A Delegation from the Hong Kong Housing Department visited Grand Union Housing Group (GUHG) as part of a fact-finding trip about housing in the UK.
The two-week visit, which was organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), aimed to give the six delegates a better understanding of UK housing issues and best practice.
After visiting the CIH housing conference and taking part in training across the country, the group visited GUHG on their final day to gain a better understanding of providing care services and working with the local community.
Aileen Evans, Chief Executive of Grand Union Housing Group, said: “We were honoured to have the delegation visit us and to be able to show them just some of the services we provide at a couple of our fantastic schemes.
“We are incredibly proud that we provide more than just a home, and to be able to show our guests from Hong Kong how we make a difference was great. It was also a fantastic opportunity for us all to learn from each other so that we can continue to make a difference in our local communities.”
The delegation met with staff at GUHG’s office before moving on to Flowers House, a specialist dementia care scheme next to the historic Bletchley Park. The scheme is home to 34 people and offers secure around the clock care. The delegation then visited a café run by the Macintyre charity which supports young people and adults with learning disabilities.
Aileen continued: “We house almost 600 adults with learning disabilities and the Macintyre charity provides care and support for a number of them. It’s important that we give everyone the option to be able to live as independently as possible and we wanted to show the delegation this.”
Following this, the group visited the Robert Bloomfield Academy, a school in Shefford where they met with the Mayor, Paul Makin, staff from the school and GUHG’s Youth and Participation Officer.
The area had had some issues with ASB, and thanks to a partnership between GUHG and the Academy, staff explained how they had engaged with the young people of Shefford when they wouldn’t engage with other agencies.
The final destination on the tour was another of GUHG’s offices where the delegation spoke to the Group’s Tenancy Support, Housing and Money, and Welfare Benefits teams about how Grand Union works with residents to ensure they are receiving the benefits they are entitled to and getting any help they may need with their finances.
Chartered Institute of Housing Chief Executive Terrie Alafat CBE commented: “I’d like to thank Grand Union Housing for hosting such an informative visit. We think it’s really important to use our international links to bring housing professionals from across the world together so they can share their knowledge, expertise and experience. People who work in housing are committed to improving people’s lives and communities, no matter where we are based. We are facing many of the same challenges, which means there is so much we can learn from each other.”