GMCA’s successful consortium bid to BEIS, the Government’s lead department previously for climate change and net zero, will see over 6,000 properties across Greater Manchester benefit from the retrofit and installation of a range of energy efficiency measures. Southway Housing Trust are one of 18 Housing Providers part of the consortium working on the Social Housing Decarbonisation programme.

Manchester housing provider Southway Housing Trust and Cara EPS, a multi-disciplinary net zero and retrofit business from Salford, are working in partnership to deliver an ambitious programme of home improvements that will make homes warmer and greener, contributing to better health and wellbeing outcomes for residents.

Over 2 years, more than 4,000 measures including cavity wall insulation, wall insulation, solar panels, and low energy lighting, will be installed at 1,112 of the homes Southway provides for tenants.

These are the housing trust’s least energy-efficient properties, and the works will elevate the energy efficiency of these properties to a minimum ‘C’ level on the national EPC Rating system. This will help the residents to feel warmer in their homes and use less energy, helping towards them having lower energy bills.

Forming the partnership

Seeking a long-term partner with which they could achieve ongoing outcomes and added value, Southway engaged with the market early, meaning discussions with Cara EPS took place at the stage that the SHDF bid was prepared. This early collaboration allowed the teams to prepare a robust bid that included detailed data, budgets, and delivery plans.

A key focus of this bid was evidencing a fabric-first approach when considering what Energy Efficiency Measures (EEMs) to install. Cara was able to survey a sizeable sample portion of properties to assess the viability and suitability of installing various carbon reduction measures in a significant proportion of Southway’s stock – almost one quarter of their 6,000 homes.

Works to date

Since their appointment in June, Cara has been able to hit the ground running, completing Retrofit Assessments at over 700 properties as part of the PAS2035-2019 accredited scheme. Installation of cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, low-energy lighting and improved ventilation measures is now already underway in many of these homes.

Further funding has also been secured to install additional ventilation in more than 500 homes for vulnerable residents.

Wider and additional benefits

The partnership project has been a great catalyst for self-delivery, creating employment and training opportunities which have been specifically targeted to Southway’s residents. In the first 3 months of the partnership, three full-time jobs and one part-time job were successfully secured by Southway tenants who were previously unemployed.

The new employees are undergoing accredited training courses (NVQ & Apprenticeship) in fields ranging from insulation measures and housing maintenance to digital skills.

The partnership’s long-term approach to the work has also secured other outcomes. Surveying properties for the project has provided Southway with up-to-date, comprehensive data about their homes, which will help when making future decisions on investment programmes. The partnership has also been able to enhance the standard applied to void properties.

To ensure there is an emphasis on better data and digital transformation, Southway and Cara are forming a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Salford University. A ‘Strategic Partnership’ Board has also been created, tasked with monitoring and measuring outcomes and ensuring the programme sees ongoing improvements.

Mark Beirne, Managing Director, Cara EPS, said: “It’s exciting to be working in partnership with Southway Housing to deliver an ambitious programme of carbon reduction measures to Southway properties to improve energy performance, reduce fuel bills and improve the health and wellbeing of residents.

Growing up in South Manchester, and with family still living in the area, it gives me extra satisfaction to see the improvements made from the scheme as a whole and across the community in creating better, warmer homes and job and training opportunities for local people.”

Matt Roberts, Strategic Director of Property & Development, said: “Our partnership with Cara EPS is going extremely well and we’re making great progress towards providing energy efficiency measures to tenants that need it most.

We are very grateful to Greater Manchester Combined Authority for leading the Consortium bid. The project we have started here with the additional funding is creating many other benefits for our tenants as well as being a major contributor to our aspirations to become a net zero carbon organisation by 2038.”

Cara EPS Team with vehicle
The Cara EPS Team

Find out more about the programme at Southway Housing.

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