Trafford Housing Trust

Housing associations have their roots in social innovation, but in recent times true innovation has become difficult. Decreases in government spending, diversification and reliance on new sources of funding have impacted housing associations and the people to whom they provide homes to, with potential consequences on emotional well-being, health and security. Organisations are faced with tough choices about how they manage increased risk, properly support their tenants whilst maintaining their own financial sustainability.

It’s a time when organisations need to think differently, act decisively and embrace new models of delivery – at a time when it’s perhaps most difficult to do so. One housing association that challenges itself to think differently is Trafford Housing Trust (THT). THT provides 9,000 affordable homes in Manchester and has an explicit and clear social purpose “to strive for a society transformed, free from poverty, inequality and injustice”.

This mission has led the senior management of THT to ask if social investment could help create inventive, sustainable and financially viable models of delivery that would improve the wellbeing of their tenants.

We have worked with THT as it has sought to answer this question. Following initial discussions THT become investors in the Health Social Innovators’ (HSI) accelerator. Through the accelerator THT seeks to support the growth of social ventures that have the potential to improve the wellbeing of their tenants, particularly elderly people who may be suffering dementia, arthritis or loneliness. If these ventures are successful, THT will be seeding ventures that benefit the lives of their tenants while making a financial return – a true virtuous circle.

In addition to our work through HSI, we have also run a hackathon to help create new social businesses that are geared to improve the lives of tenants of the THT sheltered accommodation scheme which can be viewed here www.healthhack.org.uk.

Matthew Gardiner, Chief Executive of Trafford Housing Trust said:

“Housing association business models are becoming outdated, so as an organisation we have a ‘burn to learn’ how social innovation works. Numbers for Good has been an invaluable partner in our journey to challenge conventional thinking. It’s a pleasure to work with such an honest, transparent and solution-focused team”