Pioneering Partnerships

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Our partnership work underpins everything we do. It is aligned closely to our values and is key to our success. We understand that by working with others, we are stronger together and best placed to deliver more homes and improved services for our existing and future customers. We are constantly exploring ways to work with others to achieve better outcomes.

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As a lead partner, we are currently delivering two Homes England contracts including our Strategic Partnership. These contracts have enabled delivery of nearly 2000 new homes, including a mix of social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership properties.  Several other Registered Providers are delivering a further 1200 new homes for social rent, affordable rent, rent to buy and shared ownership through our Investment Partnership and Strategic Partnership.

We have successfully delivered a range of projects this year and are currently managing over 1500 homes on site. These sites are primarily across Greater Manchester, the Sheffield City Region and Lancashire.

Delivery of our Strategic Partnership is ahead of schedule and we claimed our £52.63M grant allocation six months early. Some of the projects delivered through the partnership include our first fully volumetric development at Shorrock Lane, Blackburn, and our first in-house construction site at Horace Street, Bolton. 

Great Places is the accountable body for the Greater Manchester Housing First (GMHF) pilot.

In the midst of a global pandemic, the pilot has continued to change and save lives across the region. The partnership of 12 organisations and network of support services, which include those in the health and criminal justice system, is a three-year pilot aimed at rehousing more than 300 people.

To read the full story of how the pilot has evolved, click HERE

In year two we have housed 224 people with a tenancy sustainment rate of 89 per cent. The pilot is changing and saving lives on a daily basis, which is shown through our people's stories.

Mick’s Story:  From a steady home with a wife and children, a family break-up turned his life on its head and led to more than a decade on the streets.  He lost his home and contact with his children and ended up on the streets of Tameside and spent time in and out of temporary accommodation – including A Bed Every Night (ABEN).
Read more about Mick’s story HERE

Katie’s Story:  Katie is now part of our co-production panel, a group of people with lived experience, who have helped to ensure the pilot serves the people on it.  Katie’s life has been transformed by GMHF, which has supported her through her journey from homelessness and an inherent drug addiction to her own home, a job and a college course.
Read more about Katie’s story HERE

As we seek an extension to our funding, the life-changing work of the pilot has been promoted in several high profile events and a legislative theatre production, ‘you know where the door is’, which featured members of our co-production panel.  The powerful theatre production, which included a large virtual international audience, provided ‘food for thought’, as it highlighted the systemic barriers faced by homeless people.


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The crucial role of the GMHF pilot has also been heavily featured in the following reports:

Centre for Social Justice – Close to Home Report, making the case for Housing First to be rolled out at scale nationally.

To read the more about the Centre for Social Justice Close to Home Report, click HERE

Housing First England - A Picture of Housing First in England, providing an insight into the scope and expansion of Housing First services across the country.

To read the full report, click HERE.

In addition to our work on the Housing First Pilot, we were also part of the Social Impact Bond (SIB), a three-year project established to tackle rough sleeping across Greater Manchester.

Led by the GM Homes Partnership and supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, SIB was a vital part of a wider strategy to prevent and reduce homelessness in Greater Manchester.

Concluding in December 2020, the programme significantly reduced the number of entrenched sleepers across Greater Manchester, supporting hundreds of people experiencing long-term homelessness into accommodation.

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Achieve is a partnership which provides support to people who are going through drug and alcohol recovery across Bolton, Salford and Trafford. Made of eight partner organisations, we are the only housing provider. Through our involvement, we promote independence and wellbeing, helping people at risk of losing their home; people who need help settling into a new home and those who need help to find a new home. 

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Hive Homes is a joint venture with nine other housing associations and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). Over the last year, Hive has established itself as a reputable developer providing much-needed accessible private housing across Greater Manchester.

Its first site in Middleton is under way and attracting strong interest from homebuyers. Hive is aiming to start on site at two further developments in Castleton and Bolton later this year.

Hive has grown in strength considerably over the last 12 months, with the recruitment of two senior managers to head up sales and development.

With a healthy pipeline of development sites, Hive has agreed deals with several Greater Manchester local authorities, with sufficient capacity to deliver just over the 700 homes identified in its Business Plan.

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This new and innovative joint venture works collaboratively with the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority and in nine local authority areas to deliver homes to meet the needs of local communities.

Forge is on site with its first scheme at Hallgate Lane in Pilsley, Chesterfield, consisting of 98 new homes. Contracts have been exchanged for the purchase of a site for 58 new homes at Wellbeck Gardens, Bolsover, and for a further 58 new homes at Station Road, Beckingham.

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In January 2021, Hong Kong-based developer Far East Consortium (FEC) selected Great Places as one of three housing associations to help deliver the first 800 new affordable homes as part of its new 15,000-home Victoria North project in Manchester.

The scheme is a joint venture between FEC and Manchester City Council and aims to deliver the new homes across the north of the city over the next 20 years. The development is divided into phases and neighbourhoods, with the Red Bank neighbourhood first to be progressed.  Adjacent to Manchester’s Victoria Station, Red Bank will include around 5500 new homes, alongside infrastructure supported by the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund.

As a long-standing Manchester headquartered housing provider, we have a deep commitment to the city and its people. This opportunity allows us to build on many years of working in the city to improve housing opportunities for local people. The chance to be involved in the long-term development of world-class integrated residential neighbourhoods fits our social and business model perfectly and we’re very excited to be involved.

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In July 2020 we launched our Innovation Chain North (ICN) framework to support delivery of new homes across the north of England. Some of the highlights of our achievements include:

  • 109 contractors and consultants entering into framework agreements
  • more than 20 clients signed up to the new framework including existing clients and new ones attracted by our service offer, the new structure of the framework, the award process and our excellent reputation;
  • 140 consultant call-offs, generating fees of £4.5M;
  • contractor call-offs with a value of over £169.5k with more than 1700 new homes on the way as a result;
  • a new ICN website launched in November 2020, along with a new portal in April 2021. The portal offers clients and suppliers a unique space to manage their ICN activity all in one place.

The framework also launched the Modular Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), a new offer with eight suppliers of modular homes already signed up, and an increased interest from other companies. This is already providing support to the Off-Site Homes Alliance.

Social value was a key part of the tendering process to ensure we generate opportunities in the communities we are building in. This resulted in commitments of over £2.8M and plans to deliver social value activities including 1000 hours of volunteering, 40 new jobs for customers and 350 work placement weeks.

Off-site Home Alliance - Shorrock Lane

The Offsite Homes Alliance (OSHA) consists of 22 housing providers including Great Places, working with offsite suppliers to increase the delivery of factory-built homes. The ambition is to deliver 9000 homes per year, a target that could be achieved between 2022 and 2023.

The first phase of OSHA’s delivery is now complete, which included establishing members of the partnership, setting up legal and operational governance and completing a project plan and business case.

The focus of the alliance is now on phase two delivery - developing designs for manufacture, zero carbon-ready specifications, on-boarding the supply chain and scoping the opportunity to develop an assembly joint venture within the next 12 to 18 months.

The alliance currently has 75 supply chain partners registered on its purchasing system and is evaluating 36 different offsite technologies.

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We continue to be an active member of Homes for the North (H4N), an alliance of the largest 17 developing housing associations in the North. The ethos of Homes for the North is to improve the supply and quality of new homes, create economic growth, improve living standards and create strong communities where people can achieve their aspirations.

In 2020, Great Places led the response to Government on behalf of H4N on consultations regarding planning reforms and the new model of shared ownership. We also helped develop proposals on an amendment to how the Treasury’s Green Book methodology is applied in the North and proposals for place-based regeneration.

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We continue to be an active member of the Greater Manchester Housing Providers (GMHP), which consists of 25 housing providers who use their combined strength to ensure everyone in the City Region can live in a quality home that they can afford.

Alongside other members, we are substantial investors in our communities and, over recent years, we have collectively delivered around 40 per cent of new homes across Greater Manchester. 

Together, the members of GMHP contribute £1.2BN in gross value added to the Greater Manchester economy and support more than 28,000 full-time time jobs across local communities.

Working across all 10 Greater Manchester districts, our continued commitment to the GMHP agenda is pivotal to our work. We help to shape the strategies and interventions on a wide range of issues such as health and social care, employment and skills, fuel poverty and the ageing population. We also lead on the growth workstream and are actively involved in others including homelessness, social value and employment and skills.

Other pages in Annual Report 2021