Forum debates housing charity’s community investment strategy

Jun 04, 2019

A NATIONAL housing charity has called a round table summit councillors
and groups from across Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire to discuss its future
community investment priorities. 

L&Q announced plans to expand into the region, building
affordable homes and investing in local initiatives and the economy. The
investment package will support projects and community activities through
L&Q’s £250 million charitable foundation,  set up in 2011 to bring together its social
and economic programmes.

Representatives from Milton Keynes Council, Woughton Community
Council, Milton Keynes YMCA, Milton Keynes College, Green Business Network,
Groundwork and Destination MK joined the forum, which focused on three key
topics: young people, workforce and growth.

The debate will inform the L&Q Foundation’s bespoke regional
investment and partnership package for the region, which will be announced
later this year.

“L&Q is about more than bricks and mortar,” said group
director of development and sales Fiona Fletcher Smith. “We want to work
closely with local partners to create a lasting impact in the areas we work.
The conclusions from this round table, building on the knowledge and experience
of our fantastic attendees, will be pivotal to guiding our strategic decision
making over the coming years.”

Cllr Moriah Priestley, cabinet member for economic growth and community
partnerships at Milton Keynes Council, said:“Milton Keynes is a
vibrant and aspirational place with many of our residents looking to establish
their own businesses and last year alone, we had over 14,000 new business
registrations in the borough. However, to ensure we have a skilled workforce
for the long-term contributing to economic growth, we need to do more to help
new businesses get off the ground and assist young people to realise their full
potential here.”

Research carried out by Milton Keynes Council has shown that the
town will need an additional 26,500 new homes by 2031 to meet housing need. L&Q
is already active in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire, with 225 homes due to be
completed later this year.

L&Q will be investing further in homes and other local
infrastructure in the area as part of its ongoing commitment to the region.

L&Q Foundation diector Matthew
Corbett co-chaired the discussion. “Our ethos is to take a proactive
approach to understanding the specific investment needs and opportunities for
each area we operate in to be able to deliver a positive impact for the
communities we serve,” he said.

Among the delegates was Community Action MK chair Danny Conway. He
said: “We need a space where the community can come together, share ideas and
be inspired. Fundamentally people need people. It is a simple concept and it is
where I believe L&Q can make a real positive impact.”

Joanne Goodall, development and fundraising manager of community
charity Groundwork East, said: “Mental health is a critical issue that we see
in many areas and across age groups. To make a truly positive impact,
organisations need to prioritise longevity and focus on providing a sustained
period of community investment in order to start encouraging greater
aspirations from an earlier age.”

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