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PlaceShapers perfect examples of innovation and creativity, says Greg Clark, Secretary of State

PlaceShapers role in solving the housing crisis was highlighted at its seventh conference in the heart of Westminster. The Rt. Hon. Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State, in his speech stressed that a respectful and proactive partnership between PlaceShapers and the Government would lead to solutions.  He said: “If anything shows there’s more to housing policies than homes, it’s your work.”

He added: “You represent the biggest alternative to the status quo. You have the energy, expertise and capacity to build the homes the country needs.

In recognising that PlaceShapers built homes when others have found it too challenging, he said: “The commercial sector can learn from you. If you look at the commercial sector there’s not the diversity. If there is diversity you build more homes.”

He made clear the government’s commitment to affordable homes. He said: “There will always be people who need and want rental and shared ownership.”

To read the full speech, click here.

Sinéad Butters, Chair of PlaceShapers and Chief Executive of the Aspire Group, said feedback from the conference would inform her evidence at the committee stage of the Housing and Planning Bill next Tuesday.

She said:  "The Secretary of State made clear the need for homes across all tenures to solve the country's housing crisis. He also made clear the value the Government places on our partnership. We welcome his commitment to ensuring that any house building programme includes homes for affordable rent and shared ownership. However, we remain concerned that new provision will be at the expense of social housing for those on low and variable incomes. The answer to the question "But where are the poor to live?" posed to Greg by Tony Stacey remains unclear. Whilst PlaceShapers' member HAs will continue to provide for such need where possible, this should also be integral to national housing policy. We hope therefore that the final Bill will reflect this understanding so that we can continue to work with our local partners and Government to deliver rounded solutions to identified housing needs.”

Tenants were at the heart of the conference. Greg Clark said of this: “PlaceShapers represent the views of tenants in a way that other housing providers don’t.”

Jenny Osborne, Chief Executive, TPAS lead a session called #proudtenant with inspiring presentations from:

Carole Burchett, Chair, Scrutiny Panel, Soho Housing

Ian Douthwaite, Eden Housing Association

Jennie Ferrigno, Chair, Red Kite Community Housing

Alf Hannaford, North Star Housing Group 

Sinead said: “I would like to thank these tenants for sharing their stories so generously and movingly. Their personal drive and determination, coupled with support from PlaceShapers members, has made such a difference to their lives as well as many others.”

There were also presentations on the work of PlaceShapers from The Accord Group, Thames Valley Housing and Octavia Housing. The conference started with Duncan Fraser from The Mindful Leadership Foundation looking at how to get the rest results out of leading change. It closed with Darrell Woodman showing how to stay positive through the Art of Brilliance. 

The conference hashtag #placeshapers15 buzzed throughout the day. Click for the Storify summary.

The conference, attended by180 delegates, was on Thursday 5 November.


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