South Lakes Housing (SLH) has completed its ‘promises’ to tenants as a result of a £54 million pound investment into the housing stock following the transfer of homes from South Lakeland District Council five years ago. The company will celebrate its 5th year anniversary on the 5th March.
The independently run local housing association was set up in March 2012 following a positive ballot of tenants who voted overwhelmingly in a ballot for the former council properties to be transferred to SLH. As part of the change in ownership, the new landlord protected tenants’ rights and tenants were promised investment in their homes and services including bringing them all up to the government’s ‘decent homes’ standards. The Tenants’ Committee have been at the forefront of monitoring the delivery of the ‘promises’ ever since and will next week ‘sign off’ the successful delivery of the programme.
The association has exceeded its targets and points to a range of successes including;
- Installing 768 new kitchens and 532 new bathrooms
- Creating 16 new apprenticeship positions
- £1.3M investment in disabled aids and adaptations
- Upgrading boilers and central heating systems to 1,621 homes
- Developing 41 new homes compared to 20 in its original plan
- Taking a tougher stance on anti-social behaviour including 22 injunctions and 3 evictions
- Investing in community initiatives such as health eating projects, school holiday activities and DIY projects
- Collecting several awards along the way including; Westmorland Gazette business awards in 2013 for ‘training and development’, Investors in People ‘Gold’, Gold Award at the Morgan Lambert Gas Safety Awards 2016 for ‘best partnership’ and the winner of the ‘Building Healthier Communities’ category at the 2016 Northern Housing Consortium awards for dementia friendly services.
John Holmes, Chairman of the SLH Board said “The end of the 5 year promises marks a successful and important milestone in our history. Tenants have received the investment that they were promised all those years ago and this is despite some significant economic challenges which we have operated within. We have been able to invest more, build more and recruit more.
We are now looking forward to the future and there are exciting times ahead including increasing our new development programme to over 250 new homes and undertaking repair services to other housing associations. The Board is currently recruiting new voluntary non-executive board directors to help us achieve our growth ambitions and we are particularly looking for directors with high level commercial/management experience and those with expertise in finance, treasury, commercial and/or housing development and asset management”.
Cath Purdy, Chief Executive said “I am absolutely delighted that our Board, Tenants’ Committee, staff and partners have been able to deliver what we promised to tenants and the Council back in 2011. I am proud to lead such a great team which I know is well-respected within the South Lakeland community”.