Housing Day is an annual event celebrating the positive impact of social housing on millions of tenants in communities across England.
In 2019 the theme of Housing Day was ‘Community Investment’, highlighting how housing associations support projects that make a real difference to the lives of people in their local communities.
Each year, Sanctuary invests in hundreds of initiatives to enhance the lives of our residents and ensure that the homes and estates where we operate are great places to live. In 2018/2019 we invested £1.4 million in funding, time and resources into the delivery of over 400 projects, benefitting 48,108 people.
Our Community Investment team works with local organisations and residents in our neighbourhoods to help deliver projects supporting residents in five core areas:
- Financial inclusion
- Health and wellbeing
- Employment, education, skills and training
- Community safety.
Here are just some examples of how that investment has made a positive difference to the lives of people in our local communities:
Community Fridge helps reduce food waste
Find out how we support the work of Banbury Community Fridge, which provides access to food supplies that would otherwise be thrown away, helping to feed local families and reduce food waste.
Community Choir hits the right note
The Vocal Band offers an opportunity for people of all ages in the Banbury community to enjoy singing together, no matter their ability or previous experience.
Cooking up a new career
Charlotte Jordan from Shiregreen has launched a new career after taking part in a local project delivered by Sanctuary Housing and Blend – a unique restaurant focused on enhancing people’s lives.
How a simple phone call makes a real difference
A kind-hearted Sanctuary Housing resident is celebrating 10 years as a volunteer with a local befriending service that ensures older people in Oxfordshire have someone to enjoy a friendly chat with.
A successful partnership between Sanctuary Housing and Hackney Playbus delivered play and learning opportunities to more than 150 local children.
Course a recipe for success
A culinary course for men over the age of 65 has helped residents in the Rochford district raise their confidence in the kitchen, make new friends and improve their diet.
We have been working with social enterprise Creative Lifestyle CIC to support women in Hackney looking for a way into work or self-employment. Through a series of ‘enterprise to employment’ workshops, participants learned practical sewing and baking skills as well as essential business and employment advice. As part of the course, participants also had the opportunity to set up their own ‘pop-up’ shop in Hackney and sell some of the items they had made. People reported improved confidence and self-esteem after taking part, with one resident saying: “It made me start to believe in myself again and gave me a sense of accomplishment, something to be proud of.”
Oxfordshire is considered as one of the most affluent counties in the UK, however, like most rural towns and villages it also experiences levels of poverty and disadvantage. Brighter Futures in Banbury, Cherwell District Council and Sanctuary address this by working in partnership to deliver Play:Full – a local initiative designed to help families during the holidays through activities and refreshments, helping children to play and eat together. We are continuing this fun and friendly programme during 2019/2020.
We work with community interest company PennySmart to offer money advice and help with debt to residents in Chester. PennySmart offers regulated advice on how to deal with debt and how to manage money differently, to avoid getting into financial difficulties. This year, PennySmart offered one-to-one support to 38 Sanctuary tenants in Lache and another 31 in Blacon, helping to reduce their collective debts by over £156,000. One resident, whose struggles with budgeting and sticking to regular payment arrangements were having an impact on their mental health, said: “I just want to thank the PennySmart team for all their help. I have been given a second chance, a clean slate. Now I have no stress over debts I can also see my mental health improving.”
A successful partnership with Community Agents Essex has connected 43 residents experiencing loneliness or struggling to cope at home to vital services across Rochford. 75-year-old Joy Lawrence, who has walking difficulties, met Community Agents at a coffee morning and, after a friendly chat, adaptations including a bed stick, grab rails and a shower chair were quickly installed in her home. Joy said: “They helped me to apply for a blue badge to display in my daughter’s car when she takes me shopping, as well as supporting me to fill in a very long additional allowance form, which I would never have done on my own. Now I’m in a much better financial situation and the extra money can go towards home help.”
We teamed up with Torbay Community Development Trust and People’s Health Trust to help launch the Crafty Fox in Paignton – a volunteer-run community café and hub aimed at reducing social isolation and boosting services for local people. As well as advice surgeries on finances and welfare benefits, craft clubs and a café for residents to meet and chat, the Crafty Fox also offers a weekly work hub that helps people access jobs, training and work experience.