This week was National Intergenerational Week. Clarion sent an email out to its young people to encourage them celebrate it and lead on different intergenerational initiatives and activities.
As housing associations, we already make a difference day in day out, but could we do more to help the communities we serve?
Through the course of the year we saw the positive impact previous national regeneration programmes have had on people and their places across the North and the Midlands. These had been substantial, well-resourced and locally driven initiatives in locations with little, or no prior prospect of private sector investment addressing market failure.
Beginning on 22 July, the city made official its commitment to preserving and expanding London’s existing pockets of greenery, from green roofs to historic parks. Coinciding with soaring temperatures across the country, we were reminded both of the vulnerability of London's natural spaces, but also of the vital role greenery can play in mediating the worst effects of the urban heat-island.
“The announcement for next year will mean we have to find an extra £500,000 compared with our early budget projectsion,” Alan Brunt, CEO of Bron Afon, .
“It’s very much about extending the range of support available so we can use the right tool in the box, be that a grant, loan or whatever,” said Jules Tompkins, the programme’s investment manager. “We’ll also be offering skills development support as we know organisations often need more than just money to succeed in the longer term.”
This type of funding programme will have a significant impact in a number of ways.
What has been interesting about the whole roadshow process is divining the differences and similarities inherent amongst communities teams across the UK. Sometimes there have been stark, highly localised differences, particularly around the political climate in each country; devolution being a critical issue around how organisations engage with and support their residents.
It was a small-ish group, maybe twelve people, but those that attended obviously had an interest in making community investment a higher priority on organisation agendas. My background however, isn't strictly in community investment and so I sat like a fly on the wall to start with while I thought about what it meant from my perspective.
A small but perfectly formed group joined us at the office of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations on 2 November - a big thank you to Lorna and everyone involved for hosting us.
The turnout was a reminder that, especially when setting up a new organisation, we mustn’t assume that people will come to us. We must get out there and seek the viewpoints and best practice of people doing this work, with passion and expertise, across the UK.
The first was around the importance of local priorities, and how different regional and national considerations can have a marked effect on the work we do as community investment professionals. In Belfast this can be stark with the conflict still resonating strongly in different areas of the city, and sectarianism continuing to play a major part in daily life for people.