City West celebrates fifth year of making a difference
Published by Bobbie H for City West Housing Trust in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government
Homes at Cumberland Avenue are amongst those that have been transformed by City West over the past five years
City West Housing Trust is celebrating five years of investing in communities and improving lives across West Salford.
The housing association, which owns and manages 14,600 homes, has invested a staggering £235 million into its neighbourhoods and properties since it was formed in October 2008.
Improvement work carried out by the landlord – which has seen all of its homes brought up to the Government’s Decent Homes standard – has delighted customers, and left some parts of the city transformed beyond recognition.
“The change has been amazing,” said Gemma Lamb, Vice Chair of the Youth Empowerment Panel in Salford, “You can see a visible difference in the communities – they dramatically improved our house and the area around it in a short space of time. “The last five years have flown by thanks to the help City West have given us – five years ago there was almost nothing and now we are given so much help from them.”
Carol Mawers, tenant board member for City West, also praised the housing association for the transformation it has made to local neighbourhoods. “City West have really helped to improve communities, not only through a commitment to providing quality, affordable housing but also in delivering services that enhance the lives of customers, from learning and education to health and financial management.” she said.
When City West took over the ownership of the homes from Salford City Council only half of the properties met the Decent Homes standard. Since then City West has fitted more than 10,000 new windows and doors, 8,300 kitchens, 5,300 bathrooms and almost 9,000 new heating systems.
The refurbishments not only mean that all homes are now fit for modern living, but customers have saved more than £4 million on their annual fuel bills, and the homes’ impact on the environment has been reduced by over 250,000 carbon tonnes.
Salford’s skyline has also been transformed by a £54.3 million investment in the area’s high rise schemes, with new thermal cladding and environmentally friendly heating installations fitted at seven blocks so far.
Tim Doyle, Chief Executive at City West, said: “From the start our aim has been to improve the lives of people living in our communities.
“We’ve achieved a huge amount in the past five years, and it has been an amazing experience working with our customers to see just what the investment we have brought to their homes and communities means to them.”
As part of its investment programme, City West has helped 235 people into full time employment. Through its dedicated skills and training programme, the landlord has been able to ensure that the jobs created by its improvement work have been available for local people – with more than 75% of new roles going to people living in the local area.
Tim added: “Building communities is about more than improving homes. We wanted to make sure that local people got the chance to find a job or start a career by working on properties in their community. We ensured that jobs went to local people, and have been hugely successful in encouraging more women into the construction industry, with around a quarter of all the jobs created going to female workers.”
City West has promised that more improvements are to come over the next five years, with work now underway on seven regeneration projects. The landlord has also recently been awarded Investment Partner Status with the Homes and Communities Agency, allowing it to access new funds to help build more homes in West Salford.
“Though we’ve achieved a lot in the last five years, we know that our work is far from over,” said Tim. “Following a huge investment in improving our current properties it is now time to start building more homes for families in West Salford.
“We have got some very exciting plans and work is already underway on a number of regeneration projects.”