3 Housing Providers With Awesome Social Projects

Posted on the 15th November 2018

Regenda has social value on their agenda.

Regenda housing provider

Founded in 2001 as a provider of social housing, The Regenda Group has evolved and diversified in order to meet its core purpose of regenerating places and creating greater opportunities for residents.

The Regenda Group is aware that a house in itself does not offer a complete solution to some of the greater challenges facing communities. Instead, its social philosophy, which is embedded in its core purpose, ensures that Regenda makes a bigger contribution with all the work that it does.

Our core purpose is to regenerate places to create opportunities for people and part of that is through delivering social value. In the past, this would be through the provision of homes but now due to the expansion of the Group, we are able to have a greater impact in our communities and beyond.

Nina Peters, Director of Business Transformation at The Regenda Group.

The Regenda Group is now made up of eight subsidiary organisations, working across a range of sectors, including housing, homelessness, construction and training.

Given the range of subsidiaries owned by Regenda, it is unsurprising that they offer a wealth of socially valuable projects designed to make a profound difference in people’s lives. Following a chat with Nina Peters, Director of Business Transformation, one of the most their striking and inspiring projects involves a new partnership with the mental health charity, Chasing the Stigma.

As this partnership is the first example in the UK of a housing association and national mental health charity coming together, this is an initiative worth celebrating.

This is a topical issue which is being more openly discussed. Mental health is something that can affect any member of society.

Following staff feedback, Regenda has committed to provide all 700 staff with high quality, mental health training in order to improve staff understanding, create a more empathetic staff culture and to offer appropriate solutions to all stakeholders challenged by mental health, namely through the Hub of Hope app.

This partnership will also benefit Regenda customers, as staff can use their knowledge and experience to support Regenda communities.

Here at Impact, we are extremely passionate about mental health, and we endorse any campaigns that champion mental health awareness, just like this project spearheaded by our sister company, Reason Digital. As such, we want to congratulate Regenda for advocating such an important cause. We can’t wait to see the social impact results!

One Manchester: Many social initiatives.

housing providerOne Manchester, a housing provider who operates within the Greater Manchester area, aspires to create resilient and thriving communities by reinvesting surpluses back into their spaces. In doing so, One Manchester seeks to reinvent what ‘traditional’ social housing looks like, challenging pre-existing perceptions by developing a diverse array of homes in alignment with their clear, astute social value agenda – as articulated in the second iteration of their Social Investment Strategy.

Within this strategy, there is an obvious social direction that clearly demonstrates the ways in which they are supporting local groups, building resilient local economies, developing their green spaces and investing in better infrastructure to improve the wellbeing of their residents, helping their places thrive more independently.

There is an impression, a stigma that housing providers are stuck in the past. But that isn’t what we’re about. We’re about providing homes and social outcomes.

Anton Schultz - Social Investment Manager at One Manchester

As discussed in our article on housing and health, there is a growing awareness about how housing providers can offer tangible solutions to the increasing pressures faced by the NHS. “One Manchester’s approach to wellbeing and support, and the new “Be Well” social prescribing service provides a shining example of how housing providers and the NHS can work together to improve health. This service compliments their existing wellbeing support services which have been supporting potentially vulnerable tenants to improve their lives since One Manchester formed.

Scheduled for launch in November 2018, this scheme is a collaboration with local voluntary organisations Southway Housing and Wythenshawe Housing Association, led by The Big Life. It sets out to demonstrate how housing providers can work with other local groups to address social wellbeing issues, by providing employment, support and advice to people with non-medical needs, who often turn to the NHS for their requirements. This is the first example of this service being commissioned in Central and South Manchester, so we are extremely excited to see how this initiative improves Manchester’s health and wellbeing outcomes.   

Places for People: Beyond traditional social housing.

Housing provider

Places Impact is a charitable vehicle that operates within the overarching Places for People Group. Places Impact is necessary as Places for People are committed to having a social impact across the UK through a variety of outlets, and due to the diversity of their properties – from student accommodation to retirement villages – affordable housing is a key channel for delivering that social value.

The charity exists to inspire, maintain and catalyse social value across the business. This is fundamentally down to the ethos of Places Impact, as they continuously seek out opportunities to “deliver social value”. Places Impact is one of many groups embedded within Places for People that provide social value by challenging some of the prevalent issues within their communities. What’s more, they dedicate their time to collating and analysing their social value, thus gaining insight into how they can innovate across the placemaking sphere.

We got in touch with Jamie Dickinson, Head of Social Value at Places for People, to explore some of these socially valuable projects to gain insight into the work of ‘housing providers’ in delivering social good.

You’ve got social value, and then you’ve got CSR. CSR sits apart from the business, whereas we look at what can be derived from our core business.

Jamie Dickinson - Head of Social Value at Places for People

Places for People adhere to a ‘shared growth’ approach to their actions. Following their own growth as a business, Places for People look at areas that have a high concentration of stock and reinvest in local social infrastructure. This was deemed as an appropriate action as the traditional model of landlord and tenant as two separate entities were intrinsically costly, inefficient, and limiting in reaching hard to reach groups within their communities.

One solution that was strategically implemented to combat the isolation of specific community groups was the Golden Centre of Opportunities. This south Manchester based centre now has a legacy of tackling unemployment within the local African community, by providing career and employment training and support for people with their tenancy. Courses available include child care, health and social care, and interpretation services, alongside a host of apprenticeships for those aged between 16-24, thus providing people with vocational skills that can be reinvested back into the community and infrastructure. The Golden Centre of Opportunities is an excellent example of how something relatively small can have a massive social impact and they are well worth celebrating.

This is one of many projects that Places for People is committed to, and we can’t wait to hear more about what they have planned for 2019.

About the Author:

Lee Smorthit

Marketing and Social Value Executive

Following the completion of his MSc in Digital Marketing Communications, Lee joined the Impact team in 2018 to set a marketing direction for the company, and to apply his research capabilities to further develop the Impact tool, ensuring that our software as a service (SaaS) is client-friendly and accessible.

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