Why regeneration can be key to building happy communities

In our second Homes at the Heart of Prosperous Communities blog this week, we’re continuing the theme of regeneration.  

Today, our Regeneration Manager Margaret shares why regeneration is so key to building communities that are happy, healthy and long-lasting. In case you missed it, you can take a look at the first blog earlier this week for examples of a regeneration brought to life.

Needs change over time

Good homes are about the people who live in them. However, the needs of the individuals and families change over time, which means where they live needs to as well. They need to be improved and replaced to support the aspirations people have for their homes, and their lives.

However much care and attention we take of our customers’ homes, at some point in time, they are no longer going to be fit for purpose. That’s when we have to take the difficult decision to demolish properties and replace them with something new.

The needs of our communities also change over time.  Families generally aren’t as large as they used to be, for example, but more people have cars that they want to park close to their houses.

The way housing estates were designed in the 1960s is now completely at odds with how they would be designed today. For example, some of the houses on 1960s estates were built using experimental building methods that haven’t stood the test of time.  On some estates there are also interesting access routes, which over time have become rat runs and are just not safe today.

The aims of regeneration

Our main aim with any regeneration is not only to provide decent housing for our customers, now and in the future, but also to create a community people can be proud to live in and call home. It really does have the potential to transform people’s homes and their lives.

To do that requires input from a wide range of people, both within the organisation and outside it – not just those of us who primarily deal in bricks and mortar.

We never lose sight of the fact that we are dealing with people’s homes, where they may have lived for many years, raised their families and built up a lifetime of memories.  We work with customers throughout any regeneration process to ensure they can move into the right property in the right location to enable them to carry on with their lives.

What may seem a hopeless situation at the start of the process can become a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move to a new home in a new location to start building more happy memories.

Regeneration challenges

The decision to undertake regeneration in a specific area isn’t taken lightly though, and each regeneration comes with its own challenges. There are also some that are fairly common, for example, the upheaval to customers and the reality that projects can take a long time to complete.

The costs involved in regenerating an area are also enormous.  Organisations doing regeneration work, like Onward, have to make sure that at the end of the process they aren’t going to be in a worse position financially then they were at the start.

Ultimately though, with good planning, communication, and the right partnerships, it’s all worth it – as we saw with Hattersley earlier in the week, regeneration can have a lasting impact on families for generations to come and give neighbourhoods a new lease of life.

New homes built for communities

And that’s the reason I work in regeneration – I can look back over my career, revisit the regenerated neighbourhoods, and see communities that are now thriving. I can see new homes built for families.

I remember difficult conversations with customers about them having to move to a new house, and then working with them for many months to find them a new home.  I also remember going back to visit them in their new homes, where they tell me they’re so happy.

Ultimately, regeneration really does make a difference. I love that I get to be part of providing new homes for people to move into, but ultimately it’s the residents themselves that create a sustainable community to live in.

Take a look at our website or give us a call on 0300 555 0600 for support with your tenancy or more information on the work we’re doing

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