View this email in your browser
 
 
March 2014
Twitter
rsnonline
deanaj@sky.com
A quarterly bulletin facilitated by your membership of the Rural Services Network and produced in partnership with the Rural Housing Alliance, highlighting a selection of current rural housing issues and opportunities.
A focus for rural housing
Conference achieves national spotlight for rural housing
A national audience of over 80 high profile decision makers from housing providers, local government, professional bodies and central government agencies attended the National Rural Housing Conference in Cheltenham on 21 February. The event was not only an opportunity to launch the exciting new partnership between the Rural Housing Alliance and Rural Services Network, it also played a significant role in raising the national profile of affordable rural housing. There was a real sense of opportunity at the event that genuine progress could be made in highlighting the crucial role that affordable rural homes play in tackling the national housing crisis.
Both the Alliance and RSN believe the lack of affordable homes is a problem affecting the wellbeing of rural communities across England. Higher property values, limited investment in affordable homes, wealthy incomers and low paid local employment opportunities have all contributed to the current crisis facing rural areas.
Rural Housing Alliance chairman Peter Moore said the two organisations would work together for the broader benefit of rural communities.
"Our collective voice and potential to make a difference at national, regional and local levels is significantly greater when we work together."
If you would like to find out more about the partnership please contact Andy Dean. To see copies of all presentations at the conference please follow this link.

More housing organisations join RSN
Eden Housing Association, based in Cumbria, have become the latest housing organisation to join the Rural Services Network.  If you are a housing organisation operating in rural England, you can have access to the RSN housing service for an annual subscription of just £250 plus VAT.  If you pay now that will take your membership through to 31 March 2015.  RSN exists to share information, promote good practice and represent the voice of rural England at a national level.  Check out the website for more information or contact Andy Dean to join up.

Princess Royal calls for more rural homes
Adrian Maunders, Chief Executive, English Rural Housing Association
English Rural was particularly pleased to be able to secure the attendance of our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal as a key speaker at the National Rural Housing Conference in Cheltenham. The Princess has long been a champion of the issue and her speech to delegates made national headlines the next day, making the event and the subject of affordable rural housing one of the key news stories covered by national media for some days. During her speech The Princess made a reference to the recent floods. She noted that where homes are built is important and small scale local developments built in partnership with rural communities have a limited impact on the environment while helping to keep villages vibrant and reduce the infrastructure consequences of relying on large scale growth to urban areas.
Read more...

600,000 pensioners in low income rural households
Gavin Smart, Director of Policy & Practice at the Chartered Institute of Housing, has highlighted the rural dimension to the nation’s ageing population.  Over 50% of people living in rural areas are aged over 45 and the number aged over 86 will rise by 186% by 2028.
Read more...

Age old problem for rural community solved
To tackle the housing needs of the area’s ageing population, Stafford-based Housing Plus Group has developed four extra care schemes. It’s most recent state-of-the-art £13million scheme, Pencric, is due for completion in summer 2014 in the market town of Penkridge.
Read more...

RSN Manifesto for the 2015 General Election
RSN is starting to work to produce a Manifesto document, which it will use ahead of the 2015 General Election to make the rural case across a range of topics.  The document will reflect the views of RSN members who have each been asked to respond to this short online questionnaire by 28 March.
Read more...

Housing above political point scoring!
Gill Payne, Director of Policy & External Affairs at the National Housing Federation, presented some ‘home truths’ at the Cheltenham conference.  We are not building anywhere near the level of homes needed to keep up with demand, prices are beyond the reach of many people and increasing amounts of taxpayers money are being spent on housing benefit – current government spend is £24 billion representing a 104% increase in just 4 years.
Read more...

CLA wants to tackle the housing crisis
Danielle Troop, CLA Housing Advisor, focussed her presentation at the Cheltenham conference on the document, Tackling the Housing Crisis in England, which was launched by the Country Land and Business Association at Westminster on 21 January.
Read more...

Financing affordable rural homes
Philip Porter, Director and Company Secretary at Beha Williams Norman Ltd (BWNL), gave an insight at the Cheltenham conference into the current state of play of the funding climate in relation to financing affordable rural homes.
Read more...

Energy efficient solutions to rural fuel poverty
Around 18% of households in rural areas live in fuel poverty.  Average weekly transport costs in rural areas are 14% higher than the national average.  Fuel costs are increasing.  Such issues present real financial challenges for many people living in rural areas.
Sue Chalkley, Chief Executive at Hastoe Housing Association, outlined a series of measures at the Cheltenham conference that Hastoe are undertaking to improve energy efficiency as a means of reducing fuel poverty.
Read more...

Hastoe wins at Housing Innovation awards
Congratulations to Hastoe for winning the ‘Most Innovative Use of Renewable Technology’ category at the Housing Innovation Awards 2014.
Read more...

Policy and Practice – Mutual Exchanges on Local Needs Developments
Martin Collett, Operations Director, English Rural Housing Association
A recent circular to housing association Chief Executives from the Minister for Housing, Kris Hopkins highlights the continued focus on promoting and encouraging social housing tenants to move via mutual exchanges.
Read more...

Rural Alliance Pledge
Members of the Rural Housing Alliance signed up to the Rural Pledge in March 2011.  Launched with the National Housing Federation this pledge remains highly relevant and contains the following commitments:
•    Work closely with the local community and Parish Council to find the right site
•    Always give qualifying local people in housing need first priority for every home
•    Ensure that affordable homes always remain affordable
•    Build sensitively designed, high quality homes to high environmental standards
•    Provide good quality and locally sensitive management services to our residents
•    Always respond positively to the local community.
Read more...

Support & Grants for Neighbourhood Plans
DCLG has made £10.5 million available to provide support and grants to help areas across the country create Neighbourhood Plans.  Two types of support are available:
•    Direct support – advice and support, with an average value of equivalent to £9,500, tailored to meet the needs of supported neighbourhoods.
•    Grant payments – up to £7,000 per neighbourhood area, to contribute to costs incurred by the group preparing a neighbourhood plan or order.
Read more...

Rural Community Energy Fund
The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community.  The fund will provide up to approximately £150,000 of funding for feasibility and pre-planning development work to help projects become investment ready. RCEF provides support in two stages:
Read more...

Flood Support Schemes announced by government
New schemes were launched on 20th February by the Prime Minister as part of a package to help homeowners and businesses in flood affected areas get back on their feet and make their properties more resilient to flooding in the future.
Read more...

Funding for community led projects
This is a £14 million revenue funding programme which helps communities to achieve their development ambitions for their local area. The fund will provide revenue funding to help community groups to build their capacity to either submit a Community Right to Build order, which is an alternative way for communities to deliver the development they want – be it homes, shops, businesses or facilities – where the benefits of the development will be retained by the community for the community, or to apply for planning permission.
Read more...
Forward to Friend
 Joint Working 

The Chartered Institute of Housing and RSN are working in partnership to deliver more support for our members working in rural housing delivery and management. Our first joint survey of members highlighted again the great difference that local people can make in the ability to deliver more rural housing. As a response to that, we developed a short focused guide with top tips and help for professionals on how to work effectively with rural communities. This is available here
Next on the partnership agenda with CIH is a focus on rural responses to the increasingly ageing population. Watch this space for more information.
 Influence in Westminster 

The Chartered Institute of Housing and RSN are working in partnership to deliver more support for our members working in rural housing delivery and management. Our first joint survey of members highlighted again the great difference that local people can make in the ability to deliver more rural housing. As a response to that, we developed a short focused guide with top tips and help for professionals on how to work effectively with rural communities. This is available here
Next on the partnership agenda with CIH is a focus on rural responses to the increasingly ageing population. Watch this space for more information.
 Keep calm and Join Up! 

RSN exists to enable the issues facing the rural areas of England to be identified, information and good practice to be shared and government to be challenged to address the needs and build on the opportunities which abound in rural areas.
If you know a rural housing organisation that would benefit from membership, please ask them to consider joining us.  RSN is a solely rural focussed organisation with an electronic distribution network in excess of 40,000 individuals.  We reach right across all the rural areas of England and provide a sustained and respected voice for rural areas at national level.  Anyone who wants to talk to us about our role and services in relation to rural housing should contact
Andy Dean to find out more.
 Housing Observatory 

Balancing the housing market, improving the quality of housing stock, and enabling the provision of affordable housing are all key issues which concern rural local authorities.  These are often topical issues and the Housing section of the Observatory considers what the data available can tell us about the position in rural communities, and what challenges rural communities might face in the future.
For analysis and comment on key rural housing issues, click here.
 Spotlight Archive 

For an archive of the quarterly Rural Housing Spotlight newsletters which provides a medium for members to channel their concerns, highlight good practice and share thoughts on housing issues in their rural communities click here.
 Everything Housing 

We have developed a ‘hot topic’ section of our website, which provides a gathering of all rural housing information and displays it all in one place. This area provides the latest updates in our Rural Housing Service, our latest housing news articles, housing opinions - which includes case studies and best practice and housing in depth - including latest housing analysis we have produced.
To view the housing hot topic section click here
 Contact Details 

Andy Dean
Housing and External Funding
deanaj@sky.com
01912 36368801912 363688
07872 37319107872 373191
 Our Sponsors: 
Copyright © 2014 Rural Services Network, All rights reserved.


unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences