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Five new members join PlaceShapers

PlaceShapers has welcomed five new members to its growing network of more than 100 community-based housing providers. Ranging from an association with 420 homes to an ALMO with 18,500 homes along with a BME-led housing association, the new members add to the diversity and breadth of PlaceShapers.

Its newest members are Westward Housing, Orwell Housing Group, Berneslai Homes, Unity Homes and Vectis Housing Association.
Berneslai Homes is the first ALMO (arms-length management organisation) to join after Placeshapers expanded its membership from housing associations to include other not-for profit social providers.

PlaceShapers Chair Sinéad Butters said: “We are delighted to welcome our five new members. As PlaceShapers we unite around shared values. All members are committed to developing communities and helping people to thrive in their local neighbourhoods.
“We expanded our membership because we wanted Placeshapers to be the national network bringing together the values-driven social housing sector to create a unified voice. We wanted others that share our ethos to make us a stronger organisation with a broader base and links into more networks. Berneslai is our first ALMO but, of the three organisations that we are currently talking to about joining, two are ALMOs.”

Placeshapers has also revised its fee structure. This makes it easier for smaller organisations with less than 1000 homes to join by reducing the fee to £500. Landlords with between 1,000 and 5,000 homes pay £2,000 and those with more than 5,000 homes pay £3,000.

Berneslai Homes manages 18,500 homes on behalf of Barnsley Council under a management agreement. Chief executive Amanda Garrard said: “I am keen for Berneslai Homes to learn from and work with members of PlaceShapers. I am pleased that the decision has been made to open up membership to ALMOs and delighted that Berneslai Homes is the first member of the newly expanded membership.”

Westward has 7,500 homes in the south west; predominantly Torbay, Torridge and Cornwall. It also incorporates Horizon Homes, the commercial development arm. It builds new homes across the region, working in partnership with local authorities to rent homes to those in need. Chief Executive, Barbara Shaw, said: “I want Westward to engage with housing providers who are passionate about being a landlord and truly want to make a difference to those they provide homes to.”

Orwell has just under 4,000 homes across Suffolk, the southern part of Norfolk and north Essex with one specialist homeless hostel for vulnerable young women in Cambridge. It has a large number of supported housing schemes and provides care and support in its own schemes. Chief Executive Wendy Evans-Hendrick said: “Orwell is a traditional, community-based association embedded in the communities in which we work. We have recently reinforced our purpose of remaining an organisation which invests and values its customers and communities and the members of Placeshapers appear to share that same ethos and we feel that it is important to collaborate with similar organisation in order to achieve the maximum outcome for our customers."

Unity, with 1,3000 homes, is a leading independent BME-led housing association, committed to improve the lives of people in areas with higher BME population in the Leeds City Region.Chief Executive Ali Akbor said: “We are committed to the principles of PlaceShapers. Networking and sharing with organisations with similar values and beliefs can strengthen all our commitment to communities we serve.”

Vectis Housing Association has 420 homes on the Isle of Wight. It has an extensive private leasing scheme, which includes an arrangement for nominations from the Isle of Wight Council for homeless households.
Chief Executive Martyn Pearl said: “The challenges to deliver homes and services that cater adequately for the needs of their residents, many of whom are struggling financially, is becoming greater. We aim to be innovative and proactive in developing measures to support sustainability and well-being. However, as a small organisation, our capacity to develop expertise in key areas of specialist provision is limited and through PlaceShapers we will engage with and learn from other organisation who may have already developed initiatives and/or are interested in working in partnership to do so.”

About PlaceShapers

• PlaceShapers represent the voices of almost one million homes.
• More than 25% of people who live in a housing association home in England live in a PlaceShapers home.
• PlaceShapers services are used by more than two million people.
• Over 60% of the work done by PlaceShapers is focused on the most deprived communities in the UK.
• PlaceShapers re-invest 100% of their profits into their homes and communities.

All members have signed up to the PlaceShaper ethos:

• Our residents and customers are at the heart of what we do and have genuine impact on our organisations.
• We listen and provide more than just landlord services because we care about people and places.
• We build homes that respond to the needs of the communities we serve.
• Working collaboratively and actively with our local authorities and other local partners enables us to improve and shape places at both a strategic and operational level.
• We are run by members, for members and are committed to a diverse, values-driven social housing sector.

Follow @placeshapers on Twitter.

PlaceShapers five new members Feb 2020

PlaceShaper new member Vectis

PlaceShaper new members Berneslai

PlaceShaper new members Orwell

PlaceShaper new members Westward

PlaceShaper new member Unity

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