Offering apprenticeship schemes, employment opportunities and advice on welfare benefit changes, in addition to fundraising for charity and pouring investment into the Salford area, Salix Homes are more than just a social housing company.
As well as housing management, the company plays a key role in working with the council on housing regeneration and renewal services for residents and local businesses across Central Salford.
Salix Homes also support wider regeneration projects carried out by the council and other agencies, making sure all projects bring real benefits to the whole community and help create better neighbourhoods.
Managing around 10,500 council-owned properties across Central Salford and the Beechfarm and Rainsough Brow estates, since their establishment in 2007 Salix Homes have racked up a staggering amount of awards and accolades.
Last year for example the company became the first housing organisation to win three awards at the National Federation of ALMOs Awards, scooping the Most Innovative Project Award for their energy efficiency improvements to New Barracks and Best Community Initiative for the Making Differences Count project. Meanwhile, tenant Charlotte Boardman won the Outstanding Young Person award for the inspiring work she had done in the local community.
When asked about the achievements of Salix Homes, Chief Executive Joe Willis was modest. Speaking to Premier Construction, he said:
“We’ve been on a long journey over the last five years and on behalf of everybody at Salix Homes the awards and accolades have been a result of a lot of hard work and commitment.
“Since I came in, in 2007, the main change has been about putting the customer first. We’re now very proud that we have got some real customer engagement, scrutiny and co-regulation.”
Joe went on to give an insight into some of the award winning work Salix Homes have been carrying out. He said:
“We have worked with the council to help transform some of our existing areas, not just by improving current homes but by trying to create new neighbourhoods.
“We have worked in partnership with some major developers like Countryside in places like Lower Broughton for example to bring about a transformation, from what was a de-populating area into a much more mixed tenure, mixed use, thriving local economy.
“New Broughton is now developing into a vibrant mixed use area. To achieve this it involved the demolition of stock, some improvement of stock and working with our developer partners and housing association partners to bring new homes and amenities to the area, including a new school and a range of retail outlets.
“Salix Homes very much led the consultation process and were involved in the relocation of residents both in public and private stock on behalf of the council. The work in Lower Broughton has really been about decent homes and decent neighbourhoods and getting the basics of the housing market failure turned around in the first place.”
Outside of Lower Broughton work recently got underway on a £1.35 million scheme to improve the homes of tenants living in sheltered accommodation at the Springbank, Heraldic Court and Broomedge sheltered schemes.
Alongside contractors Forrest and Emanuel Whittaker, Salix Homes are to overhaul more than 100 homes. Work includes new kitchens and bathrooms, complete rewiring, new windows and doors and the installation of necessary equipment and adaptations to improve access.
Speaking about the development, Joe added:
“The work which is taking place at our sheltered housing schemes will help improve the quality of life of some of our older tenants.
“The sheltered accommodation complexes were built during the 1970s and 1980s and were in great need of upgrading, so this project marks a key milestone in our Decent Homes improvement programme.
“We are thrilled to be working alongside contractors Forrest and Emanuel Whittaker to ensure our tenants have warm and comfortable homes fit for the 21st century.”
The work, which is expected to be completed by spring, forms part of Salix Homes’ Decent Homes programme, whereby improvements are carried out to properties to ensure they reach the Government’s Decent Homes Standard.
Joe went on to discuss the company vision which binds all these developments across Salford, he said:
“Our vision is ‘more than just a place to live’. We’re about people, places and neighbourhoods. We want to help make neighbourhoods in Salford become more popular places to live and work, regenerating not just housing but also the local community.”
To achieve this aim Salix Homes offer training and employment opportunities to local residents, as Joe explains:
“We’ve got various apprenticeship and training schemes which operate out of several organizations we help set up. They focus particularly on young people who have been distant from the labour market and offer training up to NVQ Level 3 and above.
“We also have got our own internal apprenticeship scheme within Salix Homes where we give people experience in some of our office roles. We’ve seen many local people, including tenants, come through these schemes and are now rising through the organization. In the future we are also looking at introducing a new scheme to deal with neighbourhood maintenance and security.
“It’s really about trying to do the best we can in terms of using the investment we make to engage local people.”
What does the future hold for Salix Homes? Currently The Your Home, Your Say Options Appraisal is underway and it offers local residents the chance to voice their view on whether properties should remain with Salford City Council or should be transferred to a new or existing Registered Provider.
Barbara Harper, Salix Homes tenant and chair of the Your Home, Your Say customer panel recently said:
“I’d encourage each and every tenant to make sure they take this chance to have their say on what they want for their home and future housing service.
“We will be making a recommendation to the City Mayor informed by what tenants say in this consultation, so it is important that we get as many views as possible.”
Regardless of the result however Salix Homes will continue to provide excellent service and commitment to the residents of Salford.
For more information and the latest news on the company please visit: www.salixhomes.org.