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Fusion21 Foundation funds ForHousing’s What Matters to Us Report

The need for social housing providers to truly understand who their tenants are has never been more important, with the Social Housing Act 2023 adding emphasis to this.

Understanding the needs, challenges and issues faced by tenants means that landlords can deliver services that address those needs and improve their quality of life as well as playing a significant positive role in their communities.

With this in mind, ForHousing has undertaken a detailed Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) mapping exercise in their local communities within Salford, Oldham and Knowsley, with the help of funding from the Fusion21 Foundation.

The project supported ForHousing to understand who their tenants are, the communities they live in and how best to work alongside communities and tenants, by:

  • Mapping the resources available in the community
  • Engaging with local communities to understand their key issues, the support available and identifying any gaps
  • Understanding barriers to engagement tenants and communities may face with and supporting the development of ways to address these
  • Tapping into the existing passion and knowledge of communities to form relationships and to create change
  • Empowering communities and individual tenants to work alongside ForHousing to identify issues and solutions
  • Mapping and understanding similar work that has been undertaken, to avoid duplication of effort

Key outputs from the project included a detailed report of the findings and an asset map for each area that reflected what tenants said meant most to them in terms of both the strengths and assets but also the issues that generated the most passion.

These outputs were shared with project steering groups, Community Voice groups and ForHousing’s Customer Committee for their feedback, which was incorporated into a final report.

Amongst the themes that have emerged from the project include the need to improve the quality and speed of repairs. It has also been clear to see the necessity to use asset-based engagement to work with local communities to develop assets and infrastructure that make sense to these communities and that address the issues they feel strongly about.

Jo Hannan, Head of Foundation at Fusion21, said: “As a foundation we fund research and initiatives aimed at finding practical solutions that make positive differences to peoples’ lives. Understanding the circumstances and the needs of tenants is a crucial step for any housing provider and ForHousing has taken an important proactive step with this project. Empowering their communities to actively work alongside them to deliver this project is exactly the kind of work we are eager to back.”

Toria Buzza, Head of Communities and Tenant Involvement at ForHousing, said: “We are really excited about the ‘understanding our communities’ research. By using asset-based approaches we have engaged with people who we don’t normally hear from - and are now working towards developing new relationships and co-producing solutions that we wouldn’t have ever thought of on our own. Thank you to the Fusion21 Foundation for supporting us to kickstart this essential piece of work.”

Since its inception in 2015, the Foundation has given over £1.6 million in grants and has committed £2 million in social investment. Our funding priorities are health and wellbeing, employment and skills, and financial inclusion and resilience.


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