Wrapping up 2020 - our top 12 moments

Anna Duggal, 11 December 2020

It goes without saying that this year has presented more challenges than any of us could ever have expected. As a sector, we have adapted our processes, looked for innovative ways to continue to support our communities, learnt quickly, acted quickly and come out of the other side stronger.

As the year draws to a close, we’d like to look back over the last 12 months and review some of the fruitful things that have come out of 2020, and look at what 2021's priorities will look like.

1. New website

At the start of 2020 we launched our new website, improving accessibility, usability and personalisation.

You can find latest government updates, resources, responses and guidance for housing associations on the different areas under the 'Our Work' tab.

If you want regular updates on particular topics, sign up to our newsletter below.

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2. Our impact

We published ‘Our impact’, which outlines some of the ways we’re working with our members to deliver our business strategy. Our ambition is to enable our sector to do what it does best so we set out three key themes that will guide our work over the next three years:

  • Promoting great quality, exemplified by building safety and customer service.
  • Building trust with tenants, partners, the public, policy makers and regulators.
  • Driving the delivery, which will help end the housing crisis.

All of this work is underpinned by our commitment to provide excellent service to our members, through networking opportunities, exclusive intelligence and tailored support.

Find out more

3. Coronavirus

With the arrival of coronavirus in the UK, the social housing sector had to react and respond quickly.

Adapting to governmental stipulations, protecting our communities and maintaining regular and essential contact were vital and the sector stepped up to the plate.

We saw social housing providers working together to share knowledge and learnings which you can see more on below.

Find out more

4. Webinars

Here at the NHF, we’ve run webinars from our office for the past six years but in 2020 we had to start delivering them remotely. As the UK went into lockdown, the average number of people joining our webinars rose by up to 500% and we have run almost 60 webinars since the start of lockdown.

It’s clear that the accessibility of webinars and the need to hear from people in the know on important topics in a timely and direct manner became even more important.

See our webinars

5. NHF Virtual

Our in-person events had to adapt quickly and in June, we launched a virtual programme of our sector-leading conferences. We knew the importance of coming together, sharing ideas and offering the opportunity to reset your thinking. Since the launch of #NHFVirtual, we’ve run 10 online events, with more coming next year.

See our events

6. Communities Together

During the first lockdown, we launched a campaign to celebrate housing associations’ work with residents, partners and communities in the fight against coronavirus.

This was an incredibly challenging time for everyone and we thought it was vital that we were all able to learn from one another.

Communities Together focused on the ways in which housing associations were finding homes for rough sleepers, helping residents with financial worries, supporting vulnerable residents and working with the NHS.

Find out more

7. Homes at the heart

In June, we partnered with some fantastic organisations to launch Homes at the Heart, a national campaign and coalition calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing.

We organised themed weeks of action to highlight different reasons why investment in social housing is so important.

We also commissioned blogs, articles and media appearances, and concluded with a campaign moment on Twitter.

Find out more

8. Together with Tenants

Together with Tenants is a sector-wide initiative focused on strengthening the relationship between residents and housing association landlords.

In October, we compiled a report of the learnings from the early adopter process which began early 2019. During the process the Tenant Advisory Panel and the early adopters worked with residents to look at how housing associations can commit to changes in their relationship with residents.

The report looks at case studies and includes the final charter so that we can support housing associations as you take it forward in your organisations.

Find out more

9. Code of Governance

In November, we published a new Code of Governance. The new code is built around the key values that good governance is based on – accountability, integrity, openness, and equality, diversity and inclusion. It also draws heavily on our findings from Together with Tenants.

Find out more

10. Diversity

In November, we launched our equality, diversity and inclusion report. The report looks at the social housing sector in England and where we can be looking to improve.

Have a look at our full report and see examples of how you can take this back into your organisation and start a conversation.

Find out more

11. Social Housing White Paper

In November, the government released their social housing white paper, with focus on resident voice and influence which sits in line with the next steps of the Together with Tenants project. Find some useful resources for housing associations around this on our website.

Find out more

Looking forward to 2021

After 2020, we are looking forward to a calmer time in 2021, but we should probably expect another year full of twists and turns.

The hope of the vaccine aside, the NHF and sector will continue to grapple with some significant policy changes and challenges. We will need to come together to tackle our housing crisis, the depth of which was further revealed by the pandemic and its unequal impact on communities.

Our number one priority will continue to be the safety of residents, putting right the systemic failures in construction and regulation that have been revealed. And we will come together to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing the country – the climate crisis and developing a roadmap for social housing towards zero carbon.

Once we are into the New Year, our first port of call will be to work with members to identify the goals we want to reach and outcomes we want to deliver over the next twelve months and beyond.