Most people experience financial worries at some point in our lives. For some it may be the burden of a mortgage debt, finding money for Christmas or birthday presents, or paying off student loans. For others, it might be paying the rent, an overdue electricity bill or juggling the constant demands from children and families.
Regeneration schemes have faced a chorus of disapproval over the past few years. Criticised for their empty promises about consultation, job creation and community cohesion by some. Charged with gentrification and social cleansing by others. The social benefits of development are rarely mentioned.
Yet, what if developers, whether commercial or not-for-profit, were able to measure, and thereby demonstrate, their social value? Perhaps this might help to square the circle that many in the sector perceive between development and social purpose.
Four years ago, the first version of the UK Social Value Bank calculator was produced by HACT and Simetrica. Since its launch, it’s been downloaded over 11,000 times, and is used by housing associations, councils, government departments and the National Lottery to measure uplift in wellbeing.
Financial Capability and Financial Inclusion have been on the agenda for Social Housing organisations since time immemorial, and this has seen a sharp escalation in recent years with the introduction of welfare reforms such as Universal Credit and Benefit Caps. With a large percentage of Housing Association income deriving from Housing Benefit, it is natural that these reforms have been a concern in the sector.