Investing in housing, employment and skills for Cumbria

The creation of Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA) is bringing jobs and investment back into Cumbria.

CCHA has an annual turnover of around £33m, employs nearly 200 staff, and now owns and manages more than 7,000 properties in rural and urban communities across the North of England, with around 75 per cent of them here in Cumbria. It was created in July 2017 from the merger of Two Castles Housing Association and Derwent & Solway Housing Association.

CCHA has immediately brought 32 jobs back into Cumbria, amounting to a £650k per annum investment in employment locally, delivering services, greater efficiency and value for money for residents.

The new organisation is now able to recruit and invest locally, leading the way in providing a much-needed boost to the local economy in parts of Cumbria, including Workington and Carlisle.

As well as a commitment to providing new affordable housing solutions in the county and investing over £10m per annum in delivering new homes, CCHA is predicted to spend over £7.5m per annum delivering maintenance services in Cumbria, creating employment and skills opportunities for local businesses in the local communities in which they work.

Stephanie Murphy, Chief Executive of CCHA, said:

“We consulted extensively with residents prior to the merger taking place and we know that one of their key priorities was to receive locally based services from staff over the phone and in local offices.

“It has been a vital part of the merger to do everything we can to prioritise residents’ wishes, and this has resulted in us being able to bring extra investment into Cumbria. As well as investment in financial terms, we’re investing in people, bringing all the business decision making processes and jobs back into the local area.”

CCHA also has significant plans to build on its digital transformation work, which will enhance services to residents and provide better access to information 24/7.

Stephanie said:

“These are early steps on a journey for us and our residents. It is our aim for CCHA to continue to deliver the highest standards of services for residents. Achieving value for money is embedded in everything that we do and we work as hard as possible to ensure that every pound is invested wisely to maximise return on investment, while ensuring a high quality of service for our residents locally and continuing to meet the need for more affordable homes in our area.

“We know it will take a number of years to realise all of the benefits of the merger, but we’re delighted with the positive feedback we’ve had from residents and local authority partners in our first five months, and excited for the future for CCHA.”