27 April, 2023

Social Value in London housing estates

Andrew van Doorn recently sat down with Marcus Bate, Partnerships, Communities & Sustainability Director at Mount Anvil, to discuss social value and the importance of social value in development.

“Social value is a really important and simple concept: it’s about impact, the impact we make in changing people’s lives and communities.”

Andrew van Doorn

CEO, HACT

The importance of social value cannot be overlooked. It’s one thing to pledge to contribute social value, but it’s another to get your hands dirty and do so. Improving the lives of the people in your community is paramount, and ensuring you can measure this properly is key. Unless you’re measuring outcomes, how will you know if you’re providing social value?

HACT CEO, Andrew van Doorn recently sat down with Marcus Bate, Partnerships, Communities & Sustainability Director at Mount Anvil, to discuss social value and the importance of it.

Improving the lives of local residents

HACT have partnered with Mount Anvil, a London-based property developer as part of their Positive Partnerships. They have built social value into their company from the ground up, making it a part of everything they do. They’re committed to improving not just housing on London estates but improving entire communities.

As well as improving homes, Mount Anvil are committed to providing community centres, spaces where residents can gather and socialise. They’re also creating green spaces, open areas in estates that not only improve how an estate can look, but provide real, tangible benefits to the residents.

Home is where the heart is

Improving homes is what Mount Anvil does best. It’s their business and what they know. Marcus believes that one of the key things to improve is well-being. And the best way to improve well-being? Designing great homes.

“This makes a huge difference to people’s wellbeing. Design a great home that people feel proud to live in and want people to come to, that’s a really good foundation for their working life, that’s energy efficient, less expensive to live in.”

The happier people are at home, the happier they are in all aspects of their lives. This is particularly important following the pandemic, with people spending more time at home with the rise in remote working. And with the rising cost of living and people being forced to cut back, people are spending more time at home than ever before. Indeed, research has shown that people spend around 11 hours more at home a week than just five years ago.

A resident-led approach

It isn’t just people’s homes that Mount Anvil are putting at the forefront of their plans: it’s the people themselves.

“(We have) set up an independent Residents Advisory Panel because we don’t want to be the judges of how well it’s going. We want other parties to be saying to residents ‘how do you feel about your lives as a result of and during your time being around Mount Anvil?’”

And herein lies the key: it’s one thing to try and improve well-being, to focus on social value and your impact, but without measuring your outcomes, how can you know if the work you’re doing is having a positive effect?

How can you measure your impact?

One way to measure the impact of your actions is through HACT’s Social Value Bank. This method of measuring impact allows you to input everything you’re doing, all of your social value schemes and improvements, and see what tangible differences you’re making. It allows you to put a pound figure on your work, to show definitively that you’re improving people’s lives.

 

And ultimately and importantly, social value schemes are not free; they require investment. But by proving the returns on that investment, you can show that the money you’re spending is being used in a worthwhile way, thereby proving just how valuable social value can be.

See the full conversation

Click here to watch the full conversation between Andrew and Marcus on Social Value on London housing estates and learn more about Mount Anvil’s positive partnerships.

Learn more

If you’d like to learn more about how HACT are working with the social housing sector and supply chain partners, have a chat with Head of Social Value Michael McLaughlin

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