Wayfarer Partners celebrate the 20th anniversary of the consortium, marking an achievement which has seen 12,279 new affordable homes built throughout the south of England.
In 2003, Wayfarer, led by Abri’s Group subsidiary Swaythling Housing Society, started a partnership to deliver new homes and support its partners to develop and manage new affordable homes to meet housing needs. Wayfarer began with eight members and over the years the consortium has worked with 22 different members who collectively represent the ownership of over 120,000 affordable homes in the south of England
Our members work together to build new affordable homes for rent, low cost homeownership and specialist housing. This has all been possible thanks to grant funding support from Homes England, which over the course of 20 years has reached over £344m, to help thousands of people gain access to good quality homes.
More than just the number of homes, housing has a long-standing legacy for local communities. The impacts are clear, providing homes changes lives, creating jobs, reducing homelessness and creating cohesive neighbourhoods. That’s why the quality of homes built by our members are instrumental to the overall health, happiness and prosperity of our communities.
Looking back over the last 20 years the support Wayfarer members provide for their residents has contributed to some exceptional new developments. These have included Castlemaine Court in Byfleet Woking, built by Crown Simmons, now part of Southern Housing, the 16 homes for social rent were named as the Best Designed Development in the UK by Inside Housing in 2016. With rents at 40% of local market levels the development helped to provide vibrant new homes for local families, couples and single people.
Another is Clement House, a development of high quality, modern apartments for older people, built by Silva Homes, which was the first of its type in Bracknell. The new scheme has allowed residents to live independently with access to care and support tailored to their individual requirements.
The partnership approach
With 18 current members, ranging from small specialist register providers to large local authorities, Wayfarer exists to connect organisations with the Homes England grant funding they need to help solve the housing crisis. This is the foundation we exist on, the connecting link between those with ambitions to build more affordable homes and the expertise and financial support needed to do just that. Over the years the consortium has changed with three members now Homes England investment partners in their own right.
As lead partner of the Wayfarer partnership, Abri helps members to secure Homes England funding to deliver a diversity of different housing options for communities in the region. Wayfarer’s success story is an example of partnership working with the collective efforts of housing associations, local authorities and their development partners making a real impact on meeting housing needs.
Achieving more through collaboration
The progress made delivering affordable homes over the last two decades is undeniable. While there has been progress, we’re committed to continue to provide new affordable and specialist homes to meet housing needs in the south by working together. Doug Sargeant, Chief Operating Officer from St Arthur Homes, comments on what the Wayfarer Partnership means for them: “As a Wayfarer member we’ve been able to build more affordable homes which wouldn’t have been possible on such a scale without the support and knowledge that we’ve gained from being a partner in the consortium. The expertise we can draw on translates as real, tangible benefits for our customers by giving more people access to a good quality home.”
But collectively we’re not complacent, and we remain focussed on continuing to tackle the housing crisis to ensure as many people as possible have a safe, warm home. We’ve been successful securing significant Homes England grant funding in the past and are working with Homes England to secure funding for our pipeline schemes in the new AHP 2021-2026 programme. The need for high-quality, accessible and sustainable homes is at its greatest and we’ll be here, with our members, to deliver that.