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Looking ahead – and getting ready to share!

Our PlaceShapers strategy has four strands: We Build, We Work, We Care and We Share. We have focused on three so far – last year’s being We Care which culminated in We Care at Christmas when members up and down the country gave back to their communities.

And 2019 will be the year of We Share. The focus is twofold. Firstly, we want to showcase even more of our members work and facilitate opportunities for members to learn from each other.

Secondly, more sharing on what we do with partners. The focus will be local authorities, exploring how we can develop new partnerships and showcase what works best to build homes and support communities.

This will sit alongside our lobbying and influencing work. Our key priorities will be following up on the Green Paper proposals, pushing for more grant for affordable and social homes in the Comprehensive Spending Review, playing a role in sector wide activity on tackling stigma, doing more work on improving resident engagement and customer service and co-chairing an APPG on housing and employment with GUAC 

To go with this we asked some of our PlaceShapers board members what they hope for in 2019…..

Charlie Norman, PlaceShapers Vice Chair, CEO MSV“2019 marks the 30th anniversary of my lovely dad John Norman departing this mortal coil.  He was a huge Monty Python fan and so would probably describe it that he is no more and has ceased to be!  But to me, he left an indelible imprint on my life and I live every day trying to somehow ensure I do him proud!  John Norman was a well respected self made  business man (from very humble beginnings in Westhoughton, Bolton) and a thoroughly decent human being (he was also a huge fan of Bolton Wanderers and Status Quo bless him).  Having been a keen footballer and athlete, during the 80’s he took up marathon running and always ran to raise funds for the incredible Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, raising tens of thousands of pounds quietly and benevolently.  On 10th December 1989, he was into mile 24 of a marathon in Majorca and suffered a huge heart attack – he died there and then at the age of 53.  This year, to mark the 30th anniversary of his death, I have pledged to raise some funds for Royal Manchester Children’s hospital in various ways.  I have registered to do The Great North Run with the hospital this year (despite my dickie knees), and hope to get a poem he wrote about the Ribble Valley published in Lancashire Life.  A very personal challenge and new year’s resolution and one I am absolutely determined to do.  I am sure he will be with me all the way, pining for the Fjords!”  For more information: www.justgiving.com/Charlienorman50

Sinead Butters, PlaceShapers Chair, CEO Aspire Housing: “My hope is that every housing association builds as many homes as possible and ensures tenants are at the heart of all they do.” 

Claire Higgins, CEO Cross Keys: “I hope that Brexit is progressed smoothly and soon so that much needed legislation that’s in the queue relating to our sector can be dealt with – the Social Housing Green Paper being the obvious one. I hope that the Department for Work and Pensions continue their soft improvements to Universal Credit and that we can develop our local authority relationships even further to embrace the lifting of the Housing Revenue Account cap.”

Matt Campion, CEO Shepherds Bush Housing Group: “My hope is that the stigmatisation of social housing residents ends. The Green Paper addressed the pernicious nature of this. Much of this stigma is grounded in a negative view of people who don’t have money, which is then compounded for those who don’t have money and live in social housing. We have created a low wage/high housing cost economy and so the factors that drive poverty are often beyond people’s control. In our current, Brexit dominated times, division is common and common ground is scarce. Let’s find common ground in giving respect to people who live in social housing.”

Allister Young, CEO Coastline Housing: “My hope is that we start to see the world more clearly, and act based on evidence rather than prejudice and preconception.  So here’s a plea for evidence based housing policy decisions, and for us all to ‘see the person’ in our day to day lives.”

Carol Carter, CEO Origin: “My hope for 2019 is that we are able to successfully leverage the work of the Shelter Housing Commission to build a national consensus for investing in social rented housing as a part of our essential infrastructure, giving everyone the opportunity of a safe, decent affordable home and the foundation for a fulfilling life.”

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