It’s Rural Housing Week!
It’s Rural Housing Week this week, taking place from 4 – 8 July.
The week, run by the National Housing Federation (NHF), is an annual campaign to share what housing associations are doing to support people living in rural areas.
The theme this year is levelling up rural communities.
We continue to invest in our rural homes in the same way as any other home we own however, over the last year we have secured additional grant funding to tackle specific issues affecting some of our rural homes.
Following devastating floods in February 2020, we invested in flood defence measures to 18 homes located by the banks of the River Teme in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire. These homes had been severely impacted by flooding and there was the real risk that it would happen again.
The money was made up of a £40,000 grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) which was administered by Malvern Hills District Council and was match funded by us.
We spent £5,000 on each home installing more efficient flood barriers on front and back doors, replacing automatic airbricks, voids in the brickwork were sealed, a waterproofing compound was applied to lower areas of the buildings and external sump pumps were installed. Once deployed the flood barriers and other measures help prevent any flood water from entering the home providing our residents with much needed comfort and reassurance that their homes are protected.
We have also been successful in securing a £1.2m grant from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Demonstrator Fund to improve the energy efficiency of rural homes in the Wychavon area.
The grant was provided by the Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and we applied for it in partnership with Wychavon District Council.
We are one of the first pioneering housing associations, along with a small consortium of other housing associations who are testing the viability of decarbonising our homes and gaining a deeper understanding of how this approach works in practice. The fund will allow us to retrofit some of our EPC D rated homes to help reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the home and to lower the amount of carbon dioxide produced as a consequence.
Our Director of Asset Management Paul Baker said: “At Citizen we are keen to invest in our rural homes across the West Midlands and it’s important we highlight this work as part of Rural Housing Week. The impact of fuel poverty in rural areas is a real concern due to a reliance on electricity to heat our homes.
“We are doing this work to help combat fuel poverty in rural areas and to help our customers feel comfortable and save money. It is vital that we help our customers who are struggling with fuel poverty.
“The work is also part of the wider Zero Carbon Agenda which is a target set by Government to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 2050 and to prioritise homes where residents may be at risk of being in fuel poverty, it’s brilliant that we are proactively playing a part in this.
“It’s important we mark Rural Housing Week to highlight important issues that affect our customers such as the risk of flooding and fuel poverty and what we are doing to support our customers who are living in more rural areas.”
For more information about Rural Housing Week, visit the NHF’s website here.