At Futures we are in it for the long-term. Thousands of people depend on us for a safe, comfortable and affordable home where they can settle and build their lives. We employ around 400 people and leave our mark on the landscape by building and managing homes and neighbourhoods across the region. We want to have a sustainable future to make sure we are there for the people that need us, today and tomorrow.
We also recognise how important the environment is for people, communities and the planet as a whole. So we're focused on doing more to improve our environmental sustainability. That means working towards a net zero carbon future across every part of our work.
Working in partnership with our customers to reduce our carbon footprint is also essential. So we are committed to supporting people to make the changes we all need to make - whether that is understanding how to get the most out of new 'greener' technologies such as heat pumps or simple encouraging small but important new habits to manage our homes in more environmentally-friendly ways.
We think that all aspects of sustainability are so important that it is one of just four central themes in our corporate plan. We also recognise that we are early in our sustainability journey and while we have already done a lot we want to do even more.
Our sustainability journey
Our corporate plan sets our four objectives at the heart of our work on improving sustainability. They are:
- Doing all we can to make our homes more affordable for our customers.
- Improving the public areas around the homes we own and manage.
- Improving the energy performance of our customers' homes and our organisation as a whole.
- Support the local economy.
The journey has already begun
We have projects underway across all of these areas. They include:
- Rolling out a new scheme to help some of our most disadvantaged customers when they move into one our properties. Like most housing associations we rent out homes unfurnished, but we know from our research how challenging this can be for the least well off. We now have plans to offer basic furnishings - floor coverings and white goods such as fridges and cookers - to help these households get off to a better start.
- Expanding our tenancy sustainment team so that we can do more to support customers who are facing work or money problems and help them to keep their homes.
- Planting wildflowers in areas that were previously lawns. This cuts back on pollution and energy use from lawn mowers but also provides a better environment for nature to thrive.
- Working with customers on the Southbrook Estate in Daventry to design and implement a range of improvements to make the outdoor spaces more pleasant and enjoyable for residents.
- Testing new systems and technologies to make our customers' homes more energy efficient, such as smart thermostats, different types of heating and improved insulation.
- Ensuring that our new head office, opening in late 2021, is one of our most energy efficient buildings yet. Together with sensor-lighting and low-carbon heating, we are also offering electric vehicle charging points and the carpets and furnishing have been carefully chosen for their low carbon credentials. The location is easily accessible by public transport and existing furniture and fixtures from our Asher House site will be recycled or reused wherever possible.
- Continuing to choose local SMEs in our supply chain and to work with local businesses to provide training and employment opportunities for local people.
The road ahead
Behind the scenes we've also been busy laying the foundations for even more work around sustainability. This has included:
- Commissioning research to more fully understand our carbon impact and areas where we can make an even bigger difference.
- Taking stock of all our current sustainability projects and identifying things we need to do even better.
- Setting up a new working group to lead our sustainability strategy.
- Buying new, specialist software to help us keep track of how the more than 10,000 homes we own perform energy-wise.
- Working with experts to help us further improve our approach to building new homes so they are designed to be more energy efficient and improve our customers' energy bills from the start.
- Partnering with local councils to apply for grants to help us fit energy saving improvements to existing homes.