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21st Sep 2023
Michael Newey Caroline Pickering and Jenny Watson celebrate Broadland Housings 60th birthday sm

One of Norfolk’s leading social housing providers has celebrated its 60th birthday at a special ceremony attended by current and former members of its Board, senior staff and tenants – with a promise to remain true to its original purpose. 

Broadland Housing Association, which was formed in 1963, marked the occasion at Shipfield in Sprowston, its first development of new homes which was built in 1967.  Tenants at the scheme joined in the celebrations with a barbecue.

Addressing those present, current chief executive Michael Newey, who took over the reins at the association in 2003, said that the founders of Broadland Housing were very clear about its purpose. 

“It was about setting up a housing association for people who couldn’t afford the open market, whether it was renting or owning, to access a decent home.  That was a long-term purpose, and whatever has happened in the meantime in terms of politicians, housing ministers and prime ministers, we have held true to what we were set up for.

“The need is still acute; there will be 271,000 people staying in temporary accommodation tonight; 130,000 of those are children.  Despite our best efforts, today the social housing sector is 1.1 million homes smaller than it was in 1979.

“It would be wrong not to acknowledge that we are in tough times right now; our 60th birthday is marked by financial pressure.  But I am really optimistic for the future.  We have a track record of making tough but right decisions so we can safeguard our tenants’ homes and also tackle the housing need in the county.

“We can be proud of our record in tackling that housing need.  When I joined 20 years ago we had 3,464 homes; today we have 5,634 homes – so we have grown on average by 110 homes a year over the last two decades.”

Mr Newey said that the 60th birthday should be seen as a milestone, not a destination.  “We are looking forward to the future.  Our priorities will stay completely true to our original purpose of tackling housing need and inequality, getting closer to our tenants, staying independent, and maintaining our geographical focus.

“Challenges haven’t gone away, homelessness is on the up, there is greater financial destitution.

“But the main thing which hasn’t changed over 60 years is the ability for a home to completely change lives for the better, and that has to remain our focus.”