The Group works with several key partners who have a stake in the success of our business, as we do in theirs.
Wychavon District Council is our main local authority partner in Worcestershire. In addition to its Community Plan priorities outlined above, the Council operates within its Housing Strategy 2005-8, “Making a real difference” which has been confirmed as ‘fit for purpose’ by the regional government office. The strategy has five key themes:
- enabling the provision of new affordable homes
- promoting sustainable rural development
- promoting choice, quality and suitability
- reducing homelessness
- reaching out to everyone in housing need
Regular operational liaison between Wychavon District Council and the association directs our plans towards the following joint strategic priorities:
- influencing the regional housing agenda through joint working
- providing new housing opportunities within the market towns and rural ‘sustainable’ villages, to meet identified needs, including special needs with ‘Supporting People’ support
- to end the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for families
- to focus on meeting the needs of people with physical and learning disabilities by both the effective use of existing suitable housing and by assisting residents to remain in their own home. The Council has limited financial resources available for direct investment in new housing and will give priority to special need schemes
In 2007, the Council’s services were assessed as excellent by Audit Commission Inspectors who made special mention of the strong delivery partnership that exists between the Council and its partners including Rooftop Housing Group.
The Group has been exploring the need for ExtraCare accommodation with officers at city and county levels. The Group already has 145 homes in the city, including general needs, homeless accommodation, key worker homes and private rent. We have not yet achieved recognition as a development partner and this will be a focus for our role within the Matrix Housing Partnership described later in this section.
Following the transfer of an estate at Bishop’s Cleeve from Shaftesbury HA, the Group now provides 347 homes in the county and is working with councils in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury upon a programme of just under 200 new homes to meet a number of specific local needs, including shared ownership. The most significant projects are the development of ExtraCare villages for Gloucester and Cheltenham. Within this scheme, a key priority for Gloucester City Council is to meet the needs of the local Chinese community, and Rooftop has provided a Resource Centre for the Chinese Community.
ExtraCare Charitable Trust
The Group shares the Trust’s vision of the way life should be for older people and recognises that this requires far more than bricks and mortar to achieve. In preparation for the planned expansion of this partnership, we are currently working towards the formation of a joint venture company with the Trust, the aim being to establish an increasing programme of schemes that recycle internally generated ‘wealth’ and future capital growth back into further new provision.
Provision of extra care homes for older people is the largest capital investment in the Group’s development plans.
Matrix Housing Partnership
The Group now works in partnership with Accord HA, Ashram HA (a subsidiary of Accord), Trident HA and Caldmore Area HA. The initial purpose of the partnership was to gain NAHP partner status with the Housing Corporation to ensure continued access to public subsidy for new development. However, the alliance also set out to explore other opportunities for joint working and the joint procurement of goods and services that will contribute to greater cost efficiency for the partners. The partnership was launched in May 2005 and aims to be a major ‘player’ in the social housing sector. Between them, the partners already provide over 14,000 homes, have a joint turnover of £60 million, property assets of £450 million and are projecting an initial development programme of almost 1,900 homes.
In 2007, Rooftop led the joint procurement of future programmed and response maintenance contracts on behalf of Matrix.
The Group has been working with NHS Trust partners in Worcester, Shrewsbury and Weston-Super-Mare to develop and manage new and existing homes for their key staff. The needs of key workers for suitable affordable housing are now widely recognised by central and regional government investment strategies.
Homeless and special housing needs
We provide specialist properties for a growing number of organisations. Our partners include: Advance Support, ExtraCare, Gordon House Association, MacIntyre Care, MENCAP, Shaw Health Care and St. Basils.
We offer services that are funded by the Worcestershire Supporting People Partnership. The Supporting People programme offers vulnerable people the opportunity to improve their quality of life by providing a stable environment which enables greater independence. The programme enables us to deliver high quality and strategically planned housing-related services that compliment existing care services. Supporting People is a working partnership of local government.