Building relationships that bring positive change

Wednesday 2nd of November 2016

We asked Michelle Harper, Bournville Area Manager at Alliance Homes to expand upon her presentation at our recent regional forum.

Alliance Homes is a community based social enterprise based in North Somerset. We have an annual turnover of more than £31 million, employ over 400 staff and work in partnership with local, regional and national agencies.

We own 6,500 properties and provide housing and housing – related support to 12,000 customers. Established in 2006 to manage homes transferred from North Somerset Council

Deprivation is a key factor in the  Bournville neighbourhood and the work we do. North Somerset Has 5 super output areas in the most deprived 5% nationally – 3 are on the Bournville – 2 of these areas are in the most 1% nationally

In April 2013 Alliance Homes decided to try a different approach in the Bournville area. We also recognised the higher level of rent arrears, ASB and the larger impact deprivation and welfare reform were having in the neighbourhood.

The team was set up with smaller patches able to do intensive housing management and look at new ways to work with the community to build relationships. We also had a money advisor, arrears staff, community warden and project workers who are lottery funded doing green projects and community builders.

We spent time getting to know the community. Our first events were “flagging events” where we had a large map of the Bournville and flags for people to mark areas in need of improvements. This was a great success and let us identifies problem areas and what works well. We then had longer conversations about the area and what people wanted.

The team’s aims were

  • build trust within the community,
  • enable residents to mange their money
  • make the Bournville feel a better place to live
  • to develop trustworthy services to be proud of
  • to build relationships that bring positive change
  • to encourage the community to thrive by providing residents with knowledge, skills, and greater confidence


A month of action plan was started and included exciting projects i.e.

  • Paws on Patrol – a dog month which led to 130 dogs being micro chipped and dog behaviour works shops.
  • Golden Gnomes a garden month celebrating great gardens with the award of a mini golden gnome and a free tool hire service for those who didn’t get a “gnome.
  • Snip & chip for cats offering cheap services for cats

……. To name just  a few

Partnership working is essential:

we are very lucky to have dedicated services throughout the neighbourhood. In 2014 we worked with the local police to help set up a One Team where we work with all major partners in the neighbourhood. Meeting weekly to discuss cases and have an action plan for each case.

A constant concern identified by the community was lack of activities for young people. Last year jointly with the Police, Alliance funded a 6 week youth club pilot for 9 – 14 year old .This year we successfully applied for a children in need grant to keep the youth club open for another year we average 40+ children every week.

What is our future, well we don’t really know but we will continue to try and meet our communities needs and change with the challenges ahead

More information about Alliance Homes