Latest news

Housing association extends commitment

Published: Wednesday 30 June 2021

One of the region’s leading home providers has reconfirmed its support to anyone who has experienced domestic abuse.

County Durham-based believe housing has become one of the first Accredited Members of the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance.  The new membership scheme is the only one of its type in the sector and demonstrates the focus believe housing has on supporting customers in even the most difficult of circumstances.

Accredited Membership of DAHA is the highest level of commitment to tackling domestic abuse that a housing association can achieve.

believe housing was officially recognised by DAHA for its work with domestic abuse victims two years ago.  The ‘passion and drive of staff’ at believe housing to help victims of domestic abuse together with ‘top notch’ training was praised following a two-day audit.

The inspection included talking to a survivor of domestic abuse who had received support as well as scenario-based work with a range of frontline staff and a review of policies and procedures.  The accreditation process is designed to ensure that employees across the organisation have a deep understanding of domestic abuse and has robust processes in place to identify and support anyone who needs help and advice.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of social group, class, age, race, disability or sexuality of the individuals involved.  It is a pattern of behaviour used by abusers to establish and maintain power and control over another person.

Evidence suggests that people who experience domestic abuse can turn to as many as five different agencies before they find appropriate help.

Housing associations are ideally placed to spot and respond to domestic abuse as they are in contact with their customers on a daily basis.  Trained staff are able to identify the signs of a potentially abusive relationship and offer advice and support to allow the victim to remain in their home, or to move to another property if that is the most appropriate solution for them.

Safer Neighbourhoods Manager at believe housing, Karen Gardner, said: “We want to ensure that any customer who comes to us is given the best support possible.  By becoming Accredited Members of this initiative, we will ensure that we always have access to the latest training and best practice to provide that high-quality support.

“During the coronavirus pandemic there has been a rise nationally in concerns about domestic abuse, so becoming accredited members now is doubly important.”

Investment in homes for older people (Livin)

Published: Tuesday 22 June 2021

Livin are very proud of the work they are doing to provide new modern bungalows for rent in local communities for older and disabled residents. 

With over 90 brand new bungalows in the pipeline to be built in the next two years across five communities they are also adding to their portfolio by remodelling and redeveloping properties which are no longer popular or needed but which are in great community locations.

In communities such as the Jubilee Fields Estate in Shildon it has been over 40 years since new homes have become available for rent and they are committed to investing in these areas, particularly where some properties have remained empty for years as they know this is not good for the community.  Local resident and County Councillor, Brian Stephens said “I have been committed to the regeneration of this estate for many years and I have worked with Livin, local partners and the local community centre to deliver many valued community activities.  This is a great community for older people to live in and I am delighted to see new investment in the area.”

New Affordable Homes (Karbon Homes)

Published: Monday 14 June 2021

Over the next few months, Karbon Homes have got 67 new plots which will become available.

To apply for these homes, you will need to be registered with your local Choice Based Lettings provider.  Click here to view development and areas.

Ton up for new homes in Peterlee

Published: Friday 11 June 2021

More than 100 new affordable homes have been completed in one east Durham town after investment by a multi-award-winning housing association.

Three brownfield sites in Peterlee have been transformed by County Durham-based believe housing to create 108 new homes.  A mix of family houses and bungalows have been constructed in Robson Avenue, Tamar Close and Teign Close.

The new Peterlee homes are currently welcoming their first families after a £17m investment.  They are a key part of believe housing’s £70m, 700 home construction programme that has won a string of awards.

In Robson Avenue, the site of the old Eden Community Primary School, vacant since 2008, has seen 48 two and three-bedroom houses plus 19 bungalows built. The houses included 25 available through the government backed ‘Rent to Buy’ scheme. 

The Robson Avenue project was conceived by Vistry Partnerships North East. Using some of its own Affordable Housing Programme (AHP) grant - secured from Homes England - the regeneration and housing specialist identified the site, developed the design concept and led the planning process to unlock the potential of the unused plot. It then constructed the homes in partnership with believe housing.     

A short distance away in neighbouring Tamar Close and Teign Close, 29 three-bed family houses have been built alongside 10 two-bed and a pair of three-bed bungalows. Construction has been carried out by north east-based contractor Tolent.

believe housing Development Delivery Manager, Rebecca Marshall, said: “Peterlee is one of the areas with strongest demand for affordable homes in the north east. That’s why we’ve invested heavily in the area and focused a significant proportion of our construction programme on Peterlee.

“We’re really proud that we’ve been able to deliver these new homes on brownfield sites that have been easy to integrate into the community, while still helping to meet demand. These new homes are going to provide dozens of families with secure and affordable housing for decades to come.”

Andrew Rennie, Development Director with Vistry Partnerships North East, added: “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with believe housing and to have been able to use our expertise, experience and grant funding to identify and kick start viable projects, which the region’s housing providers to meet housing need.”

Chris Price, regional director for Tolent, said: "I'm very proud of the team who have delivered an outstanding, high quality project that we know is going to make a huge difference to the local community here in Peterlee. It was great working with the believe housing team, and we look forward to working with them again soon."

Community allotment helps grow coronavirus recovery

Published: Monday 7 June 2021

A community allotment will help residents in two County Durham villages recover from the coronavirus pandemic thanks to funding from a leading housing association.

Dozens of people in Coundon and Leeholme who need to rebuild their confidence after lockdown, will benefit from Coundon Community Allotment after the project received £20,000 from believe housing.

Operated by Groundwork North East from Leeholme allotments, the project provides a free, green space to develop outdoor skills. It will also help local people find support with the social, health and economic effects of lockdown with a range of community learning courses.

Support from believe housing will help the project deliver a wide range of activities focused on the allotment. Cooking workshops will use ingredients that can be grown at the allotment or at home as well as providing new skills and advice on how to prepare healthy food on a budget.

Growing sessions will also demonstrate how food can be grown even when outdoor space is limited to lower the cost of healthy food. All of the sessions are being delivered by qualified experts in horticulture, food hygiene and education.

Training and mentoring opportunities are also being created by the project, with specific work experience opportunities, job coaching and interview skills assistance.

The funding is the latest from believe housing’s Community Investment Programme, which has awarded more than £150,000 of grants to tackle the results of Covid-19. The funding programme has been busier than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, assisting groups in responding and recovering from lockdown restrictions.

Community Investment Coordinator Kimberley Batey from believe housing, said: “Lockdown has had an impact on us all over the last year. We know that some people will need extra support to feel safe outside their homes again as restrictions start to ease. When we saw how Groundwork North East was helping local residents experience the outdoors, we wanted to ensure this great project could help as many people as possible.

“Being outdoors has a positive impact on health and wellbeing. The allotment project is a perfect opportunity to bring those benefits to the people of Coundon and Leeholme.”

Joanne Ashworth from Groundwork North East said: “Our community allotment is a fantastic facility that offers local people a chance to get outdoors and enjoy learning new skills or share their knowledge on growing with others. We would welcome anyone who would like to come along and get involved to contact us’

believe housing’s community investment programme supports food banks, sports clubs, schools and charities across most of County Durham and many surrounding areas. Full details are available on the believe housing website, or by calling the Community Investment Team on 0300 1311 999.