From education to employment

Employment Minister Alok Sharma launches housing and employment campaign

Housing body, Give us a Chance (GUAC) has launched a new campaign, Communities that Work, in Parliament this week.

Supported by 24Housing, Communities that Work champions the work of the social housing sector to help support social tenants into work and succeed through in-work progression. The campaign, which launched on Tuesday evening (27 November) will culminate in a Communities that Work week, 20 – 24 May 2019.

Recent research by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), support by GUAC, revealed that unemployment among social housing residents is far greater than the national average. Only four in ten housing associations tenants are working full-time and the economic inactivity of this group is three times higher than the national average.

However, the UK’s social housing sector is one of the largest investors to tackle unemployment and worklessness in the UK.  

Housing association invest around £70m every year in employment-related services such as training and support programmes. This is a significant boost to the governmental funding of £130m, and makes them the second biggest investor, sitting just behind government.

Yet the sector fails to get the recognition they deserve. Communities that Work aims to raise awareness of the work that housing association to do help people into work and give recognition to the role that the sector plays in tackling unemployment and under-employment across England and Wales. 

The launch event, sponsored by Peter Aldous MP (Conservative, Waveney) welcomed over 150 guests from across the social housing sector, as well as Members of Parliament and peers from across the House.

Speaking at the launch event, Minister for Employment, Alok Sharma MP said: “Having a safe and secure home lays the foundation for building a better life, making Housing Associations and jobcentres natural partners in helping people into work.  


“Since 2010, people from all backgrounds have benefited from the creation of 3.3 million jobs in the UK, with Housing Associations playing a vital role in supporting their residents to make the most of the opportunities out there.


“This campaign helps in recognising the hard work of many Housing Associations and jobcentre staff, and repeating their success up and down the country.”

Lynsey Sweeney, GUAC’s managing director said “Housing associations do more than just provide bricks and mortar – today the social housing sector is one of the biggest investors in employment support across England and Wales, and a leading champion for helping social housing tenants into work and supporting in-work progression.


This new campaign will play a critical role in uniting the sector, raising awareness of the role of housing associations in helping people into work, and bringing housing associations closer to government and policy.”

Housing associations, tenants and businesses can help to support the campaign, and raise awareness of the work that housing associations do to help their communities.  Supporters can get involved in the campaign by:


  • Showing your support and sign up to the campaign here.
  • Joining in with Communities that Work online – Show our work to local stakeholders through site visits and meetings, use the social media hashtag #CommunitiesthatWork  and share stories and employment scheme successes with your local press.
  • Joining in our social media competition – and tell the stories of how social housing tenants have been helped into work, or progressed in work, with the support of a housing association. Social housing tenants and housing associations can enter the competition  by submitting a short video or case study on twitter, and using the #CommunitiesthatWork hashtag and tagging @GUACJobs. Read more about the competition here.
  • Sign up to Communities that Work week.Taking place in May 2019, Communities that Work week will provide opportunities for your organisation to use the campaign platform to engage with your local stakeholders, and raise awareness of the work that your organisation does to help people into work, and to succeed in work.

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