Departing Chair, Sid McDowell, thanked for his work with 8595 families over last nine years

 Co-Ownership has officially opened its new offices at Moneda House, Wellington Place, Belfast. The new space reflects the organisation’s workplace culture with an open plan office creating a shared environment for all staff.   The modern facilities have been designed with employee interaction and wellbeing in mind.  There are breakout rooms to facilitate meetings and private conversations, whilst a boardroom has been designed for large meetings and events.

The offices were formally opened by Co-Ownership’s departing Chair, Sid McDowell and incoming Chair, David Little. Sid is stepping down from his role after nine years of service, during which time his work supported 8595 families into home ownership across Northern Ireland.

Commenting on his departure, Sid said: “It has been a pleasure to hold the role of Chair of Co-Ownership for almost a decade. Co-Ownership’s work makes a huge difference to families across Northern Ireland and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to contribute my time and expertise to help people into home ownership.

“There are many reasons why people need help to buy a home, and although my time with Co-Ownership has come to end, the organisation’s work has never been more relevant. Over the last 12 months, despite the pandemic, Co-Ownership helped over 1000 families and individuals into homes.  I am delighted to have been able to work with the fantastic team at Co-Ownership to help these co-owners into their own homes, which may not have been possible for these families otherwise.”

New Chair, David has been a member of the Co-Ownership board since 2014, serving on the Audit, Risk & Governance Committee and has a wealth of experience in property and construction. He holds a BSc in Civil Engineering  from Queen’s University Belfast and an MBA from Ulster University and was NI Director of National House Building Council’s (NHBC) until his retirement in 2017. He has a continuing interest in housing development and is currently also Chair of ‘Forum for a Better Housing Market NI’.

Commenting on his appointment, David said: “I’m delighted to take up the role of Chair and hope that over the coming years, I can have as positive an impact on local communities as Sid has had. All of us here at Co-Ownership are acutely aware of how important home ownership is to the lives of people across Northern Ireland and to our economy, and this understanding will drive us all forward as we continue to make buying a property as accessible as possible.

“Co-Ownership has over a 40-year legacy in Northern Ireland and has helped 30,000 people in this time. As buyers face new challenges post-pandemic, such as rising house prices and financial insecurity, Co-Ownership will steadfastly maintain its role as a facilitator to help as many people as possible into home ownership.”

Co-Ownership is a not-for-profit organisation, supported by Department for Communities, and offers people the opportunity to purchase a property up to the value of £165,000. Successful applicants get a mortgage on the share of a home they can afford (between 50% and 90%) through Co-Ownership’s partner lenders. Co-Ownership covers the cost of buying the remaining share and as they become able to, co-owners can increase their share until they own all of their home.

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