Community Gateway is a housing organisation and co-operative which had been undertaking progressive work around procurement and wider activities for sometime before the advent of the community wealth building project in Preston.
Community Gateway is a housing association formed from the transfer of Preston City Council’s housing stock in 2005. They own and manage over 6,500 homes in and around the city and employ approximately 250 staff.
Explicit in their commitment to community wealth building and one of the early anchor partners to collaborate with Preston City Council as “the Preston model” developed, Community Gateway contributed to the scaling-up of the anchor approach in the area which amplified its benefits to the community.
Community wealth building activity
Demonstrating their commitment to utilising their financial assets to promote more democratic and locally beneficial models of business ownership, Community Gateway brought its repairs service back in house in 2013. This has prevented a leakage of wealth from Preston and brought back around £5m per year to the local economy, as well as providing the opportunity for tenants to secure jobs within the service.
Measuring social value impact
Community Gateway evidences its social value impact in every project it undertakes. A key example has been their Purchase and Repair project, which has sought to develop new and good quality affordable homes and repair existing stock. They have evidenced the impact of this with an initial investment of £1.8m bringing over £3.7m of social value for Preston; an additional £1.08 of impact for every £1 spent. In addition, the project has enabled half a million pounds of central government funding to be levered into Preston, and 20 homes are now refurbished and cost efficient.
Living wage and supporting the VCS
Community Gateway was an early adopter of the Living Wage, getting their Living Wage Foundation accreditation back in 2014. They have also implemented an annual employee “community activity pledge” through which staff are able to spend a number of working days per year supporting local community projects.