Onward Runcorn
Onward homes in Runcorn

Merger for five housing associations

Five North West housing associations have merged to form Onward, operating as a single organisation under one common board, and will oversee 35,000 homes across Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire.

The group members are Contour Homes, Liverpool Housing Trust, Ribble Valley Homes, Hyndburn Homes and Peak Valley Housing Association, which together become one of the North West’s largest housing providers.

In total, the housing associations employ around 800 people.

Previously the housing associations had each retained a board, as well as sitting on the Onward Group board. However, from now the individual names of the five housing associations – Contour Homes, Liverpool Housing Trust, Ribble Valley Homes, Hyndburn Homes and Peak Valley Housing Association – will cease to exist and they will all be known as Onward under one common board and executive team.

Bronwen Rapley has been chief executive across all five group members, and now becomes chief executive of Onward.

Onward owns 28,000 properties, but manages a total 35,000 homes across the North West.

Contour has 11,200, Liverpool Housing Trust 11,100, Hyndburn Homes 3,000, Peak Valley Housing Associations 1,400, and Ribble Valley Homes 1,100.

Onward’s ambition is now to build more than 1,600 new homes over the next five years, and invest £90m in its existing properties.

Rapley said: “Today we move forward as one organisation under the Onward brand, and we do so with a clear vision, a simplified structure and a shared purpose.

“We will combine the benefits of size and greater financial strength with a truly local focus through investment in our neighbourhoods. We want to be visible and accessible, making a positive difference in the communities we serve.”

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Should be more of this in the social housing sector. Far too many RSL’s with low stock numbers but high staff costs.

By John Smith

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