When we set out to create a new identity for County Durham Housing Group, we kept coming back to the same thing; our view that social housing should drive positive change.
County Durham Housing Group has been around for four years now and has achieved a lot. But the decision to combine all three of the group’s landlords into a single organisation created just one problem … there was no longer a group. A rebranding exercise was basically essential and creating a new identity is every bit as challenging as the legal or organisational changes required.
As a board we were clear from the outset that we wanted to go from a Ronseal style of branding to something that better embodied the hopes and aspirations that a good social landlord can deliver for their customers. That means distilling a whole ethos into something short and concise enough to be instantly memorable.
It gave us an opportunity to discuss in detail what our core beliefs are. Since our establishment we have always stood true to our vision: ‘we believe in life without barriers’. At its heart, we are saying to our people and customers, and for our business overall, that anything is possible. Whether it’s helping a new mother settle into her first home, providing adaptations to help wheelchair users maintain independence or even taking a difficult, brownfield site and building new affordable houses; we’re always striving to break down barriers.
We also wanted to challenge many of the perceptions that still exist around affordable housing. We understand that our new tenants aspire to a good, secure home and that a property from a social landlord is very much the best way to achieve that. We want them to be proud of where they live – not just their home, but their community too.
Any new identity had to encompass our long-standing beliefs that a good home doesn’t end at the garden gate. We’ve got a hugely successful community investment programme that has helped provide a healthy breakfast for primary school children, given a boost for a clothing bank and funded an arts based mental health charity.
We also wanted the brand to demonstrate that we truly believe in the future of our tenants and are committed to investing in that. From the work of our dedicated Universal Credit advisors and tenancy sustainment experts, to the learning and training support we offer, we want our customers to know that we aren’t just there to collect the rent and carry out repairs.
Our new identity also reflects our commitment to customer engagement.We’ve taken on board the sentiment of last year’s green paper, and strengthened the voice of tenants through the creation of a new Values Group. As a formal part of our new governance framework, the groupwill be made up predominantly of tenants and leaseholders, focused on accurately reflecting the views of customers and giving them the chance to be part of our future.
It turned out that we were staring the answer in the face. We believe in our tenants, we believe in our communities and we believe in the future of affordable housing. That’s why we are now ‘believe housing’ … we believe inlife without barriers.
Chair of the Board, believe housing