Community investment in the spotlight for #HousingDay

It’s #HousingDay 2019 today (8 October) and we are helping to celebrate the positive impact of social housing by taking part in the national social media event – which is being broadcast live from our Witney offices!

You can join the discussion at twitter.com/housingday #HousingDay

The focus for this year’s event is community investment and there are few things more important to people than having a good quality home in a great community.

Vivian Rosser, Chief Executive of Cottsway, said “Whilst many people know that Cottsway provides affordable housing for rent or shared ownership, they’re less aware of the work we do in the community.

Each year, we invest over £80k in community-level initiatives to help improve lives locally and I’m extremely proud of this ongoing commitment. #HousingDay is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the many projects we’re involved in, both to our customers and the wider community.”

Vivian will be among interviewees from the social housing sector speaking to #HousingDay organisers live from our offices in Station Lane, Witney, today.

#HousingDay is being spearhead by Leslie Channon, a former Chair of Cottsway’s Scrutiny Panel and we have backed her in her advocacy for social housing, including supporting her to study for a Master’s Degree in Housing Studies.

Now a leading social housing campaigner, Leslie helped to develop and co-faciltate the Ministerial Roadshows which informed the Government’s Social Housing Green Paper published in 2018. She is currently Chair of the national Voice for Tenants group.

Cottsway’s community investment

To follow are just a few examples of our community investment work over the last 18 months:

  • Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire: We have grant-funded a money and debt advice service so that all our customers, regardless of where they live, can get free, independent advice.
  • Community clear-ups: We invested £3,000 in community clear-up days to help seven communities keep the area they live in clean and tidy.
  • Community Fund: We awarded just over £31,000 worth of grants to help 21 community projects and three customers.
  • Hoarding Disorder Support: We supported over 100 people by providing a monthly support group which offers free advice and support to those affected by the disorder.
  • Online support: We offer three schemes to help our customers get online – either with free training or through provision of a tablet or smart phone.
  • Our house: We are currently support seven under 35s on out-of-work benefits by giving them a home and helping them get back into work.
  • Staff training: We have invested in training for all front-line staff so they can offer support if a customer discloses domestic abuse.
  • Staff fundraising: Each year our staff raise money for their chosen charity. Last year we donated £6k to the local children’s hospice, Helen & Douglas House.
  • Witney Foodbank: We provide a free base for the local charity group to operate from. They offer emergency food parcels to those in crisis in West Oxfordshire.

Blogs from the front line

Read blogs from two members of our Communities team – Sam Stronach, Our House Project Co-ordinator and Vicki Paxford, Communities Manager.