Local councils are key partners for every housing association and Futures is no different. We have properties throughout the East Midlands and this means we work with over 20 local authorities to help house those most in need and ensure that people can access other types of help and support they require.
Amber Valley is one of two areas where Futures has a large number of homes as we evolved from Amber Valley Housing - created by the council to manage its former council housing stock in 2003. Last year, Futures built 77 new homes for rent, shared ownership and sale in Amber Valley – nearly a third of the properties we built. Daventry is another very important area for us where we have a large number of homes. So our relationship with these two councils is extremely important.
Head of Housing Services at Amber Valley Borough Council, David Arkle (pictured left), is one of our key partners who sees first-hand how close working can benefit communities.
Our work with the Council covers a wide range of services and needs – from dealing with homelessness and allocating affordable homes through to community safety and suppling aids and adaptations for people with special needs. This brings a huge range of daily challenges as well as opportunities.
For example, David is particularly proud of a joint project between Futures, the Council and two bowls clubs to transform some old and unused tennis courts in Heanor. The partnership has taken this under-used site to create six new two- and three-bedroomed homes for affordable rent and shared ownership, plus an attractive and well-equipped new pavilion for the clubs and community events. Sadly the planned celebration day for opening this new community resource had to be postponed as a result of the pandemic – but it will undoubtedly be a home for many more special days and events in the years to come.
Our strong relationship with the Council also came to the fore in the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak. Futures stepped in within a matter of days to give the Council access to a two-bedroom house for emergency use by rough sleepers who needed to self-isolate. Futures also prioritised work to prepare empty homes in the borough so that new residents could move in safely to temporary accommodation during the crisis. David believes that it’s in demanding situations like this that partnerships really matter. Agencies need to be around the table together and be willing to act as critical friends to each other – openly recognising the balance of commercial necessity and community needs.
The Council is keen to carry on supporting Futures’ homebuilding – helping to shape bids, secure sites and diversify the types of homes developed for different people’s needs. With demand for affordable homes in the borough as high as ever, expanding this new supply has never been more important. It’s a mutually beneficial and productive connection that ultimately delivers to meet the needs of the community.