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Chair Sinéad Butters looks back on 2016 - and forward to 2017

"2016 may be remembered for many things.  Pop icons dying, Cameron exiting, UK Brexiting  and Trump triumphing to name but a few.  For housing, though, 2016 represents an evolution.  An evolving from our old ways, the known approaches and the comfortable, from our campaigning for a status quo, from a return to the good old days. Now we emerge from this period of change and challenge as businesses who are stronger, smarter and savvy.  Who look to the future and sense the direction of travel and strive to influence it for the better.

We call this period "coming of age" at Aspire, where we have battled through this period of change and evolved to survive. And as Chair of PlaceShapers  I'm  privileged to gain insight into the work of others.  And you know, their stories are no different, no less challenging, and no less impactful.  We are still here, indeed, very much so.  Emerging from the rent reductions, with business plans that work, covenants that are met and KPIs delivered has almost been a sleight of hand.  Maybe for those that don't know what we are capable of.  We are planning to build more homes, doubling, tripling even our development programmes.  How did we do this?  We did it through strong leadership and clarity of vision, through great people caring enough to make difficult things work and through the inalienable fact that we survive because what we do is needed.  Needed by too many in this modern age, but needed nevertheless.

What now for us all in 2017? I'm no astrologer but I would say my sense of direction isn't bad.  I guess the future really is in our hands.  1 million homes need to be built, people need housing, care and support, employment and skills offers.  Neighbourhoods require investment and regeneration, people want to feel good again.  

And now, at last we are getting heard, heard for the right things.  Not just saying what won't work, getting known for saying what will and recognising that we can be better, do more and adapt.  We have to.  Our life is in our hands and I wouldn't wish for anything else. Let's back ourselves to deliver."

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