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National recognition for new housing scheme named after inspirational Leeds teacher

A recently completed affordable housing development named in honour of Gertrude Paul, the first black teacher in Leeds, has been shortlisted for a high-profile national award.

Gertrude Paul Court, containing 24 flats, is the larger of two blocks of an innovative Unity Homes and Enterprise scheme at Leopold Street in Chapeltown comprising 30 one and two bedroomed homes for people aged 55 and over.

The project has been shortlisted by the Inside Housing Development Awards for Best Affordable Housing Development (less than £10 million) for “a development that creates a new community and a desirable, high-quality place to live that residents can afford.”

Gertrude Paul Court was officially opened in March by Heather Paul, Gertrude’s daughter, at a celebratory gathering attended by tenants, project partners and guests including the Leader and Chief Executive of Leeds City Council.

Heather also unveiled a specially commissioned artwork celebrating her mother’s legacy which is on permanent display inside the building.

The Unity scheme is part of a wider £9.3 million development of 63 affordable homes.

The other properties form a brand new cohousing community, Chapeltown Cohousing.

Homes England provided £1.4 million in grant support to the project with the Housing Infrastructure Fund allocating £1.34 million.

Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise Chief Executive, said: “Gertrude Paul was rightly revered for her absolute commitment to improving the life chances of her pupils.

“Alongside our focus on providing high quality affordable homes, Unity is equally driven by a desire to create life opportunities and address inequalities in local communities.

“We are therefore doubly proud that this development, which carries Gertrude’s name, has received national recognition by being shortlisted for such a respected national award.”

The award winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Friday 29 September.

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Picture Gertrude Paul Court which has been shortlisted by the Inside Housing Development Awards   Unity Homes and Enterprise Unity Housing Association was formed in 1987 with the objective of building a strong, BME-led, community housing association to address the needs of black and minority ethnic communities in Leeds.  The initial focus was on Chapeltown, but this has widened to other areas of the city including Harehills, Beeston, Holbeck, Chapel Allerton and Pudsey.  Alongside two schemes in Huddersfield, a new affordable housing development has recently been completed in Cleckheaton.  With a turnover of £6.8 million and an annual investment in new and existing homes of around £6.5 million, Unity now manages over 1,350 properties for tenants from all communities and ethnic backgrounds. In 2000 the association established its not-for-profit subsidiary company, Unity Enterprise, to support local entrepreneurial activity.  It now provides 142 affordable business units for more than 80 diverse businesses across three centres in Leeds. Unity Employment Services (UES) was set-up in 2011 to support Unity tenants and their surrounding communities in accessing employment and training opportunities.  It has since supported more than 1,700 individuals into work and training.

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