A general consensus, and a clear frustration, is that in the past year or two we as a sector haven’t always delivered a completely clear, compelling and consistent voice to Government, stakeholders and the wider public about the key role of affordable housing in this country. Not getting your message across effectively is not just a matter of reputation, profile or common sense – it really does matter.
That’s why I was really pleased to see the success of the Homes for Britain initiative aimed at creating a common voice for everyone involved in housing at the recent round of political party conferences. Orbit hosted one of the more than 50 events under the Homes for Britain banner aimed at driving our message to the heart of the political agenda. We had an excellent debate hosted by Planning and Development Minister Nick Boles MP alongside Wates Living Space and Bexley Council. Collaboration was a powerful theme.
Indeed, it’s crucial that we bring together people from across the affordable housing sector, the private sector and local authority colleagues to work together. After all, solutions were never just sector specific, and I think more than ever we need to work across traditional boundaries and markets to make things happen.
At Orbit, although we are determined to shape our own destiny through our own Orbit 2020 programme, we also recognise that collaboration is the key to delivering the homes this country needs now and in the future. I also suspect that connecting with people, communities and organisations across new networks will be as important as traditional organisational structures in the future. During tough times, the value of developing existing relationships and creating new networks of people pulling in broadly the same direction is critical.