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Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA) is reflecting on a successful first year, with new jobs, investment, affordable housing and enhanced services providing a significant boost to the North of England.

Within the first year, since the merger of Two Castles Housing Association (TCHA) and Derwent & Solway Housing Association (D&S) in July 2017 following overwhelming positive feedback, CCHA has delivered a successful recruitment and investment drive, leading the way in providing a much-needed boost to the local economy in parts of the North East and North West.

CCHA has an annual turnover of around £33m, employs nearly 200 staff, and owns and manages more than 7,000 properties in rural and urban communities across the North of England.

As well as committing to the future delivery of 600 new homes, across Northern England, over and above the number of homes originally outlined by TCHA and D&S prior to the merger, the association is investing over £10m per annum in delivering new homes, including affordable housing. It is also spending a further £10m per annum delivering maintenance services, which will create employment and skills opportunities for local businesses in the local communities in which they work.

Stephanie Murphy, Chief Executive of CCHA, said: “This is a really exciting time for Castles & Coasts. This past year has given us much cause for celebration and we have significant plans for the future with our residents at the heart of everything we do.

“We’re delighted to bring extra investment into the North of England. As well as the financial investment, we’re investing in people and bringing jobs to the local areas in which we work.”

CCHA is committed to providing services that meet residents’ needs and expectations. Over the past 12 months the Association has created its five-year Customer Experience Strategy which sets out how CCHA will ensure residents can influence and feedback on the services they receive in a variety of ways and, how it will use residents’ feedback to continually shape and improve services.

CCHA also has significant plans to build on its digital transformation work, which will enhance services to residents and provide better access to information 24/7.

Stephanie said: “We consulted extensively with residents prior to the merger taking place and we know that one of their key priorities was to receive locally based services from staff.

“A huge amount of work has gone into staff training, telephone and IT systems, and we have placed a great emphasis on our service standards, particularly when it comes to the safety and security of our residents.

“We tightly monitor and regularly review our approach to health and safety and, since the merger, we are delighted to have made significant progress in implementing our robust new Property Compliance Policy and action plan which reinforces our commitment to the safety of our residents and their homes.”

CCHA is now looking forward to building on its success and continuing to further develop its services.

Stephanie added: “There’s no doubt that it will take a number of years to realise all the benefits of the merger, but we are delighted with how much we have achieved in our first year. We’re especially pleased with the positive feedback that we’ve had from residents and partners and we’re excited for what the future will bring.

“It is our aim for CCHA to continue to deliver the highest standards of services for residents. Achieving value for money is embedded in everything that we do and we work as hard as possible to ensure that every pound is invested wisely to maximise return on investment, while ensuring a high quality of service for our residents locally and continuing to meet the need for more affordable homes in our area.”

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