HA's £60m home improvement programme has increased wellbeing
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
A housing association's £61 million home improvement programme has seen communities benefit from an increase in social and psychological wellbeing, new research has revealed.
A report carried out by researchers from the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Reading found that the large scale programme to improve Bracknell Forest Homes’ kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems, windows and doors not only improved security, energy efficiency and modernised the homes, but also gave tenants a greater sense of wellbeing, improved health, and a lower perception of fear of crime. There were also significant economic benefits to the local community.
“We invested £61m to improve our homes to meet the Bracknell Forest standard, which exceeded the government’s basic decent homes standard. This has produced homes which are more energy efficient, more secure and more comfortable for our customers," said Caroline Titley, BFH chief executive.
“We commissioned the University of Reading to evaluate our major works programme. The findings in the report indicate there is also a wider social benefit, which is very pleasing.”
The report highlights social outcomes such as:
• Improved wellbeing from the way people feel about their home for warmth, security and safety, and positive health impacts for individuals and health organisations.
• A reduced fear of burglary and noise reduction.
• Economic benefits through employing local people to carry out the works.
• Older tenants particularly benefiting from investment in their homes.
Dr Steve Musson, from the University of Reading, added: “Our results show that tenants are reporting that their homes are easier to live in and offer better value. Overall we estimate the direct economic benefits to the local economy to be around £3.5m, with knock on health impacts of at least a further £3.5m.
"Satisfaction with the project overall, including the choice of fixtures and fittings, colour schemes and working practices is high with more than four out of five rating the improvement process as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, and this compares well to other similar projects.”
The improvement programme was carried out between 2008 and 2012 and included fitting 3,674 new bathrooms, 3,356 new kitchens, 1,558 new windows, 3,255 new heating systems and at least £400,000 spent on adaptations each year.