As Northern Ireland struggles to offer a coherent and unified contribution to the Brexit negotiations in the absence of an Executive, Dave Whelan talks to MEP Jim Nicholson about his role in bringing Northern Ireland’s precarious position to the attention of both Brussels and Westminster. By his own admission, the official triggering of Article 50...
Whilst a good home is so important, Clanmil Housing wants to do more to help tenants and their families prosper.
The organisation is working with tenants to promote sustainable communities through a range of new services designed to help increase levels of life satisfaction and wellbeing.
A lack of financial inclusion is one of the most significant barriers for tenants and Clanmil has established an in-house Money Advice team to help people build financial resilience and deal with issues such as benefits, debt and arrears. In 2016/17 the team has achieved a financial benefit for tenants of over £550,000. This includes payment of £170,000 of rent arrears – £2.86 for every £1 spent on the service by Clanmil.
This service is having a major positive impact on the wellbeing of tenants. In a first for Northern Ireland’s housing sector, Clanmil monitors social impact and value for money of this and other community investment work through a new tool introduced by the Housing Association Charitable Trust (HACT), which measures the effect of particular factors on peoples’ wellbeing.
Closely linked to financial resilience is unemployment. In partnership with Women’sTEC, Clanmil provides tenants who are struggling to get a job with opportunities to explore employment options in the construction industry through Supporting People: Empowering Communities (SPEC) – a three year employability programme set to provide more than 500 people with access to training.
So far in 2016/17 more than 70 people have gained accredited qualifications through SPEC while four have moved on to further training and education and four more have progressed into employment. It is estimated that over its three year life SPEC will have a wellbeing impact of over £1 million for the communities in which Clanmil works.
Clanmil is also partnering with its contractors to maximise investment in communities where it is building new homes. In the past year, as well as 25 apprenticeships and 39 work placements, its contractors have committed to £11,500 in community event sponsorship and 42 community labour days.
Working with tenants, community organisations and statutory agencies, Clanmil is also developing and delivering Neighbourhood Plans that create a specific focus for community development opportunities. Through these plans Clanmil works with communities to deliver social, sport and wellbeing programmes, that help build capacity.
One community where the positive impact of this work is really being felt is at Harbourview in north Belfast. Here an after school club brings primary school children together to work on arts and crafts projects and play games. While, thanks to funding from Sports NI, a weekly Multi-Sports Club regularly attracts up to 25 young people.
Nine-year-old Sophie has been involved in all of these activities which she says are the very best thing about living at Harbourview: “Before it really wasn’t that good here. There was nothing for us to do and nowhere to play. Now there’s more going on and I really like joining in. My favourite thing so far has been the street art project.”
Sophie’s mum, Charlene adds: “Harbourview needed this focus and we are starting to feel a real change here. It feels like we are really growing as a community.”
Clanmil Housing Group
T: 028 9087 6000
40 years of fantastic homes
Since 1977 Clanmil Housing has been providing high quality, affordable homes for people who need them. Today we own and manage over 4,300 homes throughout Northern Ireland for families, older people and for those who need support. We also employ 260 people and last year our turnover was £27 million.
In the past five years we provided 1,300 new homes and are working to deliver a further 1,800 over the next five years, for rent or to buy.
Steve Amos, Chair of Clanmil says: “So much has changed in the past 40 years. We’ve branched out into new areas of housing and services and now provide homes and support for a wide range of people including thousands of families.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is our passion. Fourty years on we still believe that everyone should have a comfortable, safe, affordable home within a vibrant and supportive community where they love living and can thrive.”
Over the coming months Clanmil will celebrate its landmark birthday with tenants, staff and stakeholders.
Amos explains: “We want to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to 40 years of fantastic homes. And, while there will be lots of cake and fun, we’re determined that this milestone leaves a legacy. We’re launching a 40 Lasting Legacies programme providing work placements, apprenticeships, community action and small grants that we hope will leave a permanent mark on the communities we work in.
“In addition, a social media campaign will run throughout the year telling tenants’ real life stories, showing their amazing diversity and highlighting the impact of a great home.”