Whilst a focused approach to the housing sector is new for Oaks, we’ve spent years advising and supporting hundreds of award-winning community interventions in sport, education and the wider third sector: many of which work to transform the lives of residents in social housing across the nation.
We know from these experiences how similar the economic landscape and general business challenges are between organisations in education, sport and housing. We know that continuous funding challenges and budget pressures are forcing housing providers to take on even more prominent roles in the lives of their residents and the prosperity of their communities. This is no different to the problems posed by budget cuts to schools and academy trusts: who are having to simultaneously strip back spending on quality education and enrichment activity whilst doing more and being more for their pupils, families and teachers. In response, we have successfully helped organisations in education to create long-term strategic plans and explore alternative sources of income to combat these budget pressures and continue delivering vital educational and community focussed interventions. With support from our new colleagues at Altair, we are confident this can be done in housing too.
From financial and digital inclusion interventions to training linked to employability and skills: housing providers are investing hundreds of millions of pounds every year on community provision that is changing the face of communities all over the nation. With our support, we believe there are opportunities to:
- Review and evaluate how well this money is being spent. How involved are your residents and communities in the design and delivery of your community investment activity? What outcomes are you delivering, and how do you evidence and articulate this to stakeholders or potential funders?
- Explore what else can be done to improve the lives of residents and transform communities using best-practice examples from sport, education and the wider third sector. There are thousands of proven, high impact interventions across the globe to address every possible community need – how aware are you of what’s out there and how your residents might benefit?
- Better target future community investment, ensuring it meets the needs of communities whilst delivering on business/strategic objectives. Is there a long-term plan in place? How will you measure your impact and what might success look like for all of your stakeholders?
- Explore and secure income from alternative sources. Have you explored trusts, foundations and other grants as an opportunity to secure multi-year funding towards your community activity? How well are you engaging with corporates and potential high-net-worth donors? Do you have the right structures in place to effectively fundraise and make your own financial commitments go further?
Our 20-strong team (and growing) combines strategic planning and unrivalled fundraising experience from across sport, education and the wider charitable sector and – with Altair’s already strong understanding of housing – we are confident we can bring fresh and exciting ideas to the sector. Community investment is going nowhere, so do get in touch if you want to explore how we might be able to help you deliver greater impact for your residents, and make your own community investment go further.