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NHC Update

Our Communications Manager, Claire Henderson welcomed delegates to the first Communications in Housing roundtable events of 2020. The day kicked of with a short update from the NHC, highlighting the following:


The APPG for Housing in the North provides a forum for Parliamentarians to discuss and advance housing and related policy across the three Northern regions and seeks to ensure the needs and ambitions of Northern communities are addressed in housing policy development.

As Secretariat, the Northern Housing Consortium supports the APPG in facilitating a work programme that has in recent years concentrated on the regeneration of mixed tenure communities, housing an ageing population, and the impact of poor-quality housing on health and wellbeing. See below an update for the APPG:

  • Launched an Inquiry into the North’s PRS last year
  • The APPG has been reformed since the recent General Election
  • The Inquiry into property standards in the North’s private rented sector is ongoing (evidence sessions being held Feb & March)
  • Engagement sessions are taking place with members during March & April
  • The Inquiry concludes in June with recommendations

For more information click here.


To get involved in this campaign click here.

To download the Building #OurNorth documents click here.

LA capacity

Our Influencing priorities:

  • Board approved ‘renewal through decarbonisation’ as first core policy objective
  • The NHC has become a member of the Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme
  • Local Authority Capacity Research launched mid-February


MyNHC is an online portal to make your life with us easier. Using the My NHC portal members can book events, manage and download documents, edit their profile and email preferences and much more. Many of you will already be signed up to MyNHC but we ask if you could share this information as delegates will need to be signed up to attend events and see their engagement with the NHC.

We encourage members to share the MyNHC link within their organisations.

Unlocking Success Bursary Scheme

The Unlocking Success Bursary Scheme, funded through the Northern Housing Consortium Charitable Trust, will award bursaries of £500 to help tenants develop learning and skills to support future employment. For more information visit

Please help us to promote the bursary scheme among tenants, you can download a communications pack here.

The deadline for application submissions is 16th March.

The NHC is now a member of the Northern Powerhouse

The NHC is proud to be a member of the Northern Powerhouse. The Northern Powerhouse is the Government’s vision for a super-connected, globally-competitive northern economy with a flourishing private sector, a highly-skilled population, and world-renowned civic and business leadership.  This exciting new collaboration will help us to ensure housing plays an important role in the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

24housing update

24 housing share their updates on the following:

Young Leaders – Experience event

Join us for the 24housing Young Leaders Experience, an interactive conference aiming to inspire, educate and equip young housing professionals for a future in the sector.

With workshops on complaints handling, presentation training and much more, this is the perfect conference for up and coming leaders to attend.

Hear from industry experts on their own best practice stories. But better yet, delegates will be given the chance to take part and put their learning into practice, enhancing the conference experience and not being subjected to “death by PowerPoint” for two days.

Visit the event page here.

24housing awards 2020

24publishing is proud to present its 2020 awards celebrating the very best the housing sector has to offer. There has never been a more exciting or challenging time to work in housing. Reductions in government grant and changes to the benefits system have forced housing providers of all shapes and sizes to think more creatively about the type of organisations they want to be – now and in the future.

24 Young Leaders

The hunt is on to find the 10th Young Leader, with nominations now open for the sector to put their inspiring talent forwards. As always, we are looking for nominations from all over the sector and have seen the calibre of those entering increasing year on year. We are seeing a rise in responsibility and trust of those under 30 working in the sector, which shows great promise for the future.

Click here to get involved.

Green campaign

24housing are delighted to launch our Green Campaign, which will shine a spotlight on the ways in which housing can help combat the climate crisis.

We will be running several features looking at:

  • Decarbonisation
  • Housing providers internal practices
  • Overcoming barriers to achieving green goals
  • Retrofitting
  • Making construction more eco friendly

Click here to read the press release.

Mediaworks – Understanding your tenants

Guest speaker – Andrew Blenkinsop, Mediaworks Creative Director gave us an insightful presentation on ‘Understanding our tenants’. Andrew covered the importance of digital and how Mediaworks are helping housing association Home Group to achieve more through digital and streamlining their systems to provide a seamless experience for their tenants.

Many organisations across the sector have systems which don’t ‘talk’ to each other. From a tenant point of view this means they are reiterating issues to multiple departments which causes complaints and an unsavoury customer experience.

We received some useful intel from Mediaworks on how to adopt your tenant’s language and use it in your search terms to rank on google. One fantastic example was:

Housing Association search term: “Can my partner stay with me under a section 8”

Users language “Can my boyfriend/girlfriend stay with me under a section 8”

Optimising your page to include language focussed on the user will help the end user find the information they are looking for whilst increasing your ranking and proving an exceptional tenant experience.

Big data was also brought to the forefront of all the regional roundtables, highlighting the importance of the data we collect to shape the way our websites look and how tenants interact with them. Google Analytics is a great way to collect website data such as who is accessing our sites via mobile, desktop or tablet. This insight allows us to prioritise which pages to optimise with the messages we want to push.

Mediaworks gave us some additional points to consider including:

  • a suggested tool: used by Mediaworks. They use the results from this in forums and Q&A’s.
  • a suggested tool: Globalweb index – in this particular example they found that customers/tenants are willing and wanting to self-serve.
  • understanding how the user speaks in order to engage using the same language.
  • a suggested tool: Hotjar – which generates heat maps and session recordings on mass.
  • using visual aids, for example reducing 2000 words to 5 bullets.
  • building brand loyalty, giving tenants an opportunity to share negative and positive feedback.
  • setting up a ‘shopping list’ of pre digital engagement for executive teams who are considering going digital.

Further discussions:

  • Question from delegate – not all tenants are online. You can learn more about the users who are online but may not be involved in focus groups etc via tools that can indicate how users are behaving with your website. It was recognised that we will not be able to reach everyone online which is why traditional methods of communication are still important.
  • Potential solution/best practice from delegates – one attendee stated they have now rolled out free Wifi in tenant access areas both in place with and without on site staff, others are looking into this. Discussions also covered the role of audio devices such as Alexa to support tenants who may have barriers to going online.

If you have any questions for Mediaworks you can email Andrew here.

To view or download the ‘Understanding our tenants’ presentation click here.

Mental health and internal wellbeing

Mark Lawrence, editor at 24housing and Sarah Pye, Head of Communications at Honeycomb (North West event only) led the discussion on mental health and shared their experiences in dealing with mental health issues in the workplace. 24housing have kindly shared some examples from their mental health campaign last year.

At the North West event, Sarah Pye shared the emotional story of her friend and colleague who suffered from stress and mental health issues which ultimately ended with a loss of life. It really opened the eyes of attendees on the degree mental health can affect an individual in and outside of work. Pressure, stress, anxiety and depression can have a huge impact on employees both in work and their personal lives, she also talked about the effects of loneliness and the importance of recognising and combating this. The key messages that came out of the group discussions at all of the events is that most employers are now going above and beyond to address mental ill health, however many people felt they could do more, some of the suggestions and examples from Sarah and attendees included the following:

  • Bring your whole self to work. Create a culture to achieve this objective, ensure staff are on board with a judgement free environment.
  • Giving employees freedom and trust to do their job. Transform traditional appraisals from ‘boring forms’ to ‘check ins.’ Appraisals driven by staff.
  • Provide coaching training for managers so there is consistency in the level of support across an organisation.
  • Many organisations have trained staff to be ‘mental health first aiders’.
  • Consider anonymous surveys for mental health.
  • Some organisations hold events during the working day for mental health week. Breakout areas for yoga, fun activities, gaming, arts and craft.
  • Some examples included developing and updating values to incorporate mental health throughout the company.
  • Home working and remote working policies. It was noted that it is important not to isolate yourself or your team. Wellbeing check ins can help safeguard against this (asking questions such as how often does an individual work from home? Is it because of workload or something else? Ask the question, are you okay?)
  • One organisation has established ‘My day’ one additional day which allows staff to take a day off to do something for themself, this could include anything from a bed day to sky diving. As long as it is not related to work.
  • Many attendees talked about how they engage tenants in a number of activities for wellness and mental health.

24housing have shared some of their mental health resources with the group. Click here for lessons learnt or click here for workplace wellbeing.


The NHC team is stepping up engagement with members at all levels to understand their priorities, as well as the resources and policy changes required to make a carbon-focused renewal of the North’s housing stock a reality.  The NHC were keen to start a conversation with members about their climate change priorities, challenges and ambitions.

Conversations covered a range of topics including supporting tenants to save energy, exploring fully electric fleets and launching a climate change strategy. Some attendees are building relationships with tenants to help push the agenda and others have it embedded in their social value guide for suppliers, and they measure tenders and procure services with sustainability as a key factor. The issue of air pollution was discussed, along with work taking place internally with staff to measure their carbon footprint. There was a general consensus that we need to explore this agenda in more detail and facilitate sharing of best practice.

The NHC is planning to explore this area further and will update members on how this progresses.