From Washington to Oldham : Real Homes, Real Change visits with local MPs

In June, we launched our Real Homes, Real Change showcase at a reception in the House of Commons. We were joined by MPs, Peers, government officials, housing professionals and other key stakeholders. Real Homes, Real Change is a collection of case studies which highlights some of the brilliant work you, our members, are doing in the North to deliver green upgrades to existing homes – making them warmer, cheaper to heat and helping to meet the net zero challenge.

Sharon Hodgson MP; Gentoo resident; Gentoo Group CEO, Louise Bassett; and NHC CEO, Tracy Harrison

Off the back of this, we have been organising a series of visits with our members and local MPs to sites featured on our Real Homes, Real Change webpage. This included a visit to Gentoo’s Whinfell Estate in Washington with MP for Washington and Sunderland West, Sharon Hodgson. Sharon saw the positive impact the fabric-first retrofit approach had on residents and their homes, with work including new windows and doors, external wall and flat roof insultation, and whole house ventilation. There was 100% resident satisfaction with the works and all homes are now up to the key EPC C standard – in line with Gentoo’s commitment to having all its properties at EPC C rating or above by 2030.

Gentoo Group Director of Asset and Sustainability, Marc Edwards; Sharon Hodgson MP; NHC CEO, Tracy Harrison; and Gentoo Group CEO, Louise Bassett

 Our members across the North are bringing real change to real homes, so we move away from the North East and down to Greater Manchester, where we visited retrofitted First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO) homes in Lees, Oldham, with local MP Debbie Abrahams. As MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, Debbie was able to see first-hand the impact of the work undertaken by FCHO in her constituency, with one resident commenting that it had changed their life. FCHO have fitted solar panels, triple glazed windows, new doors and cavity wall insulation to properties in the area, tailored to each homes’ requirements. Read more about the work the housing association has undertaken here.

Over the next four years, FCHO aim to undertake energy efficiency upgrades on a further 3,800 homes as part of the organisation’s efforts to reach net zero carbon targets

NHC Executive Director (Policy & Public Affairs), Brian Robson; Connolly (Main Contractor) Business Development and Bid Manager, Andrea Ratcliffe; Debbie Abrahams MP; FCHO resident; FCHO Sustainability Manager, Simon Davies

We are keen to get more case studies from our members which showcase work undertaken to install green home upgrades in homes, improving the energy efficiency, making them warmer and cheaper to heat. We want to keep the momentum going by visiting sites with MPs and displaying the case studies on our Real Homes, Real Change webpage. If you have a potential case study to send us, please contact


Listen back to our Meet the Net Zero Challenge Webinar Series and access the resources, supporting members to build knowledge, confidence, and resources in achieving this across their homes and communities.  Through this series the NHC aimed to move the conversation on, showcasing best practice and bring the latest policy updates and opportunities for the North to lead the way.

FCHO Acting CEO, Anne McLoughlin; Debbie Abrahams MP; FCHO Sustainability Manager, Simon Davies; NHC Executive Director (Policy & Public Affairs), Brian Robson