Wednesday 27 September
09:00 — 16:00
The Birmingham Conference & Events Centre, Hill St, Birmingham B5 4EW
Past Event

The Centre for Excellence in Community Investment Conference

It’s back – and in person – for 2023!

Featuring speakers from across social housing, as well as experts in place-based activities, the Centre for Excellence in Community Investment Conference is the only in-person event designed for community investment colleagues working across social housing.

Alongside illuminating presentations from speakers about the opportunities, challenges and future of delivering excellence in community investment in place, there will also be action-based workshops. These will be an opportunity for you to work with colleagues from across the UK to share ideas and design solutions to the key issues facing residents.

After running numerous online webinars over the last three years, we can’t wait to come together in person at our community investment conference in September, for a chance to build on the connections we’ve made and the expertise we’ve witnessed from across the sector.

Buy your early bird ticket: £150 per delegate*

*If you work for a small HA (under 1,000 homes) or a community-based organisation, please contact us via communities@hact.org.uk for information about discounted tickets.

 

Take advantage of our early bird offer

Book your tickets here!

Sponsored by

Working in place: the opportunities, challenges and future of delivering excellence in community investment



Wednesday 27 September   –   09:00 — 16:00   –   The Birmingham Conference & Events Centre, Hill St, Birmingham B5 4EW

Morning Agenda

09:00 – 10:00 – Arrival and networking

10:00 – 11:00 – The opportunity of place

Presentations from key speakers from across and beyond social housing, discussing the opportunities for community investment in place, followed by a panel session hosted by Andrew van Doorn, Chief Executive, HACT

11:00 – 11:15 – Refreshment break

11:15 – 12:15 – Breakout sessions*: How can we work together to overcome the challenges and deliver in place?

Each breakout session will include presentations from speakers as well as the opportunity for questions and feedback from delegates:

  1. How can housing use the place-based perspective of health to drive outcomes for their tenants?
  2. How do we use regeneration to drive forward community investment through social value?
  3. How do housing associations attract funding into place?
  4. How housing has worked collaboratively in place – lessons learned and challenges overcome?
  5. How do we deliver successful employment programmes in place and support the just green transition?
  6. The hyperlocal perspective: how do HAs work at the neighbourhood level

*Choose your preferred session when signing up. Please note, we have to limit the numbers attending each session so please sign up early to avoid disappointment.

Afternoon agenda

12:15 – 13:00 – Lunch and networking

13:00 – 14:45 – The opportunity of place*

Choose your preferred session when signing up.
These action-based sessions will be a chance for delegates to work together to share ideas, challenges and develop ideas to specific place-based issues facing residents:

  1. How do we work together to increase digital confidence at a place-based level?
  2. How can community investment tackle health inequalities and deliver health creation in place?
  3. How can we collaborate to deliver community centres and hubs that benefit more local people?
  4. How can we work in partnership to catalyse community led social action projects, with a focus on intergenerational activities?
  5. How can our sector be a more effective partner for Black and Minority Ethnic led community organisations through community investment?
  6. How can we work together to reduce food insecurity in the places we operate?

*Please note, we have to limit the numbers attending each session, so please sign up early to avoid disappointment.

14:45 – 15:00 – Refreshment break

15:00 – 15:40 – The future of place

15:40 – 16:00 – Panel session and close

Excited to join us for the day?

Book your tickets here!

This years' speakers

Connie Jennings, Director of Stronger Communities, whg

Session: The opportunity of place and Breakout room 1 (How can housing use the place-based perspective of health to drive outcomes for their tenants?)

Connie describes herself as an expert with lived experience having grown up in social housing. This helped her to understand the stigma attached to those living in rented accommodation and the obstacles faced to take advantage of opportunities that others may take for granted.
Connie joined whg 15 years ago to help families from a deprived community have their input into plans for a multi-million pound regeneration of the area. She recruited customers from the estate, employing them as community experts who would go out and speak to others in their neighbourhood. The idea took off and more than a decade later whg has employed 100 community champions to be the voice of their communities, with many gaining qualifications, moving on to university and climbing the career ladder.
Connie is the Director of Stronger Communities, leading whg’s work to support and empower our customers by focusing on health and wellbeing, employment, training and life skills. Connie leads whg’s work to reduce health inequalities through timely interventions and tackling loneliness and isolation to build more resilient communities. She has worked with partner agencies to introduce social prescribing as an innovative way to overcome barriers and represents whg on the Integrated Care Partnership Walsall Together.

Stephen Burns, Executive Director Care, Inclusion & Communities, Peabody

Session: The opportunity of place

Stephen is the Executive Director for Care, Inclusion and Communities at Peabody. He joined Peabody in 1998 and is responsible for Peabody’s care and supported housing activities, its community foundation and is also the lead Executive Director for equity and inclusion. He has previously overseen housing management, development and sales and new business development. Prior to joining Peabody, Stephen’s background is in technology, training and employment and he was a director of a national training company from 1993 to 1997.
He is also a trustee of other London charitable organisations including Toynbee Hall, Trust for London, United St Saviours and House of St Barnabas.
Further details can be found here -

John Hitchin, Chief Executive, Renaisi

Session: The opportunity of place

John is Renaisi’s Chief Executive. His interest lies in understanding how social change happens and how the concept of ‘place’ can be used to unite people around shared endeavours and to spark inclusive change in communities.

John has helped manage a neighbourhood regeneration programme, where he worked across research, performance management, evaluation and governance. Since then, he has built a successful research and learning team at Renaisi which has worked with national government, funders, a range of local government actors, housing associations and many charities. He has supported the development of in-school work with families that don’t speak English, and developed and supported a range of place-based collaborative partnerships across the UK.

He has held governance roles in schools, credit unions, national charities, local CICs and cooperatives and is a respected facilitator and strategist.

Matt Buckham, Community Investment Director, Sovereign

Chair of breakout room 1 (How can housing use the place-based perspective of health to drive outcomes for their tenants?)

Matt is Community Investment Director at Sovereign Housing Association, leading a multi-disciplinary team across the south of England. The directorate focuses on community action, digital and financial inclusion, employment and skills, co-creation, fundraising, social impact and ESG.

As an experienced housing and community investment professional, Matt has worked in various roles covering regeneration, housing management and community investment. He has developed asset-based approaches putting power back into the hands of communities and brought together sector wide partnerships to deliver greater impact.

Matt sits on the BiTC South East Leadership Board which focuses on tackling social issues which include levelling up, sustainability and the housing crisis. He is part of The Centre for Excellence in Community Investment’s core group - and a key advocate for community investment in the housing sector.

Rachel Honey-Jones , Head of Community Regeneration, Newydd

Breakout room 1 (How can housing use the place-based perspective of health to drive outcomes for their tenants?)

Rachel is Head of Community Regeneration at Newydd HA, passionate about tenant engagement, regeneration and social value. She is a current Board member at HACT, and recently completed a six year term as Board member and Vice Chair of Merthyr Valleys Homes - Wales’ first tenant and employee mutual.

Andrea Purslow, Business Development Manager, Peabody

Chair of breakout room 2 (How do we use regeneration to drive forward community investment through social value?)

Andrea joined Peabody in 2007 and is a business development and fundraising specialist. Drawing on a successful and varied career across housing, community, operations, and programme management Andrea has a wide-ranging brief within Peabody Community Foundation, which includes fundraising, social value, strategic partnerships and evaluation and impact. Andrea took a lead role in developing Peabody’s social value approach to maximise the social, economic and environmental value we create across all of Peabody Group’s procurement activities.

Ana Mae Contreras-Ramirez, Performance Lead for the Communities and Neighbourhoods (CaN) Directorate, Poplar HARCA

Breakout room 2 (How do we use regeneration to drive forward community investment through social value?)

Currently Performance Lead for the Communities and Neighbourhoods (CaN) Directorate at Poplar HARCA. Ana co-ordinates Poplar HARCA’s Social Value Outcomes Monitoring and Evaluation and is a member of the Social Value Board of the Teviot Estate Development (TED) – Poplar HARCA side.
Ana also sits in Poplar HARCA’s Net Zero Carbon Strategy Champions’ Group leading on Fuel Poverty and Community Food Growing Projects and
co-ordinates the HACT Winter Hardship Fund Voucher Scheme and other Energy Voucher Schemes within Poplar HARCA. Ana also lead Poplar HARCA’s previous Energy Champions Programme and she co-manages the CaN Directorate’s Digital Inclusion Programme

Frances Harkin, Head of Services, HACT

Breakout room 2 (How do we use regeneration to drive forward community investment through social value?)

As Head of Services at HACT, Frances holds responsibility for the organisation’s broad portfolio of research, consultancy, and training. She is the technical lead for research activity across HACT and has worked with organisations within and outside of the social housing sector at different levels from Boards, Executive teams, and Operational teams.

Frances has a PhD from Queen’s University Belfast and almost ten years of practical experience designing and delivering mixed method research and consultancy projects in the UK social housing sector and beyond. Frances has led on the design and delivery of HACT’s research evaluations since 2015, including process and impact evaluations of community investment activities, operational model evaluations and best practice reviews, and is also heavily involved with delivering HACT’s social value services and work on resident resilience.

Jo Hannan, Foundation Manager, Fusion21 Foundation

Chair of breakout room 3 (How do housing associations attract funding into place?)

Working at national procurement and social enterprise Fusion21, Jo is responsible for the strategic leadership of the Fusion21 Foundation. The Foundation funds research and initiatives aimed at finding new solutions to complex societal challenges. It works in partnership to find practical solutions that make incredible differences in people’s lives. Over £850,000 in grant funding has been awarded by the Fusion21 Foundation in the last two years alone.
An experienced commissioner and partnerships manager, Jo has a well-established track record in community investment and grant management. She has a cross section of experience in both the public sector and VCSE sector. Jo is driven by a passion to ensure communities and the wider housing sector benefit from Fusion21 Foundation’s strategic investments and is delighted to be part of HACT’s Centre of Excellence in Community Investment.

Andrew Cooper, Head of Partnerships & Funding, Sovereign

Breakout room 3 (How do housing associations attract funding into place?)

Andrew has been at Sovereign since 2020. In his current role as Head of Partnerships and Funding he leads Sovereign’s approach to Grant making, social value and fundraising and developing new partnerships. In 2022/23 Sovereign secured £2.6m in external funding to support customers and communities and have delivered a £3m Customer Support Fund to support the most vulnerable affected by the Cost of living crisis. Andrew is passionate about the role housing providers can make as communities and has over 15 years experience in the housing sector and previously worked in local government and education. Andrew has been at Sovereign since 2020. In his current role as Head of Partnerships and Funding he leads Sovereign’s approach to Grant making, social value and fundraising and developing new partnerships. In 2022/23 Sovereign secured £2.6m in external funding to support customers and communities and have delivered a £3m Customer Support Fund to support the most vulnerable affected by the Cost of living crisis. Andrew is passionate about the role housing providers can make as communities and has over 15 years experience in the housing sector and previously worked in local government and education.

Chris Nottingham, Sustainable Food Coordinator, Tai Calon

Breakout room 4 (How housing has worked collaboratively in place – lessons learned and challenges overcome)

Chris began his food journey in the hospitality industry working as a chef and baker. A focus on food sustainability resulted in a Masters in Sustainable Food & Natural Resources with a focus on Local Food Environments. Chris is now the coordinator for the Blaenau Gwent Food Partnership which, uniquely for local food partnerships, is hosted within Tai Calon Community Housing. Working collaboratively, the Food Partnership has led the way for coordinating local action to meet the challenges of a fractured food system.

Andrew Church, Director of Communities, CHS

Breakout room 4 (How housing has worked collaboratively in place – lessons learned and challenges overcome)

Nick Horne, Group CEO, WCHG

Breakout room 4 (How housing has worked collaboratively in place – lessons learned and challenges overcome)

Nick joined WCHG as CEO in September 2019 and has over 40 years’ experience in the commercial and not for profit sectors. Nick was CEO at Knightstone, a south west based housing association from 1998 to 2018. In 2019 he graduated with an MBA from the University of Exeter. Nick has a proven track record of delivering good quality, good value, customer focused services, improving business efficiency, value for money and community sustainability. He is passionate about delivering great services and championing resident interests using large scale change and systems thinking to improve service satisfaction and bottom-line results. Nick also has over 25 years’ experience as a non-executive director of housing, education and community interest organisations.

Éadaoin Kelly, Senior Community Partnership Manager, The Guinness Partnership

Breakout room 4 (How housing has worked collaboratively in place – lessons learned and challenges overcome)

Éadaoin Kelly works as a Senior Community Partnership Manager at The Guinness Partnership, a national housing association with 65,000 homes and 140,000 customers. Éadaoin leads on creating employment, training and education opportunities for residents as well as social value priorities to support Guinness’s social investment work. Prior to Guinness, Eadaoin worked in various social impact roles at organisations including the CIPD, Tesco, TK Maxx and national and international charities.

Lynsey Sweeney, Managing Director, Communities that Work

Chair of breakout 5 - Place based employment success

Lynsey is Managing Director of Communities that Work, the national body in England that links housing, employment and government.

Prior to this Lynsey was an adviser on employment, skills and apprenticeships at the National Housing Federation, drawing on her experience in the London FE sector and via KPMG's World Class Skills programme. Before housing, employment and skills in the UK, Lynsey worked on health, education and skills programmes for VSO in China, Ethiopia and London.

Claire Lee, Managing Director, The Learning Foundry

Breakout 5 - Place based employment success

With over 20 years’ experience in the education and skills sector, Claire works with business leaders to attract, train, and retain the workforce of the future though bespoke training programmes and tailored learning.

As part of The Regenda Group, The Learning Foundry understand the housing sector and the challenges faced in attracting and retaining the right people. They work with housing associations from across the UK, providing talent solutions to ensure that the sector can continue to deliver high quality services to residents.
Claire and her team of 60 training and development experts are passionate about upskilling businesses and supporting people with opportunities to thrive.

Claire sits on a number of local skills and employment boards to provide further place-based employment and skills opportunities to local people.

Matt Parsonage, Head of Communities, Clarion

Chair of breakout room 6 (The hyperlocal perspective: how do HAs work at the neighbourhood level?)

Matt has been Head of Communities at Clarion Futures (the Charitable Foundation of Clarion Housing Group, the UK’s largest Housing Association) for over a decade and is still busy trying to understand how best to engage effectively with diverse communities across the country. Overseeing a wide-reaching programme of community interventions and support, Matt is committed to bringing innovation, creativity and energy to the Housing Sector for the benefit of residents living in social housing. He is currently overseeing a plethora of exciting initiatives including an Age-Friendly Strategy which this year is focusing on enhancing intergenerational connections; a second phase of the much-lauded Warm Spaces programme (investing in our Community Assets portfolio to make them accessible and welcoming for residents during the cold weather); and co-creating a Placemaking approach with our Development partners Latimer.
Matt is also a Director at London Futures, the only cross-sector membership network for funders and investors in London’s civil society. Outside of the office, Matt tries to play football without getting too injured, cycles as much as possible, and generally harangs his son Jack who is the very definition of a “handful”.

Helen Wheelock, Community Growth Manager, Alliance

Breakout room 6 (The hyperlocal perspective: how do HAs work at the neighbourhood level?)

Mumtaz Samad, Head of Moat Foundation, MOAT

Breakout room 6 (The hyperlocal perspective: how do HAs work at the neighbourhood level?)

Mumtaz is a dedicated professional with over 25 years’ experience within the Social Housing, Community Investment, Social and Financial Inclusion fields. Having worked across the voluntary, charity and statutory sector at both operational and senior management level. Many of Mumtaz’s achievements have involved delivering a wide range of hyper-local community and neighbourhood focused, high profile Community Investment programmes. Mumtaz has delivered successful outcomes within tight time scales and challenging budgets, Main achievements include: developing Award Winning Community Investment Foundation programmes and teams; offering targeted regional social impact programmes for social housing customers, living in General Needs Housing, Care & Supported Housing, Retirement Living, Care Leavers schemes, including Homeless Persons schemes. Mumtaz was also the National Housing Federation Social Impact Award – Regional Winner for Health & Wellbeing (for customer-led Greening Communities initiatives).

Rachel Solomon, Head of Community Investment, Peabody

Breakout room 6 (The hyperlocal perspective: how do HAs work at the neighbourhood level?)

Rachel leads on all of Peabody’s place-based Communities work across London and the South East. With a passion for social action and extensive experience in youth and community programmes, she most recently oversaw the strategic and operational delivery of Peabody’s 10-year, hyper-local Children’s Community model in the heart of Hackney - a partnership between residents, the local authority, community partners and Save the Children.

Excited to join us for the day?

Book your tickets!

Community Investment Support

HACT have long been champions and contributors to the vital work social housing organisations do alongside people and communities to help them thrive.

We believe passionately about the work housing associations do for, and with, communities, collaborating with organisations from the social housing sector and beyond to deliver joined up working that achieves real results.

We’ve gained a wealth of experience across different areas – employment, health, financial inclusion, resident involvement, fundraising and programme development – so why not see how we can help you on your community investment journey?

Find out how we can help!

Let's talk

If you have a question, query or idea, we’d love to hear from you.

Start the conversation by getting in touch!

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