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PlaceShapers are part of the housing crisis solution

PlaceShapers have a unique mix of strengths that could help solve the nation's housing crisis and stimulate economic growth, according to speakers at its annual conference.

Grainia Long, new chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, chaired a panel debate with leading academics including Richard Scase from the University of Kent, Ian Cole, from Sheffield Hallam University and David Mullins from the University of Birmingham.

The debate looked at the global, national and sector trends and painted a rather gloomy picture for the housing association leaders.

However, speaker Duncan Fraser of The Mindful Leadership Foundation highlighted the difference that strong leadership could make within the sector. He said: "We cannot predict the future but we can create the right mix of skills and resilience to deal with whatever the future might hold."

Keynote speaker and crossbench peer Lord Richard Best (pictured above left) said: "The engine of growth is the construction industry and it will be housing that drives it and brings us out of recession. It is the size and scale of PlaceShapers' organisations that makes you fit for this operation. Your local roots, skills and understanding make you ideal partners for local authorities and housebuilders to feel comfortable with for the long term. You are the people we are all waiting for."

Pat Ritchie, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency told delegates: "Housing has a central role to play in driving economic growth and at the community level PlaceShapers' members are ideally positioned to demonstrate how their place-based focus helps local neighbourhoods to address a range of everyday social, environmental and economic issues."

After the conference PlaceShapers chair Tony Stacey said: "PlaceShapers' members own half a million homes and provide services to more than a million people. As such we have the power to make a real difference especially when times are going to be so tough for our communities."

The fifth annual conference was held on May 17 and attended by 120 chief executives and senior managers from across the country. It was held on the day the Chartered Institute of Housing, National Housing Federation and Shelter launched their Joint report into the government's failings in tackling the housing crisis.


Conference speakers and facilitators: In addition to the ones mentioned above the following were also involved in making the event a success:

David Goodhart, director of DEMOS think tank

Karen Wilson, CEO, Origin Housing / PlaceShapers Steering Group Member

Lindsey Williams, CEO Futures HG / PlaceShapers Steering Group Member

Press contact: Kelly Field, The Bridge Group 07771 928369,

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