New Bristol housing association pledges to build 1,000 homes by 2025

Brighter Places will manage 3,300 homes and has been established after Solon South West and United Communities agreed a merger last year.
Anna Klimzczak, CEO of Brighter Places, the Bristol-based housing association.

A new housing association in Bristol has pledged to deliver 1,000 new eco-friendly homes by 2025 as part of its initial five-year programme.

Brighter Places, based in Eastville, has been established after housing associations Solon South West and United Communities agreed to merge last year.

The housing association launched today (1 April 2021) and will be responsible for overseeing 3,300 homes in the Bristol area.

Brighter Places will now start laying the foundations for its five-year programme, which also includes plans to make £10 million of improvements to its homes.

Brighter Places chief executive Anna Klimczak said: “Today’s launch of Brighter Places is very exciting and hugely significant because we will be building better futures for thousands of people across Bristol and the surrounding areas.

“Providing better services for our residents was the driving force behind Solon and United Communities uniting as Brighter Places, and we will be prioritising service improvements for our residents.

“We will also deliver more and better homes for Bristol and the surrounding areas by investing £10 million more in home improvements and delivering 1,000 new, eco-friendly homes by 2025.

“We will work in partnership with communities, agencies, and groups to make a real difference across the communities we serve.

“Residents will be at the heart of everything we do as we build a better future and overcome challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.”

The merger between Solon South West and United Communities was first proposed last year as it became clear the move would ensure a better service to residents and leaseholders.

The plans received the go-ahead after a comprehensive consultation process with the housing associations’ residents. Residents were also invited to help shape the new brand, with one resident suggesting its new name Brighter Places.

In order to ensure diversity, one resident will sit on Brighter Places’ board. Residents will also be able to monitor the housing association’s performance through a new engagement panel.

Other benefits Brighter Places aims to deliver as part of its initial five-year programme include better customer service, greater investment in tackling anti-social behaviour, and an apprenticeship programme to enable local people to develop professional skills.

Brighter Places chair James Taylor, who led both organisations towards the merger as joint-chair for United Communities and Solon, said: “Both organisations have a proud history of serving communities in Bristol and the surrounding area, providing homes and security for many thousands of families over the years.

“Housing associations face increasingly tough circumstances, economic, financial, and social. We have looked at all options in detail and have found we can do more and better together than we can do as separate organisations.

“Our united approach will have substantial benefits for our communities, for our colleagues, and for the city of Bristol and beyond; and I know that Brighter Places will be a housing association that residents can be proud to call their own.”

Image: Anna Klimczak, CEO of Brighter Places, the Bristol-based housing association. Credit: Antony Thompson/TWM.

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