Back on the Map was established in 2001, as one of 39 government-funded New Deal for Communities Programmes intended to regenerate severely deprived communities by investing in Education, Employment, Community Safety, Health, Housing, Environment and Community Engagement.
Within the initial 10-year lifespan, the NDC invested £54M and brought about significant improvements for Hendon. One initiative which had a major impact on the area, and was facilitated by an underspend on the NDC’s housing renewal programme, was the purchase of 63 properties from private landlords and owner occupiers wishing to leave the area. The Board established a locally-based organisation as a successor body to continue the legacy, which obtained charitable status in 2010.
A new set of goals were formulated that focused on the ongoing concerns expressed by residents locally and complemented existing strategy and provision in the city. After a period consultation it was agreed that the successor body’s new goals be designed to reflect and address residents’ concerns about:
- deteriorating housing not owned by the NDC
- the large but poorly-managed private rented sector
- the poor state of some neighbourhoods
- the desire to help those facing financial difficulties &
- renewing a strong sense of community spirit.
Growth Plan To 2021
Building on previous success, and maintaining a focus on its key objectives, the goals for Back on the Map, by 2021, are to optimise grant income, annual surpluses and loans in order to:
- Grow its unique model and virtuous cycle of social and financial sustainability
- Increase its local, wholly-owned housing/commercial asset base from 64 to 78 properties
- Increase overall rental income from £339k pa. to £420k pa (78 owned @ £5.2k + 12 mortgaged @ £1.2k net)
- Increase the wholly-owned asset base value from £4.1M to £5M by 2021
- Pilot a Lettings and Property Management service for other landlords
- Extend its community provision to meet residents’ needs and aspirations
- Provide vocational training to improve employment prospects in growth sectors
- Provide information and advice to residents in receipt of benefits or low incomes
- Increase the range and type of social and cultural opportunities for residents.
The NDC’s properties had been managed by Gentoo HA, but in 2013 Back on the Map ended the agreement and took over their management. Since then it has established robust housing management practices, reduced outgoings, completed major property improvements, achieved 85%+ lettings, increased the level of Charitable Reserves to six months full operational costs and with the help of the local authority using HCA funding acquired a further five properties.
By bringing the property and tenancy management in house Back on the Map has been able to select and induct tenants carefully and develop effective relationships whereby tenants could be in daily contact with their local-based staff team who could deal with repairs and neighbourhood issues responsively.
The agreed focus continues to be creating good quality housing for rent, making these homes as fuel efficient and affordable as possible and building on its existing welfare/support for tenants/residents; in the belief that this will:
- Provide a sustainable income stream for the charity
- Provide good quality long-term accommodation for residents
- Improve the visual appearance of housing locally
- Encourage tenants to become involved in their community
- Reduce ‘churn’, increase stability and improve lives
- Build and sustain a greater sense of belonging/community spirit
- Create a sustainable social enterprise that could meet our wider community goals
Next Steps In Relation To Housing
Back on the Map aims to consolidate and expand its housing stock over the next five years:
- Buy and refurbish 14 additional (unencumbered) homes using annual surpluses/savings
- Enter into a management agreement with Thirteen to take on managements of their c130 properties
- Buy/refurbish 3 additional homes by borrowing against current assets
- Generate additional revenue year-on-year, rising from £333k to £420k pa by 2021
- Increase the number of wholly-owned properties from 64 to 78 by 2021
- Increase the number of mortgaged properties from 5 to 10 by 2021
- Continue to manage the housing portfolio in order to reduce outgoings
- Continue to invest in property improvements and damp remediation
- Establish a long term Renewals/Cyclical Repairs fund of 10% gross rental income
- Develop lettings and property management services for other landlords (social and private)
- Secure grants and loans from public, charitable and commercial sources
- Seek a development partner to build homes on the land bank in Middle Hendon.
Jen McKevitt: , 07917 203 127
Published December 2016