Bond scheme helps attract key workers to district

Help is at hand to make it easier for people to move to north Oxfordshire to take up work in key public services.

Published: Monday, 11th November 2019

Cherwell District Council has launched a Key Worker Bond Scheme, which removes a big barrier to people taking up work in our area. Instead of needing a large cash deposit to move into a new rented home, nurses, care workers and others can apply to the scheme. The council will then issue a bond to the tenants’ landlord, equivalent to the value of 10 weeks’ rent.

The approach is expected to help employers such as Oxford University Hospitals overcome recruitment challenges for clinical staff including support workers across all their sites, such as the Horton General Hospital. Hospital staff working either in Oxford or Banbury can benefit from the scheme if they want to live in north Oxfordshire.

Jane Nicholson, interim chief people officer at Oxford University Hospitals, said: “We welcome this new policy by Cherwell District Council. It will help us offer more options for accommodation to people who want to work for our Trust.

“Those working at our Oxford sites have the chance to get affordable homes by moving into Cherwell district, a short commuting distance, well served by public transport, while this will also help staff working at the Horton to live locally.”

Karen Fuller, deputy director in adult social care at Oxfordshire County Council, said: "In a place like Oxfordshire where the cost of living is so high it can be more difficult than elsewhere to recruit and retain staff in to the social care profession. This scheme will be of great assistance and is an exciting opportunity."

The scheme is also open to people who are already in work in a key service but who need to move home for any reason, to aid the retention of staff.

Professions such as teachers, firefighters, paramedics, social workers, occupational therapists, MOD staff and others are all included in the scheme. People working in other vital services who are not listed may also contact the council and see if they are able to apply.

To be eligible, workers must be working in or have a start date in a key service and be unable to afford a deposit. The council also carries out an affordability check to make sure the proposed tenancy is affordable for the applicant.

For more information see Housing for key workers.