In 1975 a group of Cleator Moor residents protested against plans to knock their homes down on Duke Street and Queen Street. As a result of their actions a Housing Action Area was set up and Impact was born. That strong tenant and community emphasis has continued ever since.
We now have 3,000 properties covering the whole of Cumbria and now have our first schemes in Lancaster. Our stock is affordable, in high demand and is in good condition.
As well as our stock of general needs rented housing, we own various schemes for first time buyers and many schemes for people who need extra support- we are Cumbria’s biggest landlord of supported housing, with nearly 400 properties and bedspaces. Our biggest concentration of housing is in Allerdale where we own over 1200 properties, 700 of which are on the Salterbeck Estate which were taken on as a stock transfer from the local authority. We run both of Cumbria’s Foyers for young people, in Penrith and Kendal. With Copeland’s Howgill Centre, we are jointly developing Cumbria’s third Foyer, In Whitehaven.
As a community based and charitable housing association, we have not chased growth in properties, but have sought to provide a wider and wider range of services for our local communities. For example, we own 4 extra care elderly schemes, 3 in South Lakes and 1 in Brampton, North of Carlisle. In these schemes, we house and support increasing numbers of elderly people with dementia and other long term problems.
We offer a wide range of other services. Our recycling and second hand furniture operations have been operating since 2000. We have various support projects for particular groups, for example our various youth groups and our Domestic Violence counseling service, which now covers both the whole of Cumbria and North Lancashire.
We have nearly 300 staff and volunteers and a turnover of £16m. Of that £16m, £11m comes from rents, with the rest coming from a wide range of funding sources, both contracts and charitable.
Both national and local governments are cutting their budgets. In 2015 and 2016 we have seen significant cuts in our budgets as services are withdrawn or cut back. At the same time, Government want us to shift our priorities to housebuilding for first time buyers. As we move through our fifth decade, we are keen to make best use of our resources to meet local needs and we are always keen to talk to Government and other funding bodies about what we can do to help.