Ahead of the next Community Investment seminar, Simon Underwood, Director at Social Regeneration Consultants discusses the need to find more integrated solutions to current community investment activities
The second of the current HACT series of community investment seminars takes place next week, focusing on the relationships between health, wellbeing and employment. Simon Underwood from SRC, HACT’s partners for the work, sets the scene.
We all know that the new normal for housing associations is belt tightening, doing more with the same and, often, less. This necessarily prompts a re-evaluation of priorities, even a revisiting of core values. For associations which have previously seen their mission as broader than that of simply housing providers (that’ll be most of you then), budgetary pressures mean a rethink and refresh of their wider commitments to communities.
For many organisations this means an even closer focus on what can be done about the big issues of vulnerability, ageing, the financial strength and physical and mental health of their customers. What are the best and most effective ways of achieving meaningful and sustainable impacts for the most vulnerable people? And how to do it to achieve the best outcomes for individuals whilst reducing, or at least getting more for, the business costs. How can we better connect and work with the partners essential to doing this, like the NHS, local authorities, charitable trusts and foundations, Job Centre Plus and contractors and developers?
These relationships are going to be critical to driving more social and business value through community investment activity and, in so doing, deliver impact in all service areas. We need to get better at aligning community investment with ‘core’ business areas, such as housing management and maintenance, better understand need, and potential, through data, collaborate with external organisations and agencies to fill service gaps and add value and measure all this in a comprehensive and integrated way.
So there are many challenges, and not least when tackling the issues of vulnerability and physical, mental and economic health in our tenants. And there are also many opportunities, not least to find better and more integrated solutions to these problems but also to reconfigure community investment for new times, to reassert its value and necessity and develop a really coherent and connected approach to maximizing social value as part of business success.
There are a few places left at this seminar on 24th January in London. You can register for your place here.