As housing providers, L&Q, and all our industry colleagues, have a far larger role to play than just building and managing homes. It is the responsibility of us as an industry to help create long-term sustainable communities, by investing in homes and neighbourhoods, and working in partnership with residents.
When we set up the Foundation ten years ago, we felt the best way to maximise our social impact and create positive outcomes for our residents and the surrounding communities was to create a dedicated division of the business which encompasses all our social and economic programmes. The thread running through all the projects is our residents. The success of the Foundation is a direct result of partnering with residents, giving people the opportunity to facilitate projects in their own communities.
Today, our 50 strong team of staff within the Foundation help deliver a huge range of projects. The model allows us to work both at scale and on a very micro level. We might be working with the likes of Sport England to deliver big budget projects which will help hundreds of people to get active in their communities, while at the same time, helping an individual resident get a job via our employment services.
Since 2011, the Foundation has undoubtedly had a far-reaching impact on residents and local communities. Over the past five years, the Foundation has invested £30 million in projects and funding, generating £104 million in social value, while helping 2,734 sustain their tenancy through access to free financial support, and assisting over 2,661 people into paid employment.
However, what I personally love about the Foundation is that it goes beyond numbers – the human stories that come out of the work the team does is remarkable. Take for example the Turlogh O’Brien Scholarship programme, which offers scholarships to L&Q residents to attend university, when they wouldn’t normally have had the opportunity to do so. Our most recent cohort of 13 scholars are now in their third year of university – set to graduate soon. The impact on their individual development and long-term careers will undoubtedly be huge.
We couldn’t have achieved any of what we have in the last ten years without working with such fantastic partners – from national organisations down to community and grassroots groups. The Place Makers Fund, which is a Foundation project that awards grants to local groups, organisations and charities to deliver projects in their areas, is a great example of this. At the start of the pandemic, it was clear that this funding was more essential than ever. We had to react quickly, and we repurposed the fund, to award more grants to in 2020 than ever before - to 65 projects across our communities.
I am immensely proud of what we have achieved in the last ten years, all thanks to L&Q’s residents, who’s enthusiasm and commitment to helping their own communities flourish is at the core of everything we do, and our team. Looking ahead, we will continue to expand the services of the Foundation – helping communities to flourish.