Coming Home: At The Florrie

'Coming Home' by my Granddaughter Ellie Melhuish.
‘Coming Home’ by my Granddaughter Ellie Melhuish.

Stories of what didn’t work can be as instructive in the long run as things that did. So I’m leaving this here, in case there may yet be more story to tell…

We are going on site. Keys to our first home will be handed to builders later this week, ready to start work on turning a house that’s been empty for two years back into a home.

Though I haven’t written about Coming Home for some time on here we have been very busy getting everything going. Lots of time on legalities, practical preparations, working with Liverpool City Council’s Empty Homes team and with much help and publicity from BBC Radio Merseyside thank you, so that now we are ready, ready to start work on our first home.

Jayne Lawless of Coming Home, centre, working on our branding (coming soon) with Hayley Oldfield and Fiona Shaw.
Jayne Lawless of Coming Home, centre, working on our branding (coming soon) with Hayley Oldfield and Fiona Shaw.

We have learned so much since we sorted out all of our initial investments and got properly going two months ago. The main learning being how much Coming Home is needed. We’re meeting many empty home owners, looking round lots of empty properties and talking to prospective tenants just like we thought we would. What we didn’t think we’d find to such an extent is such a high level of need. Homes that have become empty needing relatively minor repairs, but over time have deteriorated to the point where they would now need many more thousands spending on them than we can invest at this stage of our enterprise.

Let me explain. We want to use our relatively modest investments to repair as many homes as we can to a good standard, ready for people to live in them again. This will set up the cash flow to keep us going but will also give us the track record to attract the significantly greater investments we’ll need further along the line to then be able to deal with these homes in greater need.

Therefore, at the moment we’re looking for homes that need investment in the relatively low thousands, and where the home owners may even be able to invest along with us and share the costs. So probably fairly recently empty homes that we can sort out before they develop the more serious problems we’ve seen a lot of over these past few weeks.

So – blatant plug – if you know of any empty homes and their owners that fit this description, please pass this blog post on and ask them to get in touch. We’re really excited about what we’re doing, especially as we’re now going on site and even showing prospective tenants around what may be their new home. This is what Coming Home is for. To create homes out of emptiness, with secure tenancies at fair rents people can really afford.

The first home we’re creating is in Walton and all of our early homes will be in the north of the city. This is a commitment we’ve made to one of our investors, The Beautiful Ideas Co, who have invested in us as part of a programme they’ve been running that’s all about doing good things, socially and economically, in North Liverpool. So we’ve been spending a lot of our time there and will do until we’ve paid back this particular investment.

The Florrie, in the Dingle.
The Florrie, in the Dingle.

We’ll also, of course, be working on empty homes all over Liverpool in time and with further investments and so have set ourselves up in some studio space in the Dingle, at The Florrie on Mill Street. A beautiful community building full of wonderful people, and a place for me and my Coming Home Liverpool partner Jayne Lawless to work on all the details of what we’re doing together, and plan out what’s next for Coming Home Liverpool.

Moving in day at The Florrie.
Moving in day at The Florrie.

For the moment we know exactly what that ‘What’s Next’ is. It’s all worked out with the owners the builders, and even the tenants who’ll live there have now been found. So we’re going on site to create a new home for them and with them out of an empty one. The first of many needed. So if you’d like to help us find the next one, and the next one and the next, then please do? Come on Liverpool, let’s do this.

Coming Home Liverpool is the new enterprise we’ve set up to work on empty homes in Liverpool. We are not a charity or a public service, but a social enterprise set up to do good things in ethical ways, at the same time as generating the income and investments we’ll need to turn more and more empty places back into homes again. 

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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  1. All the very best of wishes Ronnie and Jayne in your venture! A truly great vision.
    Also nice to see my neighbour Fiona there too! xx

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