Housing body joins European consortium

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, the council's arm's length housing organisation, has signed an agreement to share best practice and bid for EU grants with counterparts in France, Sweden, Germany and Holland.

RBH managers will meet with those from similar organisations in Cité Nouvelle, France, Botkyrkabyggen, Sweden, Freie Scholle, Germany, and WonenBreburg, Holland to discuss such issues as the role of tenants in decision-making, organisational structures and funding.

Gareth Swarbrick, RBH chief executive, said: "As a forward thinking organisation we have been interested in looking at and learning from European models of social and affordable housing for some time now. We are pleased to have been approached by European colleagues and to have successfully established this group."

Swarbrick added: "As well as looking in detail at how other organisations work we also see this group as providing a mechanism for applying for any European grant funding which specifically requests a pan-European criterion."

The group has already put in a consortium bid for funding to support pilot schemes on smart metering of energy and water consumption.

Energy consumption and reducing tenants' energy bills are more advanced on the Continent, Swarbrick added, which could benefit Rochdale. "This is an area that we will be seeking to learn from so that our tenants can derive some real tangible benefits from this project," he added.

It is anticipated that RBH will host a meeting of the group in Rochdale in early 2011.

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