Our vision

Great Places is an established and ambitious, valuesled housing association delivering a range of high quality services to a diverse customer base in the north of England. Our roots date back to the rise of the housing association movement in the late 60’s / early 70’s and we have grown to own or manage 25,000 homes across the North West, South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. We have an excellent reputation as a responsible, respected and trusted landlord with an ambitious development programme and a keen focus on tackling the housing crisis in the North. We remain true to our original founding purpose of providing homes for those facing challenging situations and services that improve our customer’s lives; we take innovative approaches to deliver on this through our ‘profit for purpose’ model.

Our property portfolio includes social rented homes, affordable rented homes, supported housing, housing for older people, market rented homes, shared ownership homes, homes for key workers. We also deliver leasehold and estate management services through our Plumlife brand. We work in collaboration with partners working in the neighbourhoods where our homes are to help shape and support local communities, with the aim that they become thriving places where people want to stay, grow and build their own lives. We have our own in-house repairs team focused on delivering a great customer experience, ensuring value for money and supporting local suppliers through our innovative materials distribution centre.

In line with our purpose we play a role in supporting the most vulnerable members of society. We provide specialist supported housing accommodation and expert support services focused on encouraging and maintaining independence and wellbeing across our geography. Our teams support individuals with a range of needs including teenage parents, mental health issues, addiction and homelessness as well as providing sheltered and extra care accommodation for older people. We are also the accountable body for the Greater Manchester Housing First pilot working together with 5 other housing associations, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority , The Bond Board and Greater Manchester Mental Health. Together we provide flexible person-centred support alongside a permanent home to enable those with complex needs begin recovery and move away from homelessness.  

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We are proud to be one of the leading developing housing associations in the North. Our aim is to maximise our investments in affordable, high quality and sustainable homes, ensuring they meet the needs of customers and enhance local communities. We built over 300 homes last year and have over 1000 on site for delivery in the coming year.

In 2020 we launched our in-house construction company Terra Nova Developments Ltd and we already have one live development on site and a strong pipeline building. One of our corporate ambitions is to develop the majority of our new homes using off-site construction techniques by 2028 and as a result we are leading the way in shaping the development of the modular construction industry through becoming a founding member of the Offsite Homes Alliance (OSHA). OSHA was established by a group of like-minded partners to support the development of a strong off-side construction sector by addressing some of the sector’s challenges, to drive value by aggregating the demand of developing partners, and addressing standardisation and design for manufacture. The ambition is for partners collectively to eventually deliver 9000 homes per year through OHSA.

Great Places ‘profit-for-purpose’ approach means we operate as efficiently as possible, harnessing the power of our commercial activity to deliver on our social purpose. By focusing on value for money, we can reinvest cash back into our communities as a force for good. Last year alone, aside from the new homes we developed, we ploughed £3m of our surplus straight back into our customers – helping them back into employment and training; giving essential financial advice and providing support services – and our communities, with investment ranging from financial support to sustain community centres delivering essential services, to improving the physical environment of our neighbourhoods, to addressing digital exclusion, to supporting budding entrepreneurs with their start-up businesses. In response to Covid-19 during 2020 we established a £100,000 Hardship Fund to provide emergency support to customers facing financial hardship brought about by the pandemic.

The majority of our commercial activity is driven through Cube Homes, a subsidiary company that develops homes for market rent and sale.

Through Cube Homes we are members of two innovative joint ventures working with like-minded partners to maximise our impact in tackling the housing crisis in the two City Regions in which we work. The Hive Homes Partnership was established in 2018 and Great Places invested in Hive alongside 9 other housing association partners and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority with the aim of developing much needed homes for sale in Greater Manchester.

In 2019 we entered into partnership with four other housing associations working in the Sheffield City Region to establish Forge New Homes, a new company developing quality, affordable homes for sale. In both cases all the profits each company makes is returned to investor partners to reinvest in ‘profit for purpose’ activity. Great Places is also a partner in the Sheffield Housing Company alongside Sheffield City Council and Keepmoat Homes developing new homes to a high standard for sale, affordable rent and shared ownership in 7 neighbourhoods in the City.

Alongside our focus on tackling the housing crisis we are working to address the challenge of establishing carbon measurement and reduction methods across all our work in line with local and national targets. We place a particular focus on the new homes we develop and in improving the sustainability of our existing homes and in this way we will ensure that our housing meets the needs of our customers both now and in the future

Profit for purpose

Profit for purpose

In 2020 we completed a merger with Equity Housing Group which created the only housing association headquartered in Greater Manchester managing homes in all 10 districts of the City Region.

The merger also strengthened our footprint in another northern city region of significant importance to us – the Sheffield City Region.

We also became one of the North’s largest providers of Shared Ownership and Leasehold Services and increased our capacity to develop 11,000 homes over the 10 years of our corporate plan from the original 9,000 planned.

We are 1 year into an ambitious programme to integrate Equity Housing Group fully into Great Places and transform the way our services are delivered taking a ‘better than both’ approach.

Read more about our ambitious plans for the future in our Corporate Plan.

Our values are strong

We couldn’t deliver on our ambitious plans without our hard-working and dedicated people. We know that in order to deliver a great service for our customers, we need a committed and engaged workforce who believe in our vision, and deliver on our values in the work that they do. At Great Places we value our people as we know that they are the key to our success.

We invest in developing our colleagues capabilities, skills and behaviours to ensure that we remain high performing. We trust and empower them to work collaboratively towards achieving our ambitions and we ensure all our colleagues have a meaningful voice and say in how we do things.

We work hard to foster a sense of belonging to Great Places and we value the diversity of the Great Places team recognising the value that this brings in helping us understand and meet the needs of our diverse range of customers and in driving the continued success of our business.

GREATER

We are working towards embedding a shared operating culture that we call GREATER

  • Growing
  • Respectful
  • Empowering
  • Achieving
  • Trusted
  • Excelling
  • Reputable

The group

group

The key entities in the Group

  • Great Places Housing Group – non-charitable and non-asset owning parent company
  • Great Places Housing Association – charitable registered provider, owns the majority of the Group’s assets and employs the entire workforce
  • Plumlife Homes Limited – delivering all of the Group’s shared ownership, sales and management activity, as well as leasehold and estate management services
  • Cube Homes Limited – development activities including new homes for market sale and rent
  • Terra Nova Developments – in-house construction company
The Group structure comprises five companies led by the group board supported by two committees and managed by our Chief Executive (Matthew Harrison) and a team of Executive Directors. 99% of the Group’s assets are owned by Great Places Housing Association.