North East housing association Bernicia will invest £210m into homes and communities over the next four years.
The investment will focus on building at least 600 new homes across the region, deliver major works to improve existing housing and neighbourhoods and help people into work.
Tenants’ views have helped shape Bernicia’s new corporate strategy which outlines how it will deliver exceptional services, sharply focused on customers’ needs at a time of major financial pressures on households.
The housing association owns and manages 14,000 properties, employing 550 staff across the North East and with an annual turnover of £90m.
Over the next four years, Bernicia will:
- Invest £85m in new housing, building at least 600 new homes
- Deliver £63m of major maintenance works to improve existing homes and communities
- Spend £61m on day to day and cyclical home repairs programmes
- Meet national home energy efficiency targets five years ahead of Government target
- Pledge £2m to help local people into employment – creating a new employability team to work with regional businesses
- Generate £15m of added social value for the region
Bernicia will commit additional resources to help tackle fuel poverty as households face a cost of living crisis. It will install more efficient heating systems into homes, fit extra insulation, photovoltaic panels and air source heat pumps.
John Johnston, Bernicia Chief Executive, said: “Over the next four years, we will put our human and financial resources to work, using our skills to release more capacity to support our tenants, customers and communities at a time when arguably they need it most.
“The North East is where our tenants and communities live, where our financial strength has been generated, and where the company has always been based – and we want to use our strength to help it grow.
“We are pledging significant extra resources to support financial inclusion, building aspiration and increasing confidence – providing training, skills and job opportunities people deserve.
“We are more than just a landlord. We are an anchor institution for communities and we will continue to work to help deliver with partners the ambitious strategic plans for the North East.”
Bernicia’s strategy aims to create £15m of added social value, partly by channelling the profits of its commercial arms Kingston, a block and estate management and landscaping specialist, and estate agent Living Spaces, back into supporting tenants and the communities they live in.
Bernicia’s new employability team will work with regional schools and colleges to deliver more apprenticeships and placements and will engage with employers to give young people the ‘work ready skills’ they need to launch their careers.
Its £210m investment programme and collaborative working with a host of regional contractors and partners will help promote the North East’s role in the Government’s national ‘Levelling Up’ agenda.