Manchester conference explores impact of housing providers’ social value

Lee Sugden (Demo)

HOUSING providers from across Greater Manchester have been comparing notes on the social value of their operations to see how much of an impact they have on improving communities.

Social value is commonly defined as the positive changes people experience in their lives due to the actions of an organisation or business.

At a regional conference, yesterday, held at The Cooperative Group’s Angel Square headquarters in Manchester, housing professionals from across the region gathered to explore the housing sector’s impact.

For the housing sector, social value often refers to perceived community benefits that can be derived from an organisation’s procurement policies, such as requiring supplier to take on apprentices from the local community, or to pay their staff the Real Living Wage.

To coincide with the Greater Manchester Social Value Network event, the 26 organisations that make up the Greater Manchester Housing Providers (GMHP) network released figures which show the collective social value their work has created.

“It’s so important for us to record our social value impact because it measures the benefits of what we do from the perspective of our tenants and communities,” said Lee Sugden (main image), chief executive of Salford’s Salix Homes, who serves as chair of the GMHP’s social value group.

“As a sector, we are so much more than bricks and mortar. Our collective social value efforts can take someone out of homelessness, guide a person into employment, or help someone overcome personal issues and increase their confidence. By sharing the same social value goals, housing organisations and businesses are making a real difference in Greater Manchester.

“It’s vital we shine a light on this activity. It helps society at large to understand that we’re not here just to provide housing, there’s so many other benefits to what we do.”

For the 2018/19 financial year, according to the GMHP’s social value figures, its members collectively supported 6,561 residents towards work and helped 2,342 into jobs. Furthermore, they let 1,988 homes to people who were previously homeless and completed 1,237 new-build properties.

Meanwhile, over £4.3 million was spent with local not-for-profit organisations and 110 community and voluntary organisations were engaged in formal alliances or contracts. £2.19 million in grants were awarded to the community and voluntary sector.

The figures also show that housing staff volunteered 9,911 hours of time to support local communities, while 2,347 residents got involved in volunteering.

The Greater Manchester Social Value Network event was attended by 120 representatives of housing providers, businesses and other organisations from across the region. The Co-operative’s chief executive Steve Murrells and former Labour MP and secretary of state for communities and local government Hazel Blears were keynote speakers at the event.




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