A blog by Angela Davies, Chair of Wolverhampton Homes

"As we draw closer to the end of 2019, I think it’s important to look back and reflect on everything that’s happened – and what a year it has been!

"This has been a year of significant milestones and we’ve seen celebrations and developments across the housing sector.

"Throughout this year, we have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Housing Act 1919, better known as the ‘Addison Act’. It was this Act of Parliament that kick-started the large-scale development of council homes across Britain. For those working in housing and the millions of households they support, the importance of this piece of legislation cannot go understated. It’s made a very real difference to people’s lives, mine included.

"If you keep your eye on our website and on social media, you will have seen that we shared a video which looked back over the last 100 years of council housing and explored what it means to local people. We also supported numerous events over the summer, including Armed Forces Day and Heath Town Fun Day. More recently, we planted 100 trees in 20 sites across Wolverhampton and on 25 November, we held a special event in the Mayor’s Parlour for some of our oldest residents. Last but certainly not least, we’re installing commemorative stones at some of our new homes across the city, which form part of our small sites new build programme.

"But this wasn’t the only celebration. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Heath Town. The estate was officially opened by Princess Margaret in April 1969. It only seemed right that we celebrated this momentous milestone with another royal visit, and on 29 October we welcomed HRH Duke of Gloucester to Heath Town. He met with local residents, including Vic Collins, a long-standing resident of the estate. Vic took great pride in showing the Duke some of his historic photos, dating back to well before Heath Town even existed.

"If you have driven past Heath Town recently, you’ll have seen it’s undergoing a massive transformation. Wolverhampton Homes and City of Wolverhampton Council are investing £120 million into regenerating the estate, including new and modernised homes for local people. I think it’s fair to say that the estate has been given a new lease of life and I for one can’t wait to see the finished result.

"This year we also celebrated Wolves Pride. Wolverhampton is a city of people from all walks of life, and we should be proud of its rich culture and diversity. Wolverhampton Homes once again played a key role in making this year’s celebration one to remember. It was fantastic to stand alongside City of Wolverhampton Council, our partners and local community groups to show that Wolverhampton is a city for all.

"Christmas is just around the corner and for many of us it’s a time for celebrating, exchanging gifts and spending time with loved ones. But for some people within our communities, it’s the toughest time of year. I’m talking about those people who find themselves homeless over the Christmas period. It’s not right. It’s on that basis that I’m thrilled to say we have launched Housing First in Wolverhampton. This tried and tested initiative offers intensive, long-term support to the most vulnerable rough sleepers, to help them make the transition to a healthier and happier life in settled accommodation.

"I do hope you exercised your right to vote on Thursday 12 December. Now that we know the outcome of the election, the question on many of our lips is, what does this mean for social housing in Britain? Personally, I’m ready for a renewed focus on social housing and I’m eager to see what this new Government pulls out the bag. With change comes challenges and I think it’s important communities work with social housing landlords to face those challenges head on.  

"Finally, in my last blog I talked about my appointment to Chair of Wolverhampton Homes’ Board. Well, the Board has seen further changes since then. We’ve been joined by a new council Board member, Councillor Lynne Moran and we’ve also welcomed three new independent Board members: Parveen Brigue, Hajrija Dergic and Derek Allen. We’ve also been joined by Victor Browne, our newest tenant Board member. Each member of the Board brings something to the table, covering a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience. Together, we’ve made it our mission to steer Wolverhampton Homes in the right direction, ensuring our services are fit for tenants and to help people to get on in life.

"Have a great Christmas and a happy new year."

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