Community Resilience

Apex Housing

Apex Housing Association is a social housing landlord and manages over 5,000 homes for families and single people as well as supported housing for people with mental health issues, learning disabilities, people with addiction issues and older people.

Background

An estimated 43% of all its tenants are living in poverty. Apex strives to be a responsible landlord and its Community Involvement Strategy demonstrates its commitment to going beyond its core business objectives to tackle poverty and disadvantage within communities.

What Apex Housing did

Apex Housing encourages staff to help build vibrant and caring communities and it has spent more than £6 million in the past five years on community investment initiatives.

Apex has developed a comprehensive community investment strategy which is informed by people living within some of its most deprived communities. This strategy is based around anti-poverty projects in an effort to build stronger communities. It has a food poverty strategy, a financial inclusion strategy, an employment strategy and a project in Africa.

Apex has developed a number of food poverty projects including one of NI first social supermarkets, redirecting food from landfill while tackling food poverty.

Apex’s adopted village, Miwaleni in Tanzania, has brought local business benefits while transforming the education and health care of that community.

The Apex Financial Inclusion Project, funded by Comic Relief, works with local community groups to successfully tackle the issue of loan sharks and has set up a number of initiatives to support communities with accessing cheaper goods and services including an oil buying club, energy switching events and a basic bank account scheme.

Communities have benefited from a reduction in the use of payday lenders, an increase in income and a greater ability to manage finances, dramatically impacting on stress levels within communities.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Redirected more than one tonne of food per week from landfill to 11 different charities in the North West and the Social Supermarket
  • Spent more than £450,000 in developing the Foyle foodbank and the social supermarket
  • Created three 3 apprenticeships for tenants each year, leading to full-time employment within Apex
  • Worked with NWRC and UU to create 21 annual work placements; recruited and trained over 52 community volunteers to help with projects
  • Provided cooking and nutrition classes for those in food poverty and trained long-term unemployed users to deliver these sessions
  • Developed inner city land to provide 60 allotments and support for local families in a deprived area to encourage healthier eating on a budget. Families are provided with an income by selling produce to the social supermarket
  • Award-winning affordable credit project, leading to an avoidance of doorstep lenders, whilst increasing credit ratings, self-esteem and dignity; supported tenants to set up basic bank accounts for the first time
  • Two other Housing Associations have now employed Financial Inclusion Officers due to the success of Apex’s Financial Inclusion Programme
  • Energy switching and home contents insurance events ensuring limited resources go further, whilst increasing their digital skills; set up two oil buying clubs
  • Raised £225,374 which has transformed two communities in Africa

For more information, email t.mccloskey@apex.org.uk