A new toolkit showing how businesses and social landlords can work together to create better communities is set to have its West Midland launch.
Building Opportunities is the result of a research project by Business in the Community in partnership with a cross-sector group of companies, housing associations and national housing bodies.
The toolkit shows how the private sector can work with social landlords to support communities facing social problems - not out of altruism - but because it makes good business sense.
A range of businesses and social landlords were surveyed for the project, including Birmingham-based housing associations, Ashram and Midland Heart who sat on the national steering group. The research identified over 100 examples of practical collaborations between social landlords and businesses falling into five main areas: employment and skills; enterprise support; support for young people; financial inclusion and community projects.
Wates, who chaired the steering group, developed the project with Business in the Community as a result of its own work with social landlords, which indicated the potential for stronger partnerships between businesses and the social housing sector.
Social landlords are increasingly involved in the social and physical regeneration of the communities they support, through the provision of services including employment training, childcare, community centres and youth facilities.
Likewise, more and more businesses recognise the benefits of supporting community-based regeneration and many already have relationships with social landlords particularly contractors and suppliers in the construction sector.
Paul Drechsler, Chairman and CEO of Wates said: “Companies throughout the country are actively engaged in community projects. Many are striving for better ways to engage, and most of all better ways to sustain long-term positive impact in the areas that need it most. It was our understanding that social landlords house concentrations of these communities that led us to approaching Business in the Community to produce this toolkit.”
The toolkit will be launched at a workshop sponsored by the Housing Corporation and organised by Business in the Community in partnership with Sustainability West Midlands and Wates Living Space, on Thursday, July 10, at the West Midlands Centre for Construction Excellence. For more details of the event contact Alison Maxam at Business in the Community on 0121 451 2227.
To download copies of the Building Opportunities Research Report, Toolkit for Business and Guidance Note for Social Landlords visit www.bitc.org.uk/socialhousing.