3 January, 2024

Collaboration and Impact in Winter: Centre Connects Meeting 07/12/23

HACT’s Centre Connects initiative continues to play a pivotal role in promoting collaboration and sharing best practise amongst a diverse network of housing associations and not-for-profit organisations. 

The second Centre Connects meeting of 2023 took place in early December and brought together participants from across the country, divided into three regional clusters: the North, Midlands, and the South. 

Below are some of the key insights and initiatives discussed during the meeting, highlighting the impactful efforts made by various groups to address the challenges faced by communities in social housing.

The North 

The Northern cluster showcased a rich tapestry of initiatives, emphasising the flexibility and tailored approaches that have evolved over the years to meet the unique needs of individuals and communities. 

First Choice Homes Oldham
Livv Housing
Hillcrest Scotland

Participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity to share insights and reassurance, expressing a desire for more collaborative endeavours in the future. 


The Midlands 

The Midlands group discussed strategies for supporting residents during the winter months, with a focus on energy advice, cost of living, and fuel poverty, with the following initiatives discussed: 

Futures Housing Group
Longhurst Group

Participants explored potential collaboration opportunities, including sharing winter warmer events and contact details to facilitate direct conversations. 


The South 

The southern breakout group highlighted various winter initiatives and collaborative efforts to reduce fuel costs and engage communities. 

These initiatives include warm hubs, food pantries, cost-of-living/hardship support, “Warm Winter Wednesdays”, befriending programmes, winter engagement events, and partnerships with organisations like Pocket Power and LEAP, who provide support for high bills. 

Participants emphasised the importance of planning ahead, with the housing association Abri deploying community development officers well in advance of high-intervention periods. 

Collaboration was a recurring theme, with participants keen on working together at the local level. 


Looking ahead 

Early in the new year, The Centre will be launching a bi-weekly webinar series to showcase organisations with valuable support services during the winter.  

The next Centre Connects event will be in March 2024. 


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