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Partnership in action

Josh, 22, blazing a trail in the housing world

Collaboration between Housing Plus Group and South Staffordshire Council has created a fantastic opportunity for a local graduate and provided a model for a new way of working. 

Josh was appointed jointly by both organisations who worked with the University of Wolverhampton’s graduate employment agency. He spends half of each week in the development team at Housing Plus Group and the remainder of his time as part of the Enterprise and Growth team at the council.

The new role was introduced in an exciting example of partnership work where the shared ambition was to help local communities thrive and prosper.

“This approach works on so many levels,” explained Imre Tolygesi, partnership development manager at South Staffordshire Council. “For the council we’re able to dispose of land that’s costly to maintain and re-invest in projects that make a real difference. Housing Plus Group can identify new sites, helping to provide the homes our communities need. And for Josh, our joint approach gives him the added benefit of insight into two like-minded organisations, providing the platform to become a future leader with the right balance of skills to continue serving our residents.”

The project that Josh has been working on this year has demonstrated the benefits of this way of working. He has been identifying underused garage sites that we own, which adjoin pockets of land owned by the council.

“The idea is to bring these spaces together so that we can provide much-needed new housing for local people.” Josh explains. “Often, these sites are in villages where there is a big need for new homes but a lack of land for residential development. These are small sites that have a low impact on the neighbourhood but can make a huge difference to people and families who want to live there.

“At the council, I’m working in a team that tries to get the maximum use and value out of council-owned land. Both my teams want the same thing, which is the best for local communities.

“I put into practice a lot of what I learned about the development process as part of my degree but I’ve gained a huge amount of knowledge in my job. I can look at an area and know the planning policy for that kind of land and the priorities for the local councillors. I’ve got an insight into what our planners want as well as an understanding about the demand for housing from people on our waiting lists.

“It will be amazing when work starts on the first of ‘my’ sites. I’m very lucky to be in a position where I can learn so much and make a real difference to communities where I live.”