14 Oct Bird and Social Housing
There are certain sectors that offer a real sense of value in the work we do, and the pride we take from producing that work. One of those sectors is undoubtedly Social Housing.
Bird has been managing communications for Housing Associations clients for 17 years and it’s an area of work that has always challenged, interested and inspired us.
Ian Perry, the former chief executive of Harvest Housing Group (who has sadly since passed away) was a big supporter and friend of Bird Consultancy.
Bird won a pitch to work with Ian and Harvest Housing Group in the early 2000’s. Harvest went on to merge with Arena Housing Group in 2012 to become Your Housing Group, who Bird still works with to this day. Ian knew the value of somebody who could connect him with the places and the people needed to make further waves in the social housing world, and Bird was more than happy to get to work making that happen.
Bird has always understood the value of the work we were able to deliver and the positive impact it could have. Not just on it as a business, but for the residents and wider community involved in social housing.
This is one of the reasons why it’s always been important to us to build relationships at every level, from the front line teams, to the board room, especially within social housing. It’s an important part of how we get to understand all the elements of a business and make sure the business, in turn, understands exactly who we are, what we do and what services we can provide.
We noticed from the get-go that social housing, on the whole, was often perceived as a negative thing in the media; Something to be stigmatised as opposed to being embraced. Whereas in actuality, social housing offers so much more safety and security to millions of people than most people realise, and that any stigma attached to it is totally unnecessary.
Chris is quick to point out the unfair image social housing seems to have picked up over the years:
“ I was brought up, in a council house, that was social housing and I am proud of where I lived too. It was affordable housing. There’s no stigma to it. And I think now it’s much more acceptable but we need more houses now than ever before.”
We like to think we’ve helped to eliminate some of the unfair stigmas that are attached to Social Housing, too. Through highlighting some of the incredible work that’s been done by not only the housing groups themselves but also the residents who are dedicated to helping make their local areas a happier, safer place, we’ve contributed to lifting whatever negativity some people may be holding towards Social Housing. Things like community fun days, litter picking and various forms of volunteer work are just scratching the surface. Your Housing Group has been specifically dedicated to helping beat the stigma also, with the addition of things like work clubs, health & wellbeing initiatives and financial inclusion projects.
As a public relations company, managing a social housing account also brings with it a rollercoaster of both positive and negative emotion; Positive when we’re able to see first-hand all the good our work does, negative when we see some of the more upsetting circumstances we’re called upon to manage. But one fact always shines through: Whatever the situation and whatever the issue, the Bird team are there to help resolve any situation and manage issues to a satisfactory conclusion for both the media and the public.
Our key clients in the social housing sector have been Harvest Housing Group, New Charter Housing Trust, Onward, and Your Housing Group, who Bird continue to provide communications support for to this day.
All in all, there’s absolutely no doubt that social housing has been one of the most rewarding sectors for us to work in, and it’s one we will continue to support and to use our skills and experience effectively in any way we can.