11 November 2020

YMCA Heart of England has won the Best Social Housing Development Award at the Midlands Residential Property Awards 2020, for the refurbishment of our hostel in Northfield, now called Magdalene Court. It was a challenging development, transforming an outdated building into a modern facility providing 64 rooms for vulnerable people whilst keeping as many vulnerable people housed as possible while the work was carried out.

The hostel was originally opened in 1962 with small single bedrooms and shared bathrooms. It had not been significantly updated since then. The refurbishment, which created 64 rooms each with en suite facilities, was made possible thanks to £3.07m funding from Homes England]. The single large kitchen was replaced with smaller communal kitchens on each corridor, and new facilities have been provided to allow YMCA and external agencies to provide more support to residents of the hostel with a focus on health and training. There is also space that is being made available for the community to use.

In their feedback, the judges commended the fact that housing project continued to provide accommodation safely for homeless people throughout the refurbishment process, maintaining vital support services for the residents. They also commented on the challenging nature of the building, with contractors discovering hidden asbestos in their first week on site.

Making the announcement, YMCA Heart of England Chief Executive, Alan Fraser said: “We are delighted to have won this award and for the hard work of the team to be recognised in this way.

“The team at Magdalene Court provide a wide range of support for some of the most vulnerable people in our city and help to transform lives on a daily basis. The modern facilities that it now provides ensure that we can provide the highest standards of accommodation with excellent support for all of our residents.”

The remodelling of the facilities was designed by Vivid Architects of Worcester, and the construction work was undertaken by local builders, Construction & Fit-Out Solutions (CAFOS).

Mr Fraser said: “We could not achieved this award without the support of experienced professionals. Throughout the who process we have been committed to designing and delivering the highest quality scheme possible and we’re proud that our commitment to excellence has been recognised.”

Having completed the refurbishment of Magdalene Court, YMCA Heart of England is continuing the redevelopment of our Northfield site by erecting a new block of 27 homes for formerly homeless young people, financed by generous grants from Homes England and the Heart of England Community Foundation.

YMCA Heart of England was formed from the merger of YMCA Birmingham and YMCA Coventry & Warwickshire.  It draws on a combined experience of 300 years of supporting young people.

Magdalene Court is part of YMCA Heart of England’s commitment to increasing the amount of high quality accommodation that it provides across Birmingham and to ensuring that all residents get the support they need to help to build a better life.