The Group is already well on its way to making the £5million of savings that they promised to achieve by year five and are reinvesting that money for the benefit of tenants and communities.
A year ago, six housing associations from either side of the Pennines joined up to create the Together Housing Group. Now, Chevin Housing Association, Green Vale Homes, Harewood Housing, Housing Pendle, Pennine Housing 2000 and Twin Valley Homes are celebrating the successes they’ve achieved ‘together’ in their first year.
In a short time, the 35,000-property Group has become a major player in the housing sector. Tom Miskell, Group Chief Executive, said he was very proud of the achievements over the past year.
The Group secured a £15million grant, from the Homes and Communities Agency Affordable Homes Programme, to build 783 homes across Lancashire and Yorkshire over the next four years.
Earlier this year, they won a competitive bid to provide three extra care schemes in Derbyshire and the group is awaiting the outcome of their bid for the Salford PFI scheme.
The Group has also installed Solar PV panels to 1600 properties, an investment of £15million, in a bid to tackle fuel poverty and reduce our carbon footprint, while supplying qualifying tenants with cheap electricity and being able to return some energy to the national grid.
New renewable technologies are also being piloted such as, air-source heat pumps to help tenants and the environment, and the group is also piloting the Government’s Tenant Cashback scheme, which aims to help tenants develop skills to help themselves in their home and potentially into employment.
Although the group has homes spread across Lancashire and Yorkshire, they have worked hard to make sure that each local housing association remains at the heart of their local community.
A ‘Better Together’ residents group, made up of tenants from all the partner companies, are busy sharing stories and driving change, making sure all customers have a voice.
Staff from across the group are learning from each other and key services are being reviewed to make sure that the best service is being provided.
It’s been a busy year for the Together Housing Group and they have significant plans for community regeneration through their Active Enterprise programmes. Through this they will promote and support enterprise within communities, such as:
• signposting tenants to long-term projects such as New Boundaries: a training programme in conjunction with Groundwork Pennine Lancashire to deliver replacement fencing for our tenants’ homes;
• offering lifestyle skills and qualifications and guaranteed interviews for jobs and apprentice placements;
• offering work based training in painting and decorating to tenants through their empty homes programme;
• establishing a group-wide food growing programme to support volunteering and work-based training and using spare land to develop growing clubs;
• providing business start-up grants and support for social enterprise, especially for tenants to become more active and use their own enterprise to help their communities.
Tom Miskell, Group Chief Executive for the Together Housing Group, said: “The group has made impressive first steps on our journey towards making a better future and it’s a credit to the hard work of everyone involved.”