North East housing associations explore formal partnership

Representatives of Byker Community Trust (BCT) and Karbon Homes are exploring a more formal partnership between the two organisations.

The two housing associations have worked together in a cost sharing partnership since July 2016 in which Karbon has provided a range of services to BCT, resulting in significant savings and improved performance.

Services provided by Karbon to BCT, which owns and manages 1,800 homes on Newcastle’s Grade II* listed Byker Estate, include repairs and maintenance, income management, and sheltered housing, as well as central services such as finance, IT and HR.

It is hoped the proposed new partnership will bring ‘new and accelerated investment’ to the Byker Estate between 2021 and 2029, focused on the environment; delivering modern kitchens and bathrooms; and building new homes that match the Estate’s changing demographic.

BCT intends to consult its customers and stakeholders about the new partnership to allow them to feed back and shape the final plan.

Jill Haley, chief executive of Byker Community Trust (BCT) housing association, said: “The iconic Byker Estate is a unique and special place and this is an exciting opportunity for both organisations to extend this partnership and deliver the transformational change required to make Byker an estate of choice.

“We will be consulting with all of our customers and various stakeholders to give them the opportunity to ask any questions or address any concerns they may have.”

Last year, BCT consulted with past and present customers, stakeholders, business associations and the wider public in Newcastle to help shape its vision for Byker.

BCT is seeking more investment to achieve its strategic objectives for 2025, which include making Byker an ‘estate of choice’, contributing to a thriving Byker, and ensuring that BCT’s community ethos is sustained.

The consultation period about the new partnership with Karbon, which owns or manage almost 30,000 properties across the North East of England and Yorkshire, will last for six weeks until the end of October.

Paul Fiddaman, chief executive of Karbon Homes added: “We’ve been successfully working with Byker Community Trust for a number of years now and have built some strong working relationships as well as an understanding of the Byker Estate.

“This is a really exciting opportunity to work closely with a fantastic local community. We are hoping through this proposed extended partnership we can build strong foundations for even more people.”

Partnership talks remain at an early stage, with a final business case needing to be approved by BCT and Karbon’s respective boards before it is presented to the Regulator for Social Housing.

If the business case proves successful, the two housing associations aim for the partnership to be in place by the start of April 2021.

Image: The Grade II* listed Byker Estate in Newcastle upon Tyne. Credit: BCT

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