What happened across the networks in August & September

by | Oct 20, 2022 | MAIN FEATURE, NEWS & VIEWS | 0 comments

Across Our Networks – September and August 2022

If you want to receive a copy of any of the presentations listed below, or be put in touch with the speaker, please contact adam.chester@hact.org.uk

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Contact adam.chester@hact.org.uk to join Basecamp, our online collaboration space, for any of these groups

Yorkshire & Humberside Network – 4 August (future meeting dates here)

The Yorkshire & Humberside network heard from The Sutton Centre in Bradford, a community centre with strong links in the community and a focus on employment, food, and health and wellbeing. They want to link more to housing associations in Bradford, please contact Sam Kirkby sam@thesuttoncentre.co.uk. Yorkshire Housing and Great Places also presented about their organisations’ approach to the cost of living crisis, which sparked more conversation with the whole group around the need for partnership working and the increasing significance of hardship funds.

Coming up: next meeting Thursday 3 November, 10-11.30am, register here

Northern Ireland Network – 11 August 9 September, and 13 October (future meeting dates here)

The Northern Ireland network held a big meeting in August, both in-person at Connswater Offices in Belfast, and online. With 26 people attending, there was good buy-in from many of Northern Ireland’s 20 housing associations to discuss a collaborative project around fuel poverty.

Over three meetings in August, September, October, the network has expanded its reach within community teams in Northern Ireland, and spoken to a wide range of stakeholders including local authorities, fuel poverty charities and energy companies. It’s  also considering a wide range of potential collaborative projects on fuel poverty before narrowing down into tangible action.

Despite considerable buy-in for a Northern Ireland specific energy hardship fund, the network was not able to identify suitable funds, and therefore will be planning joint comms and engagement campaign to spread energy and money saving advice as widely as possible to their residents to help them through the coming winter.

Coming up: next meeting 10 November 3-4pm. Discussing – continuing to plans our comms campaign, including consulting with residents about what information they need currently. Contact adam.chester@hact.org.uk for more information

Housing Associations Youth Network (HAYN) – 9 August (future meeting dates here)

HAYN met to receive updates from the various sub-groups and hear some presentations. The Violence Affecting Young People Sub-Group arranged an event in July ‘Let’s Talk Housing’ attended by 80 young housing association residents to start conversations and educate them about housing. The Youth Social Action Sub-Group is focusing on sustainability, intergenerational connections, and are running innovation labs and recruiting 25 social action youth connectors to focus on these topics.

There were also external opportunities for networks members to get involved with. Isledon spoke about their work leading on social prescribing for young people in Islington, while researchers from Queen Mary University spoke about their research work on about a public health approach to violence affecting young people.

Coming up: next meeting Wednesday 9 November, 10.30am – 12pm. In person. Contact adam.chester@hact.org.uk for more information

Wales Network – 15 August (future meeting dates here)

The Wales network met after it’s postponed July meeting to hear from Community Housing Cymru on how they are providing assistance with fuel poverty and also on the ongoing cost of living crisis, through lobbying Welsh government, partnership working, and a member information toolkit on the cost of living crisis. United Welsh also shared information on their Working Families programme which targets families which are struggling despite having at least 1 family member working.

Coming up: next meeting Thursday 24 November, 3-4pm, register here

Community Centres network – 6 September (future meeting dates here)

The community centres network hosted Clarion to speak about their Social Prescribing programme from a strategic perspective, including how they use their community centres as a key asset in the programme. We also heard an operational perspective from The Sutton Centre in Bradford, one of their centres. Dele Ryder from A2Dominion discussed The Spelthorne Centre’s work on health and wellbeing, where they worked with the local authority to deliver a ‘whole borough approach’ with different services targeted to different age groups.

East of England Network – 8 September (future meeting dates here)

The East of England network were discussing furniture poverty, and heard from the End Furniture Poverty campaign about their work including on supporting second hand furniture schemes, campaigning with housing associations to leave flooring in voids at the end of a tenancy, and their advice service for housing associations on furnished tenancies. They also heard from Torus Homes about their furnished tenancy scheme, which has been running since 1998.

There was also an update on the Shared Prosperity Fund from Communities That Work, and a roundtable discussion on the cost of living crisis, with most organisations saying that community investment budgets are not threatened currently despite increasing costs, most likely due to the valuable work they do supporting residents.

Coming up: next meeting Thursday 8 December, 10.30am-12pm, register here

Age Friendly Network – 14 September (future meeting dates here)

The Age Friendly Network met to hear an update on HACT’s National Lottery Funded Age Friendly Social Housing Programme, and to share updates. The majority of the meeting was a roundtable discussion on the cost of living crisis and people’s response to that, especially considering older residents and the upcoming colder weather. Topics covered included: Warm hubs, in sheltered schemes communal spaces and leisure centres, warm packs for residents, and how to target support based on residents’ need level.

Coming up: next meeting Wednesday 6 November, 2-3pm, register here

North West Network – 20 September (future meeting dates here)

The North West network had a busy meeting with three presenters and breakout rooms to discuss the cost of living crisis.

Our new North West network Vice-Chair Fiona Mather from Livv spoke about their community food project, which uses community meals, cooking lessons and accredited training as a method to build connections, confidence and tackle isolation. Lightning Reach introduced their one-stop platform to enable individuals to easily access hardship funding from a range of sources. Finally, One Manchester presented about The Green Employment & Skills programme, which provides paid work placements at the real Living Wage, while identifying and testing new roles in the green economy.

We also held roundtable discussions on the cost of living crisis, and with most organisations saying that food, energy, warmth in winter, and money saving are priorities, and that community investment budgets are not threatened currently and that their organisations are providing various bits of support to staff at this time.

Coming up: next meeting Tuesday 6 December, 2-3pm, register here

Midlands Housing and Employment Forum – 28 September (future meeting dates here)

The MHEF focuses employment and training. They discussed ongoing work with Communities That Work and a consultant to understand the existing employment and skills offer in the region and explore collaborative funding bids, which will be completed in time for the next meeting. They also had an introduction and update from DWP East Midlands, to explore how they can link together more closely.

Coming up: next meeting Wednesday 30th November, 10:30am–12pm, register here

Stay connected between meetings

The Centre uses Basecamp, an online collaboration space, to help network members stay connected in between meetings. On basecamp you can:

  • Ask questions and share resources with other members of the network
  • Access notes from previous network meetings
  • View dates for upcoming meetings

To join the Basecamp groups most relevant for you, please contact adam.chester@hact.org.uk


You can also join our ‘New Opportunities’ Basecamp team, where we will post about new funding, collaboration or job opportunities which will be relevant for all of our networks. Link to join here