Communities that Work - update, 09/08/21
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Welcome to the latest edition of Communities that Work News. This fortnightly e-shot reaches across our membership and our subscribers to cover topics including News, our key areas of work and policy interests, our member news and upcoming events.

We’re in the depths of the summer and this is generally dubbed the ‘silly season’ for media stories, rather than a period of serious announcements from Government. With the ‘pingdemic’ now past its zenith just before further unlocking rules change next week, we can all take a break from big news coming out of Westminster for a few weeks and enjoy a (UK based, right?) holiday.

Rest assured Government news will be back thick and fast from September as Parliament re-opens on 6th, party conferences begin, and politics starts to look beyond Covid to the next three years before a General Election. It’s beyond a cliché now to comment on ‘how much has changed because of Covid’, and since the last Election in December 2019, but just think about how much has changed, anyway!

Will these societal and economic (including jobs) changes affect the political landscape? Yes, but how in the longer term is less clear right now and the next three years are wide open at the moment: an opportunity for Government and Opposition to shape up for a new future, living with, but thinking beyond, Covid.

As always, the members at Communities that Work form the lifeblood of our membership body, and our entire strategy focusses on advancing the recognition, role, and opportunity for social housing in the employment, levelling up and shared prosperity policy environments in which we operate. We’ve launched a summer offer to new members and opened the Shared Prosperity Fund Housing Network which held a first meeting in late July, welcoming over 120 people to the Network. The next meeting of the SPF HN has been scheduled for 21st September and you can register here. Without doubt, UKSPF will be the most important national social fund in the UK for the foreseeable future, and the housing sector needs to secure partnerships with all levels of Government to get SPF flowing into our communities. We’re dedicated to this agenda at Communities that Work, and our members provide the drive we need.

We hope to see some of our members at Housing 2021 in Manchester and we’re holding an evening Reception for members and invited guests on Wednesday 8th September. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to meet in person, so we’re delighted to be able to bring our membership and sector partners together to enjoy a drink on us. Housing Minister, Rt Hon Chris Pincher has been invited, and we expect to be joined by a host of sector friends and colleagues. If you’re a member of Communities that Work you should have your personal invitation already, but just in case you haven’t spotted that, you can also  RSVP here too.

All CtW members are welcome to meet CtW at Housing 2021, so if you’re in the area and have time for a 1-2-1 meeting with Lynsey Sweeney, drop her a line.

Events, Regional Network meetings, and Information:


Monthly ‘web chat’ with Communities that Work:

The next members only web chat takes place on Friday 24th September, from 11.30-12.30. All CtW members are welcome to drop in, and guests are invited by invitation.

Please register here:

  • The next SW Community Investment Network takes place on 14th September, from 1pm. Contact Adam Chester to join the meeting.
  • The next Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) Housing Network meeting takes place on Tuesday 21st September, 11:30 AM.

Please Register in advance for this meeting:

See you at an event soon.

Information and other invitations:

Big thanks to Kelly Thomas, Social Value and Fundraising Manager at MTVH, who delivered a great presentation on the new Employer Pledge, launched via the Social Value Leadership Group over the summer, at our last CtW Member webinar. Check out the slides here!

#KeeptheLifeline - The NHF have released new research highlighting the inadequacy of the social security system with evidence of the financial strain and impact on wellbeing experienced by tenants receiving Universal Credit during the pandemic, including the call to not cut UC by £20 in October in their recommendations. Access a copy of the report and key findings here.
The Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping has published its interim report. The NHF is a member of the Commission. The report has been published ahead of the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and includes examples of savings brought about by homelessness prevention.

Lord Kerslake and a number of Communities that Work members also contributed to a new report from Ground Control on ‘Green Communities and the journey to Net Zero’, which was developed by Bales Partners. The report contributes to the debate on housing, green jobs and skills which will feature in the APPG schedule from Autumn this year and provides a great snapshot of both ideas and inspiring practise from the social housing sector.

The Government has published its landmark National Disability Strategy. The strategy aims to transform the lives of disabled people across the UK, tackling the barriers that prevent many disabled people from fully benefiting from, and contributing to, every aspect of our society. Its focus ranges across public services, housing, transport, education, leisure, shopping, employment, and rights and perceptions. 

The Health Anchors Learning Network hosted an event on what the NHS can learn from housing associations about tackling unemployment and supporting people back into work. "There is an opportunity to build longer term collaborations between housing associations and NHS trusts. By growing the resources available to our communities we increase the social value we add." Read Peter Molyneux's blog on the subject.

CtW were contacted by the research leads of new a report on ‘Stigma and Social Housing in England’, published in July, with consultation period on the report now open for your views. The links below lead you further to two articles which featured their findings from Inside Housing.

Toynbee Hall and Thrive LDN have released the full report from their Participatory Action Research project, Pandemic Stories. The report tells the stories of Londoners who are disproportionately impacted because of lower quality of life and opportunity available to people living on a low income or in rented accommodation, living with disability, or experiencing systemic racism, and expands on the headline findings released in March with more in-depth findings and recommendations.

Can you provide undergraduate students with employment experience? 

The BSc Social Policy programme at the University of Salford is looking for volunteer placements for their 3rd year students to give them real world work experience in the subject they are studying.  Students are required to undertake at least 100 hours work, which can be spread between June and the following May of any year, depending on the employer’s needs.  Students can help with research, projects, or roles suitable for volunteers in your organisation. They will need supervision, training, and an evaluation at the end of their time with you. The placement is designed to embody all of the key characteristics of the programme. The fieldwork allows students move from the local to the national, the conceptual to the lived, and back again by examining policy in practice. The students are supported with supervision from team members at the university to provide the written work required for credit.

If you are interested in providing placement for our students, please contact Joy Probyn or Karen Kinghorn

Thank you!

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