April 25, 2024

New investment announced as Places for People invests in sustainable futures with four-year major works programme

Places for People – the UK’s leading social enterprise – has launched a new four-year, major works investment programme to upgrade thousands of homes and generate new opportunities across its communities in England and Scotland.

The £104m investment programme will drive customer efficiency. It will be delivered under a new strategic framework, which has seen the group appoint five regional contractors to undertake work across dedicated regions, while also committing to delivering social value across Places for People communities. Bell Group has been appointed in Scotland, Connolly Limited in the North West of England, and Wates in the North East and central areas. Portfolios in the group’s southern regions will be delivered by MD Group (South West) and Novus Property Solutions in the South East.

The move means that the programme can be delivered at a greatly reduced cost, with total savings this year of £2.46m that can be reinvested in communities, as Places for People’s Mark Arnold explained: “We call ourselves the UK’s leading social enterprise, and our new major works investment programme and contractor framework is the embodiment of that.

“A departure from fragmented, inefficient relationships of old, it allows us to deliver works at scale – delivering upgrades that help customers combat prevalent macro-economic challenges like energy prices, while also contributing to opportunities within their local community.”

To ensure the community initiatives are achieved, each contractor has committed to targets to deliver social value across Places for People communities in the next four years. The result will be 200 apprenticeships, 1,750 training places – including places on the Construction Skills Certificate Scheme – 850 work experience places and 9,700 volunteer hours. The contractors will also donate materials and labour for community refurbishment projects, run DIY workshops for customers, and donate financially to local causes. Mr Arnold continued: “We have a proud and longstanding track record of working collaboratively with our supply chain to the benefit of our customers. Our new framework formalises this approach, with a sustainable commercial model that even in its first year, will result in almost 10% of construction cost savings that is already being invested in community initiatives.” 

Testament to Places for People’s commitment to a sustainable future, the framework is also underpinned by a drive to improve customer homes. Works already underway include a £4.9m energy efficiency programme adding solar hot water heating systems, PV panels, low energy lighting and energy efficient storage heaters, as well as a programme to upgrade insulation in almost 900 homes across the country.

There are also pioneering projects taking place in certain areas including a £1m energy efficiency improvement programme at a sheltered scheme in the North West of England. Mr Arnold concluded: “We have listened to our customers, through their queries, complaints or surveys and are making evidence-based decisions.

“This programme is a response to their needs, exceeding regulatory requirements and delivering sustainable homes and sustainable communities. It will generate thousands of new opportunities for customers in the next four years and I am proud to have commenced this programme and look forward to working with people in and around our communities as the concept becomes a reality.”