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Great Communities

Our Neighbourhoods teams help to create successful, vibrant communities that our customers want to live in.

Our Corporate Plan makes a clear long-term commitment to creating sustainable neighbourhoods, increasing investment in communities and combating the negative impacts of poverty and inequality.

During 2019/20, we have helped over 1,400 households into employment, training and volunteering opportunities, provided tenancy support to 385 customers helping them to sustain their tenancies, invested £100,000 into our network of community centres and secured £105,000 of social value funding for a range of projects within our communities.

GM Housing First

Great Places is the accountable body for the Greater Manchester Housing First pilot – one of three national pilots to deliver Housing First at scale announced by the Government. The pilot commenced in April 2019 and changes the lives of society’s most vulnerable people on a daily basis.

Year-one of the three-year pilot was hugely successful and provided support to 150 people. Through the pilot, we also helped 103 people into permanent homes and a further 23 people to sustain their tenancies for longer than six months by 31 March 2020.

To find out more about the Housing First team and the role they carry out, watch the video at the bottom of the page.


A Bed Every Night (ABEN)

A Bed Every Night is an initiative by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) which offers everyone in Greater Manchester a bed as an alternative to rough sleeping.

In Partnership with the GMCA and Trafford Council, we have provided 10 beds for people across Trafford who would have otherwise been rough sleeping.

  • We have an ABEN night shelter which has provided for 130 people.
  • We have supported 130 people onto the housing register.
  • 110 people have been supported into temporary and permanent accommodation.
  • The initiative is supported by the provision of befriending volunteers.
  • There is provision of a health offer such as general check-ups.
  • Essential services such as a hot shower and meals are provided.
  • A clothes store and foodbank are available on site.

Commitment to our Neighbourhoods

Our Community Investment Service is focused on improving the life chances of our customers and making our neighbourhoods great places to live. We have extended the reach of our services to all customers with a clear focus on employment support and poverty reduction, maximising the value of partnerships where others are better placed to deliver our aims. In our four anchor neighbourhoods (Longridge and Shaw Heath in Knutsford; Northmoor in Manchester; Seedley and Langworthy in Salford and Wybourn in Sheffield) where we have concentrations of properties and greater influence, we have developed specific neighbourhood plans working in partnership with customers and partners to make these neighbourhoods even better places to live.

During 2019/20, our support has:

  • Provided £100,000 of investment into our network of seven community centres, providing support to our customers and the wider communities with a range of projects and services ranging from employment and skills, to youth clubs and volunteering opportunities.
  • Funded the Centre Manager role at Northmoor Community Association, where the Next Step project helps local residents to find work, complete qualifications and navigate the Universal Credit system.
  • Enabled 60 young people to attend the weekly homework club at Northmoor Community Association, where they received specialist tutoring from professional teachers.
  • Helped customers at the Primrose Centre in Oldham to access lifelong learning, arts and cultural activities as well as a community pantry and communal eating project.
  • Developed partnerships and projects with organisations such as Burnley FC, Pop-up Business School, First Choice Homes and Barclays to create innovative services and community projects in our neighbourhoods, engaging with more than 1,000 residents.

Community Investment - Supporting Customers

As the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic unfolded in March 2020, our immediate priority was to divert much-needed resources to support our customers affected by financial hardship. We have contributed £35,000 to support the coordination of customer referrals to Local Authority Support Response Hubs, providing our customers with seamless access to their local authority support offer.

In addition, we have:

  • Set up a Great Places’ Emergency Fund and dealt with in excess of 100 applications from customers facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
  • Supported 810 households into employment, training and volunteering opportunities.
  • In partnership with third sector organisations, delivered anti-poverty initiatives such as furniture and fuel support for customers in financial hardship, including an energy switching service with National Energy Action, helping customers to make significant annual savings on their fuel bills.
  • Secured a further two years of European Social Fund grant for the More Positive Together project in Lancashire, helping customers with complex needs to progress into work.
  • Read Sally’s Story

Independence and Wellbeing

Great Places provides specialist services and expert support to promote independence and wellbeing for people across our regions.

We are committed to helping our customers develop key life skills and achieve their goals. Click here to view our booklet explaining more about our offer, including our model, framework and guiding principles.

In the last financial year, our offer and commitment to Independence and Wellbeing included investing £4M in support revenue and employing 115 colleagues to manage services to meet a range of diverse customer needs from older people to young parents, to complex families and people with mental health needs or drug and alcohol issues. We also spent around £30,000 on adaptations to ensure our customers could stay in their homes.

We directly manage supported housing projects and have 17 accommodation schemes providing short term accommodation and support for nearly 300 people. In 2019/20, over 500 customers received a service in one of our supported housing schemes.

Working with our partners who provide specialist care and support, we accommodated a further 800 vulnerable customers in 2019/20 working with commissioners across 22 local authorities.

Alongside services commissioned by local authorities, GMCA and other bodies we directly fund a team of tenancy coaches for Great Places’ customers. A £300,000 investment in our Tenancy Coach service in 2019/20 has seen us:

  • Support 385 general needs customers to maintain their independent tenancies.
  • Complete over 500 wellbeing sessions with these customers.

Our Independent Living offer has seen us invest £240,000 in support revenue for elderly services. We have supported over 600 elderly customers in 2019/20 in 15 Extra-Care and Sheltered schemes comprising of nearly 500 flats.

Social Impact Bond

We are a delivery partner in the GM Homes Partnership covering Bury, Bolton, Rochdale, Oldham and Tameside. The service supports people who are entrenched rough sleepers into their own homes and provides individual and flexible support.

  • 106 people are currently in their own accommodation.
  • 95% of people have sustained their home for six months or more.
  • 73 people regularly access alcohol, drug or mental health support services.
  • We are piloting a new biometric ID system for homeless people in Oldham as part of our commitment to driving change and removing barriers.

Read Charlie’s Story

Social Value

Our pioneering approach to social value remains a top priority. We work in close consultation with colleagues, customers and suppliers to constantly review and enhance our ‘offer’, ensuring social value is embedded across all of our business activity, including the £750M Innovation Chain North framework. Our merger with Equity will see us building on the excellent legacy work carried out by the Equity Foundation, enabling us to strengthen further our social value offer.

During 2019/20, generous contributions from our suppliers enabled us to support a range of community initiatives and projects. We were also able to establish a Hardship Fund to provide emergency support to customers facing financial hardship brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Our social value activity and achievements include:

  • Securing £105,000 in social value funding.
  • Incorporating social value into the £750M Innovation Chain North framework, enabling us to work in partnership with the framework supply chain to deliver exceptional social impact during the coming year.
  • Introducing a ‘sponsorship’ model to social value funding, providing funders with an opportunity to become involved in projects.
  • Applying a 10% minimum weighting to tenders above £50,000.
  • Matching 57 social value projects to contractor tender commitments.
  • Ensuring all supplier contract extensions are subject to including social value commitments in their final year.
  • Our continued active involvement in the Greater Manchester Housing Providers’ social value work stream, where we facilitated a Social Enterprise Workshop in partnership with One Manchester at the Greater Manchester Housing Providers’ Social Value Conference.
  • Winning the ‘Embedding Social Value in Contract Management’ Award at the National Social Value Conference in London.


Read about the Blackpool based mental health support service, Stand Together and Recover (STAR) here