Derwent Living has officially joined the Places for People Group as a subsidiary organisation. The move will see the Group become one of the UK’s largest property management organisations with a portfolio of more than 182,000 homes across the country.
Derwent Living, which owns and manages around 30,000 properties through its affordable and commercial businesses, will maintain its own independent identity, local offices, management team and operational structure.
The partnership will enable Derwent Living to improve its supply of new homes over the coming years, increase its financial potential to deliver new products, and significantly enhance services available to customers through access to new expertise on offer as part of Places for People.
Through partnering with Derwent Living, Places for People has gained an established foothold in the student housing market, a new operational base in the East Midlands, and an additional resource through the skills and experience of Derwent Living’s employees.
Places for People Group Chief Executive, David Cowans and Group Chairman, Chris Phillips, have both been appointed to sit on Derwent Living’s board.
Peter McCormack, Chief Executive of Derwent Living, said: “For more than 50 years, Derwent Living has been providing homes for people across the Midlands and beyond, with a clear focus on affordability, and delivering a range of housing tenures to meet local need.
“The opportunity to enhance and expand our services in partnership with such a pioneering housing provider was truly unmissable. We are genuinely excited about the future for Derwent Living, with the additional expertise and financial power on offer as a member of the Places for People Group.
“Joining Places for People offers our staff and customers the best of both worlds; allowing our services and identity to remain tailored to our local communities, while benefitting from the financial security, economies of scale and opportunities that come from being part of a larger organisation.”
David Cowans, Group Chief Executive at Places for People said: “From the outset of our discussions, it became clear that one of Derwent Living's greatest assets was its people and their working culture – which shares many similarities with our own. We look forward to welcoming the knowledge and expertise of Derwent Living’s employees to Group projects across the UK.
“Student housing represented the last significant area of the housing market in which Places for People was not playing a major role. Gaining a partner with such a strong reputation in this area has completed the jigsaw, allowing us to offer tailored accommodation to people at all stages of their lives.
“The addition of Derwent Living will not only provide a new operational base in the East Midlands, it will also enable the Group to rationalise its housing stock in the region, in order to deliver greater efficiencies that ultimately improves local services.”
Derwent Living is the third independent housing association to join the Places for People Group. Castle Rock Edinvar in Scotland joined the Group in 2005, followed by East Anglia-based Cotman Housing Association in 2009. Following the successful integration of Castle Rock Edinvar and Cotman Housing Association, Places for People has demonstrated a strong track record in supporting and enabling regional housing providers to improve the services on offer to customers, while retaining their individual local identities.
Since joining the Group, both Castle Rock Edinvar and Cotman Housing Association have driven down management costs, whilst investing more in homes and communities. After becoming part of Places for People in 2009, Cotman Housing Association has more than doubled the number of homes it manages, increased its operating profit by 283% and consistently improved performance, as well as achieving greater operational efficiency through access to the Group’s significant buying power, capital assets and funding.