Brighter Places to light up lives for residents



The Chief Executive of a new housing association has today publicly pledged a commitment to “building better futures” for thousands of people across Bristol and the surrounding areas.

Anna Klimczak, Chief Executive of Brighter Places, made the promise to residents of the 3,300 households it serves following today’s (April 1) official launch of the housing association.

Brighter Places, whose head office is in Eastville, Bristol, has been established after housing associations Solon South West and United Communities agreed to merge last year.

An exciting new era

As the West Country takes its first steps on the road out of lockdown, Brighter Places will herald an exciting new era for residents who are set to play a key role as it rises to future challenges.

The provision of better customer service will be a priority for Brighter Places and work will also start in earnest from today to lay the foundations for an ambitious £10-million programme of home improvements and to deliver 1,000 new homes.

Better services, more and better homes

Brighter Places Chief Executive Anna Klimczak said: “Today’s launch of Brighter Places is very exciting and hugely significant because we will be building better futures for thousands of people across Bristol and the surrounding areas.

“Providing better services for our residents was the driving force behind Solon and United Communities uniting as Brighter Places and we will be prioritising service improvements for our residents.

“We will also deliver more and better homes for Bristol and the surrounding areas by investing £10million more in home improvements and delivering 1,000 new, eco-friendly homes by 2025.

“We will work in partnership with communities, agencies and groups to make a real difference across the communities we serve. Residents will be at the heart of everything we do as we build a better future and overcome challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Ambitious plans

Under ambitious plans to ensure diversity, one resident has joined the Board of the new association, and residents will monitor Brighter Places’ performance and shape the future through a new Engagement Panel.

Over the course of a five-year programme, Brighter Places will deliver a series of benefits, including:

  • A £10-million programme of improvements
  • The delivery of 1,000 new homes by 2025
  • An apprenticeship programme to enable local people to develop professional skills
  • An accessible and modern customer office?and simple self-service option
  • Fast, high-quality and consistent customer service focused on a personal approach
  • Greater investment in tackling anti-social behaviour?and improving communal areas
  • A major overhaul of the repairs process
  • An annual home safety MOT and energy-efficiency improvements
  • A commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organisation
  • Make Brighter Places a destination employer to attract people determined to make a positive impact for residents

Resident-inspired name

The alliance was proposed last year by the organisations’ boards of directors after it became clear that a merger would ensure a better housing service to residents and leaseholder customers.

The plans received the go-ahead following a comprehensive consultation process with residents living in 3,300 homes in and around Bristol and surrounding areas.

Brighter Places emerged as the name of the new organisation, inspired by a resident suggestion, after residents along with Solon South West and United Communities colleagues were invited to help find a name and shape the new brand.

United approach brings benefits for all

Brighter Places Chair James Taylor, who led both organisations towards the merger as joint Chair for United Communities and Solon, said:

“Both organisations have a proud history of serving communities in Bristol and the surrounding area, providing homes and security for many thousands of families over the years.

“Housing associations face increasingly tough circumstances, economic, financial and social. We have looked at all options in detail and have found we can do more and better together than we can do as separate organisations.

“Our united approach will have substantial benefits for our communities, for our colleagues and for the city of Bristol and beyond and I know that Brighter Places will be a housing association that residents can be proud to call their own.”

The two organisations demonstrated their ability to make a positive difference last year when they came together to invest around £100,000 in 27 local projects through its Coronavirus Community Fund, set up rapidly to respond to the challenges faced by the pandemic.

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