Grand Union Housing Group (GUHG) has announced plans to double its development activity and build 1,800 more homes over the next five years in order to help solve the area’s housing emergency.
GUHG’s ambitious plans were outlined at their 10th anniversary event held at Towcester Racecourse recently. Harry Walker, Group Chair, and Aileen Evans, Chief Executive, welcomed over 100 guests to the venue as well as guest speakers Gavin Smart, Deputy Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Reverend Richard Coles.
Gavin Smart talked about the challenge for housing providers and the current housing crisis: “It’s not a crisis when you’ve been doing the same thing that doesn’t work for 30 years. A crisis is a surprise; we shouldn’t be surprised that the housing market is broken.
“We need to be building the right homes, in the right place and of the right quality that people can afford.”
Aileen also spoke about the country’s housing emergency: “We want to work with local authorities and Homes England to build more homes and meet housing needs in the areas in which we work and, in particular, as members of the Homes for Cathy campaign, we want to end the scourge of homelessness.
“There seems to be a view that housing associations tend to fall into one of two categories: those who provide community investment and support services or those who develop. We’re proud to do both.
“But it’s not just about bricks and mortar; it’s about the services we provide, mostly in partnership with others, to help residents to learn new skills, find work or volunteer. Other projects, such as working with local schools and food banks, to digital inclusion work and to activities that bridge the generations, all help build stronger communities.”
Plans also include streamlining the group to simplify its structure with GUHG’s entities consolidated into the parent company. Aragon Housing Association, Rockingham Forest Housing and South Northants Homes will become a single housing association with almost 12,000 homes across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire. This year will also see the introduction of ‘Customer 2020’, a transformation programme to put customers at the heart of everything they do.