In recognition of the relative lack of investment and economic prosperity in some areas of the North and the Midlands, the National Housing Federation (NHF) has set up a commission to identify opportunities in these areas for housing associations and other key agencies and partners to enable ‘thriving and resilient communities’. 

The NHF has now published its interim findings from the Great Places Commission, focusing on 4 themes:

People – the report recommends that there is a public commitment to an asset-based community development model so that people in the community identify and mobilise their assets; a more creative approach to design and communal spaces; a greater recognition of the work housing associations do in supporting paths to employment and policy changes to assist this.

Places – challenging perceptions of place by magnifying the voices of people from the community; ensuring the Government recognises that infrastructure is recognised as key in enabling prosperous economies.

Partners – local and national partnerships and collaborations are noted as key to ensuring that maximum value is delivered to communities; devolution is highlighted as already having impacted the sector as anchor institutions and others have started to work differently.

Housing Associations – the role of associations in supporting people in their lives and delivering homes and services is celebrated with the Commission seeking to hone in on a focused task, looking at how their work can be re-shaped to revitalise communities in a more joined-up and long-term way.  Collaboration is key as the role of debate.

The Commission is focused on addressing the ‘growing sense of disconnection’ between communities and economic prosperity.  They have identified that the answers are based in the places that people live and in the people themselves and are now embarking on a series of debates to help shape their final report to be published in Spring 2019.