Community assets matter!

By Frances Haskin - on 19/11/2015

During Community Impact Week, Frances Harkin recognises the benefits of supporting community-managed assets owned by housing providers, and looks to an upcoming HACT roundtable that will share a new toolkit on how to approach Community Asset Transfer.

Social housing providers deliver more than housing to their residents. They also invest in their neighbourhoods, offering a range of support services aimed at improving the lives of residents. Community investment is an important priority for housing providers enabling them to have a positive impact upon local neighbourhoods and communities.

As part of their property portfolio, many housing providers own a range of community assets. These buildings often play a pivotal role in local neighbourhoods, offering residents a place to meet, socialise and work together, promoting a sense of collective ownership and creating cohesive and socially sustainable communities. The management of these assets is key to their success in communities, yet there are limited resources available about the strategic management of these assets or their potential in the social housing sector. Whilst housing providers recognise the value of working with local community and voluntary organisations and local social enterprises to use and operate these community buildings, these relationships are not always clearly defined.

In order to maximise the potential of its community asset portfolio, Affinity Sutton cultivated an innovative strategic approach to managing community assets, known as Community Asset Transfer: the transfer of the management of land, buildings or facilities from the housing provider to a community organisation. This approach has enabled Affinity Sutton to build the capacity of local community and voluntary organisations to run successful community assets, whilst ensuring their financial sustainability.

Working in partnership with Affinity Sutton, HACT has developed a toolkit to support housing providers in developing their approach to Community Asset Transfer. This toolkit draws upon the experiences of Affinity Sutton and community based organisations that have engaged with the Community Asset Transfer approach and is designed to disseminate this learning and good practice.

Following on from the successful release of the Community Asset Transfer toolkit in September at the National Housing Federation annual conference, we are delighted to officially launch the toolkit with Affinity Sutton at a networking event on 8 December 2015.

This exciting event will enable attendees to take advantage of the shared learning that has emerged from the development of these resources. There will be an opportunity to learn about Community Asset Transfer from the perspectives of Affinity Sutton and community organisations who have engaged in the process. Speakers will cover a range of topics including the implementation of a Community Asset Transfer approach as well as the operational realities and practical challenges of this process. The event will also provide attendees with an invaluable opportunity to network with peers facing similar challenges and who are finding innovative solutions to the financial and regulatory pressures facing community investment in the social housing sector.

This research was funded by Affinity Sutton.

Places are free at the event, but space is limited! Sign up here. If you are interested in the launch of the toolkit or would like more information about the toolkit itself, please contact frances.harkin@hact.org.uk

 

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