"As well as increasing the supply of affordable social housing, this partnership has increased the activities of a company whose model is based on good quality work."
Gloucestershire County Council has addressed the urgent local need for affordable housing through a partnership with Two Rivers Housing. This organisation is an independent not-for-profit registered charity that provides and maintains housing within the region. The council transferred its housing stock to this organisation, which permitted an increase in housing stock to over 4,000 homes available for rent across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, and to establish a construction programme. Specific priorities include increasing the supply of affordable rentals in rural areas, ensuring that newly-built homes use energy and water efficiently (thus reducing costs for residents and minimising environmental impact), and regeneration of existing assets.
As well as increasing the supply of affordable social housing, this partnership has increased the activities of a company whose model is based on good quality work. Using their organisational leverage, Two Rivers Housing provides extensive employment in the local area, invests profits back into its core activities and community projects, and aims wherever possible to use local suppliers and subcontractors. It also supports community regeneration projects, neighbourhood activities, and local groups.
Two Rivers also runs an active, award winning programme of apprenticeships in office skills, construction and skilled crafts. These are all sectors where people with qualifications below degree level can achieve good earnings and work progression, in work that builds on regional assets. In addition, employees are encouraged to participate in an extensive range of continuing professional development including secondment opportunities that help to broaden learning and experience.
This programme demonstrates how councils can support inclusive growth by working with regional anchor institutions and key stakeholders.