Jane Hinde, our regional director for the North West, shares her thoughts on social housing:
"Social housing is more than the fabric of a building, more than the components that come together to form some sort of shelter. Social housing is about creating a community where its residents are able achieve their ambitions and aspirations. A key feature of social housing is also its ability to adapt and respond to demographic and economic changes
Historically social housing has been about providing as many dwellings in a space as possible, generally with poor design and built with limited space, often aimed at housing families or individuals on low income with few expectations or aspirations. This approach only served to feed frustration and resentment. Thankfully we have learned from those mistakes and misconceptions.
More recently the importance of the environment that people live in has been recognised, in addition to good quality housing being one the most significant elements of achieving a sense of well being at any age.
We now recognise that social housing provides not only bricks and mortar but also the building blocks to create vibrant communities to enable and empower people to have a choice about how they live and access services to meet their needs. Social housing now provides affordable homes meeting the diverse needs of our communities.
As a provider of social housing for older people we recognise their aspirations and we have come a long way since the days of bedsits and shared facilities and it is not that long ago when the significant growth of sheltered housing started. What was then seen as modern and fit for purpose is no longer appropriate.
Thankfully we now acknowledge the good design of both accommodation and communal spaces which can be used in a more flexible way. Innovations in design and technology have also enabled people to achieve greater independence and quality of life."