Along with thousands of other exhibitors, keynote speakers, policymakers, and visitors, we are just back from a productive few days of networking and knowledge-building at Housing 2021 in Manchester – the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) annual conference, and Europe’s biggest housing festival.

It has been an informative exercise for the Pathway Homes team, and great to meet so many colleagues in the sector who are just as passionate about delivering quality housing to the approx. 1.1 million people on the UK’s social housing waiting list as we are.

There were a number of key issues that dominated the 3-day event, which really resonated with us, including:

  • how good quality social housing can – and must – play a central part in the Government’s levelling up agenda
  • the importance of reducing inequality in our neighbourhoods and communities, to the benefit of us all
  • the importance of standards and regulation when it comes to the safety of our tenants and the credibility of our sector’s reputation
  • the challenges and opportunities of ‘zero carbon’ and meeting the Government’s targets for net zero carbon emissions by 2050

As well as some great one-to-one meetings and discussions at the Pathway Homes stand, the conference included a great programme of thought-provoking keynote discussions which were insightful and informative, including sessions with the Regulator of Social Housing, Fiona McGregor; the CEO of Social Housing at Civitas, Paul Bridge; the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham;  and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick.

There’s plenty to reflect on and share with the wider team. But if we had to pick our most important takeaway from Housing 2021 it would be this: seeing housing as providing simple bricks and mortar fabric is not enough. Successful housing policy is, and always will be, about putting the needs of people and communities first – collaborating with the wider community network to improve health, education, and opportunities.

We look forward to continuing the conversation.