Employee benefit scheme supports more than 20 colleagues to buy their own home

myOwnHome, Stonewater’s innovative employee benefit scheme is continuing to transform the lives of colleagues struggling to get onto the property ladder by enabling 22 members of staff to purchase their own home through shared ownership.

Anne Marie Alexander

Launched in 2019, the scheme set out to help colleagues achieve homeownership in a particularly tough housing climate, encompassing Stonewater’s overarching mission to give everyone the opportunity to have a place they can call home.

myOwnHome offers eligible colleagues the opportunity to choose a property available on the open market, either a new-build or re-sale, which Stonewater buys on their behalf. They can then buy a percentage share (the average being 36%) of their home, depending on what they can afford, and pay discounted rent on the rest.

Following the outstanding success of homeworking during the COVID pandemic, Stonewater accelerated its plans to shakeup working patterns and continue its shift to more digital ways of working – giving colleagues more flexibility to work in a way that suits them.

Jenny Sawyer, Director of People, Culture and Change at Stonewater, said: “Rather than reverting back to a ‘traditional desk model’, we launched a brand-new hybrid working model aiming to give colleagues the flexibility to manage their day in a way that’s best for them and their families. To support this initiative and ensure that all colleagues have the provision to work from home, long-term we launched an interest free loan scheme offering colleagues up to £10,000 to create a safe and healthy designated workspace at home.

“As an employee benefit, myOwnHome is an extension to this flexible support, as it gives colleagues the choice of where they want to live, enabling them to optimise a healthy work and homelife balance.”

Since its launch, 22 colleagues have successfully completed through the scheme with another nine currently in the pipeline.

Anne-Marie Alexander, Commercial Services Team Leader at Stonewater thought that she’d never be able to achieve home ownership, especially living in an increasingly expensive area like Bristol. She said: “Before learning of the myOwnHome scheme I’d never even contemplated buying a home.

“Living in Bristol, the reality for me was that it was far too expensive, and so I hadn’t even attempted to try saving for a deposit – but it did motivate me to start.

“I now own my own home at 27 and I couldn’t be happier. Not only is it a three-bedroom house, with a garden but I’ve finally been able to get a dog – something that’s just not been possible most of the time while I’ve been living in rented accommodation.”

The scheme’s success has been recognised in the Best Not for Profit Communications category in last year’s Institute of Internal Communication Awards, for the Central and North region, as well as Best Benefits Communications – Small Employer category at the Employee Benefits Awards.

To find out more about Stonewater’s vacancies, please visit: https://www.stonewater.org/careers/