A SINGLE mother aims to provide affordable housing to people on low incomes as part of her social enterprise.
When Virginia Bowker’s husband walked out on her six years ago, she decided to put her energy into helping people and she volunteered at her local church, setting up a support service for people in debt.
After working at various lettings agencies, the 39-year-old decided to set up her own business - Bowker Lettings, in Leigh Street, Wigan.
Established one month ago, she has 20 properties on her books and she is working with Blue Orchid to set up a social enterprise alongside the business to help people on low incomes find suitable accommodation.
Virginia, a mother-of-three, from Wigan, said: “I want to help people on low incomes find landlords who won’t rip them off with high admin fees.
“A lot of tenants are having to move from a three-bedroomed house to a two-bedroomed property because they are losing housing benefits and don’t want to pay the extra bedroom tax.
“There are people who struggle to get guarantors – people on benefits, or have just come out of prison, and I can help them find housing.
“I have placed people from housing shelters and have been working with The Brick.
“I recently helped a woman who had come out of prison by finding her a place to live and a church agreed to pay her first month’s rent for free. I have only just set up, but my future plan is to purchase properties through the social enterprise and help people struggling to find housing.”
Virginia got a lot of support from Blue Orchid and hopes to use her success to inspire other single parents to set up their own business.
She said: “I talked with a lot of businessmen that I knew and they told me what I needed to do.
“I hope this would encourage single parents that they don’t have to live off benefits and run their own business.”