting on the temporary seats for those waiting for the toilet. Had a nice chat with a fellow from Kuwait that’s getting his masters in education in the UK.

Still got there!

I’ve discovered something odd recently. Or, well, interesting to me at least. I’ve mentioned the issue of people thinking I’m male, and I’ve realized that that mistake doesn’t really bother me. In fact, it’s kind of funny. What does irk me is when people look at me and assume that because of my size, I’m weak or frail. Actually had someone call me frail on a different train. Maybe it’s just short-man syndrome talking, but it gets my goat. Yes, I know I’m small, but don’t underestimate me from that, thank you. I don’t make an issue of it, because its not worth it, but really. I may not be Hercules, but I’m not exactly cotton candy, either.

My masculinity aside, it’s been a good trip so far! Traveling like this relaxes me, I’ve found. I don’t feel stressed, setbacks haven’t been upsetting me, it’s all good! Everything will work out alright. This doesn’t mean that I don’t try to be alert or careful, but it does mean that temporary seats on a three hour train journey don’t ruin my day, that a sudden change in the weather for the cold and rainy doesn’t mean a terrible trip. It’s about perspective and contrast, it’s about having a good attitude and not freaking out.

It’s refreshing, being this chill.

Vocabulary to know:
On/Off License - refers to an establishment that sells alcohol. An On License has a license to serve alcohol, while an Off License just sells it closed. So if someone is talking about going to an On License, they’re talking about a pub or bar. If they want to go to an Off License, they’re talking about a liquor store.

Venturesome clients continue their run of awards success

Hot on the heels of the last month’s Charity Awards - which saw CAF Venturesome client PEASwin the Overall Award - and the Community Land Trust awards - which recognised the achievements of our clients Holsworthy CLT and Stretham & Wilburton CLT - we are delighted that Global Giving UK has won the 2013 Nominet Internet Award for Doing Good Online.  Global Giving UK supports grassroots non-profit organisations around the world, by providing opportunities to build skills and knowledge, and connecting them through its online platform to donors and volunteers.  CAF Venturesome has invested in Global Giving UK to enable the charity to develop its brilliant website, which enables donors to find grassroots projects to support around the world. 

Congratulations to the team at Global Giving UK on the Nominet award!

State election 2k15

The days are leading up to the state elections and local members are bombarding residents with their campaigning. Aside from Melanie Gibbons spending peak hour outside Holsworthy train station passing out pamphlets, letters have hit home, with parties vigorously continuing their campaigns.

Signe Westerberg is of the Greens and wishes to look into ‘area sensitive development’ and certainly ‘not monstrosities that risk health and wellbeing to residents and the environment’. What sort of monstrosities lurk around in this area? We shall never know. but she also wishes to ‘provide better access to rail and public transport and a bus-only lane on the M5 to encourage people onto Public Transport’ as well as create ‘access to future-focused jobs for locals. Create sustainable, green, local jobs’. On the side, she introduces herself as a resident of Liverpool and not just another wackjob politician stating ‘I am a regular participant in community groups and work tirelessly to raise awareness of the issues and needs of the community.’ She continues on with ‘We have been taken for granted by both old parties. We need representation that wants to be here, that seeks to be the voice of the community and not just a career politician looking for the next stepping stone.’ And who else better than herself?

After that, the Greens sent out a pamphlet titled Green Ideas for Holsworthy. Upon opening it, there is another more detailed biography of Signe Westerberg as well as a bolded line: ‘Politics can and should be better than what is on offer by the two old parties!’
On the inside, the main points are bolded: Privatisation ‘Ensure public ownership and control of public services, corporations and assets’, Education- ‘Restore the Gonski funding and reverse cuts to TAFE’, Environment ‘decisions and legistation underpinned by Ecologically Sustainable Development principles’, Corruption- ‘end culture of influence peddling and politicians on the take, make lobbying fully transparent and stop corporate donations’, Planning- ‘revoke powers given to Planning minister to disregard community consultation and local planning laws’, Transport- ‘invest in a mix of heavy/light rail and bus services for NSW’




Now, let’s listen to what one of my teachers had to say about them: ‘They’re a bunch of nutjobs. Have you heard they want to build a train from Brisbane to Melbourne- who will even catch that? Ridiculous.’ Not a very positive outlook so far, but the Greens seem pretty confident.

Our very favourite smiling assassin strikes again, sending out ‘Mike Baird’s Pledge to you’.
Baird locks eyes with you as you read over his pledge- what for? Maybe to prove that he’ll be different from Julia Gillard and her carbon tax. But he pledges:

"We’ll keep ownership of the state’s electricity networks and we willlease the use of only 49% of poles and wires.

All this money will be used to build new assets, also owned by the people of our state.

All these assets reman in public ownership.

Prices will not rise as a result of his plan.”

On the second side, he continues with:

"1. Less congestion on our railways, roads and highways.
2. Fast more convenient public transport services.
3. Better quality healthcare.
4. Better education for our children.”

On the other side however, Labour once again dishes out an attack at the Liberal party, with a photo of Mike Baird and Tony Abbott looking guilty as thieves of a crime they will commit. In big red words, their crime is read out: ‘MIKE BAIRD: $1.7 BILLION CUT’ and ‘TONY ABBOTT:$10 BILLION CUT’.

The Liberals are cutting billions from schools and TAFE.

On the back, Labour still hasn’t given any implication on what they want but are still spraying poison on Liberal.

"FACT: the Liberals have cut $1.7 billion from education including $800 million from TAFE.
FACT: the Liberals have sacked 1100 TAFE teachers and cut TAFE courses across Western Sydney campuses.
FACT: The Liberals have increased TAFE fees by up to $5000.”

On both pages there are newspaper headlines dating back to 9 February 2014 on TAFE worrying about fund cuts.

Mike Baird hit back that however, with a letter writing to ask the residents to back Baird once again. In his letter, he says that the re-elected Baird Government will:

"1. Deliver 150,000 more jobs.
We will deliver 150,000 jobs for people in NSW over the next 4 years through $5000 payroll tax rebates, rewarding businesses that hire new staff and attracting new businesses from interstate and overseas.
2. Provide more before and after school care for families.
We will provide up to 45,000 more ‘before and after school care’ places to help families manage their busy lives.
3. Lower the cost of energy bills.
Not only will we lower electricity network prices for all, we will provide a $90 Gas Rebate to 290,000 low-income households and an 85% increase in the rebate for 32,000 people who rely on life support equipment.
4. Abolish payments for chemotherapy and other drug treatments provided by public hospitals and community pharmacies.
We will provide free specialised drug treatments for tens of thousands of patients facing challenges such as cancer, HIV, hepatitis, cystic fibrosis and organ transplants.
5. Launch the National Disability Insurance Scheme a year early.
2,000 young people, most in need, will benefit from bringing the NDIS forward, for them, a year early.”

These are the main big parties that are dominating the polls, but there are other small members from local areas such as Michael Byrne of the Democratic Labour Party who do a lot of emphasis on their background, their residents, their hobbies and how they’re “not a political machine”. Basically their human nature vs. being a mere pollie who’s more interested in having pay rises than helping the actual community.

But as again, there is no right or wrong party to choose, as I’ve said oft and oft, it’s about choosing the party that does the least damage.

- Pants

Rural Housing Week

Did you know last week was Rural Housing week? We certainly did! This week has been a busy week for the Community Land Trust sector.

CAF Venturesome kicked off the week with an event to celebrate the first four and a half years of the Community Land Trust Fund; a £2.2m fund managed by CAF Venturesome.

The event was hosted by Nationwide Building Society and over 50 attendees from Community Land Trusts themselves to funders and financiers came to hear about what we have learnt over the last few years and discuss the future of the movement.

The evening was welcomed by Stephen Uden, Head of Corporate Citizenship at Nationwide Building Society and then we heard from Rodney Buse, Chair of the Community Land Trust Fund Investment Advisory Committee and Bob Paterson from Holsworthy CLT. The speeches celebrated how far the movement had come in the last few years but stressed that we still have a long way to go to reach sustainability.

Access to suitable finance is still one of the biggest hurdles and there still remains a large gap at the high risk end of the spectrum. The Community Land Trust Fund was set up pilot in 2008 and is due to close this autumn. However we recognise the detrimental effect the Fund’s closure will have on the market. As a result the Community Land Trust Fund hopes to launch a second phase of the Fund to continue to full this gap until new investors can be encouraged into the market.

The Community Land Trust Network also hosted the 2013 Annual CLT Conference on Wednesday 12th June. The day was a great success with some inspiring speakers leaving the room buzzing with energy and new ideas. CAF Venturesome was delighted to see many of its clients shortlisted for the CLT awards with Holsworthy CLT picking up an award for the most entrepreneurial CLT and our most recent client Stretham & Wilburton CLT picking up the award for the most effective partnership.

However it’s not just rural housing on the agenda. The conference focused on the rise of the urban CLT and CAF Venturesome is proud to have invested in Oxfordshire CLT last month; our first urban project.

Labour vs Liberal: Men and Women of Letters

Mike Baird is battling it out with Labour opponents in a match of intense letter sending to the mass public.

Mike Baird’s letters tell of his goals and plans set for the future making a small attack on Labour- ‘there was much talk but little action’. His letters give a general overview of his team’s long term plan:

- Keep ownership of the state’s electricity distribution system.

- Lease the use of 49% of poles and wires to the private sectors and

- They’ll pay us rent and they’ll pay it in advance.

 This means [we] can invest about $20 billion to build new assets, also owned by the people of our state.

We’ll build roads, rail and other vital infrastructure, together with hospitals and schools.

All these assets remain in public ownership.’

The Labour candidate for Holsworthy, Charishma Kaliyanda however, makes a strong act against Liberal without really making reasons why the masses should vote them.

‘If Mike Baird wins this election, he wants to sell our electricity network off to the highest bidder.

The Liberal’s plan to sell our electricity network will mean higher prices, blackouts and more cuts to schools, TAFE and hospitals.’

Strange, considering Baird states he will invest more money into schools and hospitals. Kaliyanda continues with use of 3 big ominous red facts-

1. Our electricity network currently generates $1.7 billion a year for NSW schools and hospitals. Selling our electricity network will mean even more cuts.

2. The Liberals sold South Australia’s electricity network and no they have the highest electricity prices in Australia. The billionaire who bought their electricity network now makes $420 profit from every customer, every year.

3. After the Liberals sold Victoria’s electricity network, there was a 32% increase in blackouts.’

She ends with an ominous ‘P.S. Once Mike Baird sells our electricity network, it will be gone for good.’

As a keen eyed mX reader pointed out in the newspaper today, Labour really is making campaigns on why we shouldn’t vote Liberal without fully backing up and supporting their own side. Too much attacking and not enough defending as Baird sent out another letter recently, with a more extensive list of goals.

By March 2019, he aims for us to have:

- A vibrant economy with tens of thousands of new jobs for you and your children.

- 200,000 fee-free TAFE scholarships

- New schools and upgraded classrooms with more teachers and modern equipment

- Better hospitals with more frontline healthcare workers, including more nurses, doctors and paramedics.

- Major improvements to our roads and highways, including upgrades to reduce traffic problems and reduce travel times.

- A much improve rail system with new lines and reduced congestion

- More police with extra resources to fight crime and make our streets even safer and

- Lower electricity network prices.’

He ends the letter with ‘PS please think carefully about the future before you vote.’

While Baird’s team aims to keep NSW ‘working’ by improving the infrastructure, the Labour Party has revealed its plans for education, health, electricity privatisation and a halt to coal seam gas activity. These include:

- Every new school included child care or before- and after-school care facilities on site

- Provide funding for 200 specialist maths and science teachers in primary school

- Abolish the co-payment for chemotherapy drugs

- Impose a moratorium on coal seam gas activity

- Keep the electricity system in public hands and use the profits from the electricity network to improve services and invest in hospitals and schools

- Invest an additional $1.7 billion for health infrastructure and

- introduce nurse-led walk-in medical centres to take pressure of emergency departments.’

Environmental plans were also unveiled yesterday by Leader of Opposition, Luke Foley, aiming to commit $150 million for new national parks while prioritising the Great Koala National Park. Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke commented that he thought Labour could win the NSW election, saying that Foley was ‘in with a chance’ while many predict that Baird, our famous ‘smiling assassin’ had a better chance.