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Neighbouring housing associations to merge

Housing Plus Group and Stafford and Rural Homes are to merge, creating an influential housing, care and property group for Staffordshire and Shropshire.

The combined group – including Severnside Housing and South Staffordshire Housing Association – will own and manage around 18,000 homes. Providing employment, training and apprenticeships for 800 local people, the group will have an annual turnover of almost £100m.

The new merged group is expected to launch on 1 October.

The group has committed to offering a wider choice of homes, starting work on the construction of 2,000 new homes for rent, shared ownership and outright sale by 2023.

Merger will also bring improved career prospects for staff and the promise of 100 new apprenticeship places in the group and its supply chain within five years of launch. The group has pledged to remain accountable to its customers, with a customer voice at board level.

Sarah Boden, currently Chief Executive at Housing Plus Group, has been appointed as designate Chief Executive of the new group. She said: “The merger is a fantastic opportunity, which will bring long lasting benefits to our customers and local partners. Joining together we will be stronger, more resilient and able to offer the best possible homes and services.

“We also expect to be able to deliver almost one-third more hours of care and support for older people who want to continue living independently, in their own homes.”

Alison Hadden (currently chair of Stafford and Rural Homes), has been appointed chair designate of the combined group. She said: “This is an exciting joining together of successful, neighbouring housing providers sharing very similar values and ambitions.  The experience, skills, resources and energy of the combined group will make a fundamental difference to the lives of people and communities.”

Karen Armitage, Chief Executive of Stafford and Rural Homes, said: “It has been a huge honour to be the Chief Executive of Stafford and Rural Homes from the day the company was formed. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Stafford Borough Council, staff, customers and stakeholders over thirteen years to help make Stafford a Great Place to Live, Work and Grow.

“I wish Sarah Boden, the Chief Executive of the new group every success.”