Proposals to amalgamate
The two housing associations most closely linked to the world’s first garden cities are proposing to join forces.
Who are Welwyn Garden City Housing Association?
Welwyn Garden City Housing Association (WGCHA) are a financially robust, well-managed and locally accountable organisation with an enviable reputation for providing the highest standards of housing, care and support. WGCHA was established in 1961 some 50 years after the birth of the Garden City movement, primarily to meet the housing and care needs of local older people. WGCHA now own a little over 500 properties, mostly sheltered, supported and flexicare housing, with a more recent emphasis on family housing.
As one of the largest housing associations operating within the borough of Welwyn Hatfield, and with some properties in Stevenage, WGCHA are proud of the fact they still retain local and fully accessible offices, fully support the importance of the Garden City ideals and continue to actively partake in identifying and addressing local housing, care and support needs through a variety of partnerships.
How did the amalgamation idea come about?
The two Associations have similar objectives and values and, importantly, both are not-for-profit organisations. There is a logical and geographical fit, as we are situated relatively close together. Most importantly, we are specially linked through our history and tradition in working in the first Garden Cities; Letchworth Garden City being the first and oldest and Welwyn Garden City probably the better known. Each association has its own strengths and areas of expertise, so combining them will create a very effective partnership. It’s the logical next step.
What benefits will the proposed amalgamation bring?
Howard Cottage is committed to providing you with good services at the most affordable cost and we believe that joining with WGCHA will create more opportunities to do this.
In particular, a new partnership will:
• Improve and expand our services and ensure they offer greater value for money
• Release several million pounds, currently tied up in our respective properties, to enable the joint organisation to use this capacity to raise additional funding. By doing this, we can build many more affordable homes, in both the two long established Garden Cities and the surrounding areas
• Increase financial strength so we can deliver “more for less” and use the savings to maintain and improve our properties
• Help us to retain and attract the very best staff.
How will you keep us informed?
We will include regular updates to residents on our website (www.howard-cottage.co.uk) in our In touch newsletter, and at meetings. During the consultation period, we’ll respond to any questions or issues raised by residents and we will also be holding drop-in sessions at our three sheltered schemes, our flexicare scheme and Pioneer House, to answer any residents’ queries in person – we’ll be providing dates and times for these sessions as soon as we’ve firmed them up.
You’ll find a lot more detail about the proposed amalgamation in our FAQ sheet which we will update whenever there is more news to share.