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Now we're cooking on gas

Frances Turner applied for an equity loan with her partner in April 2004.

Now the couple own their own home in London that they really enjoy. It means the keyworker living scheme has fulfilled its purpose by helping to retain the 26-year-old English teacher's services in the capital.

"We had been renting in London," says Frances, "but because we both work in jobs we believe in, we could only afford a one-bedroom flat. We were thinking that we'd have one more year of renting and then leave London to find more space."

Frances is in her second year as an English teacher. She is on the fast-track scheme and already has management responsibility, overseeing English for key stage 3 and taking responsibility as literacy co-ordinator at Brampton Manor School, in Newham, east London.

The fast-track teacher programme, Brampton Manor's challenging school status and her expertise in a shortage subject gave Frances 11 points under the new keyworker living scheme.

Her partner, Paul, works for the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod) in Brixton, south of the Thames and is not classified as a key worker.

With a combined household income of less than pound;80,000, the couple qualified for the maximum equity loan of up to pound;100,000. (For sums up to pound;50,000, your household income must not exceed pound;60,000.) Savings of pound;7,000, a mortgage of pound;143,000 and an equity loan of pound;100,000 enabled them to buy a Victorian maisonette in Bow, east London, for Pounds 250,000.

"Now we've got two bedrooms and a huge kitchen which opens on to the garden," says Frances.

"The kitchen was a real bonus - Paul has Italian roots and is a foodie. All of the purpose-built units we'd been looking at had tiny kitchens.

"We love the idea of the kitchen as a social room, the heart of a home, and can invite friends around now to enjoy Paul's cooking."

Their loan came through Metropolitan Home Ownership. Frances downloaded an application from its website.

Metropolitan Home Ownership www.mbo.co.uk

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