Andrew van Doorn explains why HACT has launched an anthology of stories, statistics, and viewpoints capturing how the UK social housing sector responded to the COVID-19 crisis
On March 18, we hosted our first online meeting with social housing colleagues. By the end of the year, we had hosted over 100 online calls, involving colleagues from across the UK, discussing issues ranging from social value metrics and Black History Month actions to Energy Redress Scheme vouchers and digital connectivity opportunities.
New ideas have been shared, new approaches have been tested, new ways of working have been explored. New relationships have been formed within and across organisations, as well as with local voluntary and community groups, government, and health colleagues.
Our focus has been on connecting and developing the sector.
On every one of these calls, the dedication, ingenuity, and commitment of colleagues across the sector has been evident.
“On March 18, we hosted our first online meeting with social housing colleagues – by the end of the year, we had hosted over 100 online calls”
We wanted to capture these activities to ensure the depth and breadth of the response by social housing organisations to the COVID-19 pandemic was marked. We wanted to tell the story of the sector’s response that began in short-term crisis mode and developed into a collaborative and informed longer-term perspective.
A Sector Together includes stories ranging from a children’s cooking project in Gloucester to a motorcycle prescription delivery service in Gwent, from activity packs in Cornwall to food vans with built-in Wifi in Glasgow.
It provides data that evidences the impact social housing organisations have made, from the number of welfare calls, advice, and guidance sessions, to the direct financial support to residents and number of staff redeployed into frontline roles. It contains our insights into issues such as data and mental health.
Above all, it is a testament to the collaboration and values that are embodied in the social housing sector. As we celebrate our 60th birthday, we are proud to be the charity of the sector.
The crisis is not over. There are still significant challenges and risks ahead. But in working together, evaluating and learning from our experiences, and being bold in our choices, we will be able to realise our roles as anchor-based organisations.
As in 2020, HACT will continue to be your social housing partner, driving collaboration, insights, and value.
Image: Andrew van Doorn, CEO, HACT
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