News story published on 4 May 2018
Our determination to tackle the housing crisis has been rewarded with a win in the housing sector’s own Oscars – the UK Housing Awards.
We have won the National Development Programme of the Year category in the awards organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing and Inside Housing magazine.
The award recognises not only our unprecedented growth in development, but our innovative approach to sourcing funding for the building of affordable homes, and our determination to build thriving, vibrant and most importantly supportive communities as a critical element of our new build work. Our development programme has seen us set, and meet, ambitious targets to build at least 500 new homes a year, and we are building strong communities in more areas than ever before, including Milton Keynes, Huntingdonshire and Bedford.
We have recognised that traditional funding sources for building social housing have become more scarce, and we have taken a robust commercial approach, including two key Joint Ventures – with Kier Living and Peterborough City Council – and a number of judicious bonds and loans, most recently £80m from Lloyds and new financial partner Handelsbanken. This approach has allowed us to self-fund on many developments and subsidise development activity that might not otherwise have been open to us, hence giving real breadth and depth to our development plan. It has also allowed us to support our social developments, such as our brand new extra care scheme, Lapwing Apartments.
Our Chief Executive, Claire Higgins, says of the award win: “This win is great news for us, and a real confirmation that our approach to tackling the housing crisis completely in the round is the right one. We are passionate about providing affordable homes for as many people as we can – both to rent and to own through shared ownership. But we are more than a landlord, and we will never compromise on our dedication to making our communities fantastic places to live, as well as supporting the most vulnerable in those communities to succeed, flourish and reach their true potential.”
We were also shortlisted in the Outstanding Approach to Tenant Involvement category, recognising the innovative ways we involve customers in the running of our business, from our ground breaking Residents Board, to our Scrutiny Panel that now operates through Facebook, making it accessible to more people.