Why do we support community investment?
- We want GreenSquare customers to benefit from opportunities and resources in their community. By supporting local initiatives, we hope to attract further investment into our neighbourhoods. In particular, we aim to encourage projects that promote financial security, opportunities for young people, wellbeing and community development.
- We would like customers to know that they have a say in what happens in their community and to support this we encourage resident-led initiatives.
- We think it is important that we build good links and partnerships with organisations working in the same communities. By pooling our resources and expertise with others we hope to increase the impact of our involvement and help secure the continuing provision of services.
What is our approach to community investment?
- Where possible we support locally-based community organisations or initiatives whose work benefits GreenSquare customers and neighbourhoods. We hope to contribute to the longer-term provision by helping to strengthen their capacity
- We recognise that our core focus is the provision of homes. We would rather support existing providers in, for example, employment, advice and youth work than provide these services ourselves.
- Our priorities are reached through consultation with staff and customers. We also refer to customer insight information and of course work within the context of national policies affecting the housing sector.
- We carry out annual impact assessment reviews of key projects to help us evaluate the difference made by our investment and decide future investments.
How do we support community investment and development?
Our offer depends on the existing provision and level of need. If a community activity supports our priorities, we can;
- Let our customers know about services/opportunities available to them. We generally do this through social media. We also promote services in house to help raise awareness and encourage staff to refer to projects.
Provide information and expertise
- Share local knowledge and in-house expertise when appropriate to make the best use of resources (within the boundaries of data protection).
- Support smaller organisations/associations (particularly those led by GreenSquare customers) with funding bids.
- Part fund services delivered by a partner.
We have well-established Service Level Agreements with advice agencies across the group, including CAB, recognising the importance of the support they can provide to people experiencing problems with debt.
- This part funding of a core service often has the additional benefit of enabling partner organisations to draw down further funding. GreenSquare’s contribution to funding would never be more than 50% of the total cost and is likely to be a lot less.
In 2019 GreenSquare funded Youth Action Wiltshire (YAW) to work with young people in Wiltshire. We contributed £12,000 to Project Inspire and YAW were able to use that funding to lever over £40,000 of grant funding to the initiative.
In 2020 we launched the Community Fund, offering small grants of up to £500 to organisations offering services or activities that are accessible to GreenSquare customers
Seek investment from external funders
- We will seek joint funding for projects that we initiate in our neighbourhoods where there is a wider community benefit.
In 2019/20 GreenSquare secured over £150,000 of external funding for community projects benefitting GreenSquare customers.
Work in partnership
- Involve partner organisations in projects where we are taking the lead and take part in relevant activities organised by partners. These can be one-off or short-term (eg neighbourhood events, job fairs, information days) or longer-term commitments such as participation in multi-agency working groups.
- Work with partner organisations to increase the provision of services in a neighbourhood or community.
The Leys Housing Consortium made up of GreenSquare, Catalyst and A2 Dominion is an example of a formal, long-term partnership created to address the problems of a large housing estate, in this instance Blackbird Leys in Oxford.