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Community Housing is pleased to announce the success of their bid for Social Housing Decarbonisation Funding Wave 1. 

With the increased pressures on household energy costs and the climate emergency increasingly presenting itself through more natural disasters as can be seen daily in the media, timing of this funding and support from central government couldn’t be timed any better for us and our customers. 

We fully understand that we must improve our housing stock in order to help our customers reduce their energy use and subsequently reduce carbon emissions, and we are clear on the properties we need to target based on the property energy performance data we have collected over many years. 

Over the last 12 months, Community Housing has been working in partnership with West Midlands Combined Authority members to develop a consortium bid for a share of the £179 million available, with the announcement from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirming grant funding of £7.5 million for our consortium. This equates to just short of £500,000 investment now available for Community Housing (inclusive of co-funding by ourselves). 

Colleagues from the Assets Team have been working tirelessly in the background putting together our Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund bid, sourcing potential contractors, and exploring the world of retrofit options, so we are well prepared to receive the funding and make a start on our zero-carbon journey. 

Pete Shorrock, Head of Asset Management, said: “Community Housing is delighted with the recent announcement of SHDF funding for the West Midlands region and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with WMCA members, bringing our minds together to tackle affordable warmth and carbon neutrality for the benefit of the communities and customers we serve. The local employment opportunities, development of green technologies and additional investment the funding will bring places us in a unique position, allowing us to assist with the ‘levelling-up’ of our local area”.

This initial funding will focus towards a retrofit fabric first approach to 20 properties identified in the Comberton area, where external wall insulation and other similar energy efficient measures are proposed to take place. Climate expert recommendations are to tackle the fabric of buildings and insulation improvements prior to upgrading heating systems with greener alternatives. Based on such advice, that pretty much explains how we will move forward with our investment with regards to achieving zero carbon. Therefore, whilst we will undertake some small trials of alternative greener heating systems over coming years, our main focus is going to be on improve the thermal efficiency of buildings through improved insulation, thus reducing energy loss, thus reducing energy costs and emissions.   

The 2019 Conservative Manifesto has committed to £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund over a 10 year period, to improve the energy performance of social rented homes and is on the pathway to Net Zero by 2050. A further £800 million is to be released for applications in April 2022, with the expectation that this will cover works through to 2025 before further funding becomes available. Community Housing is continuing to work in partnership with West Midlands Combined Authority to tap into this long-term funding opportunity. 

Zero Carbon remains in its infancy as a topic and we are all learning, sharing ideas and best practices, so we can create opportunities to improve our planet and to make it a safe, enjoyable place for future generations. If this is something that interests you or that you want to be involved in developing for Community Housing, please get in touch at customerengagement@communityhousing.co.uk