At the Federation, we talk about ‘homes’ not ‘housing units’. Housing associations do so much more than build houses. They create places and communities where people want to live, the facilities and opportunities to help them thrive, and the green spaces and community groups that give people a sense of pride and belonging for the place they live.
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive, National Housing Federation
2 August 2019
A key part of our sector’s vision, which we set out in Ambition to Deliver in 2013, is: ‘If you want a great place to live, come to a housing association.’
That’s why the Great Places Commission’s work is so important – it celebrates the best of our sector, and recognises housing associations’ key role in delivering sustainable positive changes in some of the places that need it most.
We convened the Commission – a group of 12 housing association leaders based in the North and the Midlands – in March 2018. We tasked them with exploring what makes a place great, and setting out how housing associations, with support from the Government and working with local partners, can create thriving and successful places. In particular, the Commission focused on places in the North and the Midlands, where the challenge isn’t always one of supply, but of quality, connectivity and opportunity.
The Commission publishes its final recommendations today, and we are excited to begin work with our members to make these a reality. The recommendations are the result of more than a year’s worth of exploration, consideration and conversations with people across the North and the Midlands. They set out practical steps for supporting communities and places across the country – not only in the North and the Midlands – and outline the support needed to make this happen.
And the Commission’s report could not be more timely. In his first major speech as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson pledged an extra £3.6bn for deprived towns, commenting that the Government is going to “put proper money into the places that need it.”
This appears to be a positive step in the direction towards the Commission’s call for a £10bn national fund for regeneration over the next 10 years, which would focus on those places with the greatest need – many of which will be in the North and the Midlands. The Federation has already outlined our support for such a fund, and this will be a key element of our submission to the upcoming Spending Review.
The Commission also calls for the economic role of housing to be recognised in Local Industrial Strategies, and we will support our members to engage with these, as well as sharing best practice, exploring innovative approaches and new ways of working.
We’ll be speaking to our members about this work at regional events across the country, and you’ll have the opportunity to delve into the recommendations in depth and explore how you can help take them forward at the National Housing Summit on 25-26 September.
Housing associations are deeply rooted in local communities and committed to the places they serve. You already do so much great work – but with the right support and the right partners, there is even more our sector can do.