Every year, we invest £1.7m into our community investment programme to support local communities with projects such as financial and wellbeing support and digital inclusion.
We also help people with work, employment and training opportunities, and invest £570,000 each year into our tenancy sustainment service, supporting residents who are experiencing financial difficulties.
Last year, we:
- Engaged with 5,550 customers in health, wellbeing and financial inclusion projects
- Distributed £330,496 of grant funding to improve our programme of community work to support customers and communities
- Through partnerships with local partners and business and bidding on funding we raised more than £540,000 to develop services for customers
- Delivered over £10m in social value
Social value is a way to measure the impact of our projects and ensure that we deliver effective services. The social value calculator - used across the housing sector - enables us to quantify things that are not inherently quantifiable (such as wellbeing and mental health) and measure the unseen financial value to the people and communities who have used our services.
Why do we invest in supporting communities and individuals?
The work we do has never been more important. Continued local authority budget cuts have led to increasing living costs and limited access to external support services.
Our community insight data shows those living in social housing and on low incomes are more likely to face the impact of the growing social inequalities.
We tackle inequality and create opportunities for customers to improve their life chances, working collaboratively with local authorities and partner organisations.
A key focus of our work is enhancing community spaces. Read about one of the community spaces we worked on last year:
Case study: Selby Square, Queen’s Park
Queen’s Park, in Westminster, is in the top 20% of socially deprived neighbourhoods in the UK, where 20% of households are defined as overcrowded, 40% of children in the ward are living in poverty and one third are eligible for free school meals. (Figures from the Office of National Statistics). The area also has only 4.4% of shared public space, compared with Westminster’s average of 22%.
Last year, we began working with the local community to transform a disused public space, Selby Square, into a community orchard.
With funding of £45,573 from Westminster City Council and £42,133 from the HS2 Community Environment Fund, the aim is to create an attractive place for people to meet and to deter anti-social behaviour.
The space will provide the local community with opportunities to grow and eat fresh produce, impacting, in a small way, on the rising cost of food. It’ll also be a place where people can exercise in open air and relax with nature in a densely populated neighbourhood.