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PlaceShaper strength

180 delegates attended the sixth PlaceShapers annual conference to work together on challenges that lie ahead.

The importance of providing homes so people can build lives threaded throughout the conference on Thursday 16 October, with the energy, passion and belief of PlaceShapers being the key to delivery.

“When PlaceShapers started it was like a beacon. You’re the people who can focus minutely on what’s happening in neighbourhoods,” said Julia Unwin, CBE, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The conference hashtag  #placeshapers14 trended throughout the day. Click for the Storify summary.

Daniel Fujiwara, from the London School of Economics, stressed that being able to quantify outcomes was crucial and highlighted data showing that each of the thousands of training courses offered by PlaceShapers delivered almost £10,000 in social value.

Patrick Butler, the Guardian’s society, health & education editor, stressed that security and stability set aside social housing from any other rented accommodation. “You maintain and encourage the mixed communities when society is becoming more segregated” he said.

Sinead Butters, Chief Executive of Aspire Housing and PlaceShapers Board Member, chaired a best practice session with presentations from association members Poplar HARCA, Trent and Dove, Colne, Saffron,  South Yorkshire, St Vincent’s, Gentoo, Raven and Aspire.

James McDermot told how his housing association, Trent and Dove, had been key in him kicking his drug addiction and, six years on, he heads up a service helping others get clean too. He said: “I was treated like a human being, not an addict and that’s what made the biggest difference.”

Louise Wilson, Managing Director of Abundance Generation, explained how PlaceShapers could support work to allow ethical opportunities for investors. Their approach had created £7m for renewable energy.

Liam O’Connell, the conference facilitator, helped the conference shoot up through Twitter ratings with a Tweetathon around bringing the PlaceShapers manifesto to life. He said: “You PlaceShapers have the energy, passion and belief to make a huge difference to people’s lives and the communities they live in.”

A performance of street theatre from Cardboard Citizens was a conference highlight. 

Tony Stacey, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Housing Association and Chair of PlaceShapers, said: “The success of our lobbying is testimony to the power of our work. We are firmly established as do-ers. What we do makes a lasting difference locally as well as a significant impact nationally. This conference looked at how we build on that.”



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