Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society chooses the Aspire Group for management contract

Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society has chosen the Aspire Group to manage its 500 homes for affordable rent in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

The society, a housing association that provides general needs homes, invited expressions of interest earlier this year to manage its properties after the end of its current management agreement with Sanctuary Housing.

The Aspire Group was selected by the board of the society and will take over the management of the homes under a five year contract in April 2011.

Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society will retain its full independence and identity. It will retain ownership of its stock and responsibility for the stock will remain with the society’s board. Seven staff will transfer employment to the Aspire Group under protected terms and conditions and will continue to work with the society’s tenants.

The contract is a significant expansion for the Aspire Group, which currently rents around 8,500 properties in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire through Aspire Housing. Other group members are training provider PM Training and the group’s charity the Realise Foundation.

It means the Aspire Group from next April will own or manage around 9,000 homes and will have a greatly increased presence in Stoke-on-Trent.

The society’s tenants will keep the same tenancy conditions but will receive services such as maintenance, repairs and neighbourhood management from the Aspire Group in future. In addition Aspire Group will provide corporate services such as accounting and human resources.

The Aspire Group, Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society and Sanctuary Group are now working closely together to ensure the transition to the new arrangements is as smooth as possible.

Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society’s stock includes two tower blocks at Park Vista, Hanley; Northwood and Imperial Courts in Hanley; Perrymount and Marchwood Courts in Penkhull; plus other properties in Etruria and Burslem.

Consultation with the society’s tenants showed 71 per cent supported the proposal for Aspire to manage their homes.

Trevor Jones, chairman of Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society, said: “Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society is very pleased to have selected the Aspire Group as our management partner.

“Aspire demonstrated to us that they would provide an excellent service for our tenants, while respecting and valuing our independence and identity.

“We were also particularly impressed by Aspire’s commitment investing in communities, to training and to helping people into work through PM Training.

“We look forward to working with colleagues and tenants at Aspire to provide high quality services and opportunities for our tenants.”

Sinead Butters, Aspire Group chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society to manage their homes.

“We will now use the skill and knowledge we have developed in 10 years at Aspire Housing to provide excellent housing management services for Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society’s tenants.

“However, our offer is about much more than providing high quality housing. We will also work with the society to offer training and employment opportunities, and we will support neighbourhood regeneration in their areas.

“For us this is a significant expansion of our work in Stoke-on-Trent where we already own or are building 58 homes and where PM Training is based.

“We greatly look forward to working with our partners in Stoke-on-Trent to provide services and create employment and training opportunities.”