The boards of Fold and Helm Housing Associations have agreed to combine to form a new association, subject to due diligence and the necessary approvals.
Both boards have considered and approved an outline business case for merger and will now take forward plans for completing the process by early 2017. The new association will manage 12,000 homes, provide services for around 30,000 households and employ close to 1,000 staff. In its first 5 years the new social enterprise is forecast to increase its assets to £1.25bn, it’s turnover to £90m, whilst investing around £325m in the local construction and contracting industry. There are equally ambitious plans for increased social investment and apprentice employment schemes for local communities.
Speaking following the decision by the Helm Housing Association board, Chair Liz Cuddy said:
“The creation of a new single housing association means we can share expertise and deliver improved and more efficient customer services to our existing tenants. It also means we can increase our investment in local communities and contribute to the Housing Plus agenda. In times of record levels of housing need a new and financially stronger provider will be better placed to build more homes, right across Northern Ireland. We look forward to working with colleagues at Fold in the coming weeks and months to bring this about.”
Fold Housing Chair Diana Fitzsimons said:
“Fold and Helm Housing Associations have between them 80 years of expertise in providing excellent housing, care and support. We are both values driven providers, seeking value for money for all our service users and funders. Both boards have considered the impact of key challenges such as welfare reform, both on our tenants and our businesses. We feel strongly that this collaboration leaves us much better placed to support our tenants, invest in new systems and technology and grow and expand our service offering.”
Both boards plan to present their final business case to shareholders towards the end of the year.