Company announces major £120m investment in housing stock

A housing association has outlined major plans to invest £120million into new and existing homes over the next four years.

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 8:00 am
John Johnston, chief executive of Bernicia.

Bernicia, which has 14,000 properties across the region, is finalising its new corporate strategy which sets out its investment priorities until 2026.

The new strategy will go live next March with tenants’ views and needs at the heart of it, providing more input into the strategic direction of the business than ever before.

Bernicia undertook a wide-ranging consultation exercise – ‘Your Say, Services Your Way’ – and the results are now influencing how services will be tailored to meet tenants’ changing needs within the new strategy.

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Among the proposals are building more new homes, modernisation of existing properties, keeping estates well maintained, greater investments in training and employability initiatives and a wide range of opportunities for tenants to become involved with and influence Bernicia.

A TPAS (Tenants’ Participation Advisory Service) report concluded that the organisation has ‘clear expectations of a tenant first culture that influences service delivery through strong and effective leadership’, and that ‘staff have a real positive commitment, and this was shown through their behaviours and attitudes both to colleagues and with tenants.

John Johnston, Bernicia chief executive, said: “The positive feedback from our tenants and TPAS was great validation of our real commitment to ensure our tenants play a central role in shaping our new strategy.

"We believe we make better decisions by working together.

“We recognise that to deliver exceptional services we must listen to our customers, understand their needs and involve them in setting clear service standards and in the monitoring of our performance against them.

“Our commitment to ensure our tenants’ voice plays a central part in our governance arrangements and decision making goes back many years.

"We work closely with our tenants because it’s the right thing to do, and because it enriches understanding, supports the development of a shared sense of common purpose and makes us a stronger and better organisation.”

Bernicia, with its head office in Ashington, employs more than 550 staff, providing homes and services to more than 60,000 residents.