An independent report into the economic impact of Kingdom Housing Association’s activities has found that, in addition to creating 700 jobs and generating £40 million for the Fife economy, the Association has saved the NHS and local councils an estimated £48m by enabling vulnerable people to live in their own homes independently.
The report was launched by Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for local government and housing, during a site visit to one of Kingdom’s latest affordable housing projects, a development at Pitscottie Road, Cupar.
Launching the report, which was carried out by Optimal Economics, the minister said: “I am really encouraged by the great success of Kingdom’s activities which have led to hundreds of jobs being created, supported more people to live independently, and generated significant income. It is clear that while the Kingdom Group’s primary role is to meet housing and related services, it also generates many other benefits for the areas in which it works, supporting and sustaining local communities in Fife.”
He added: “Making sure everyone has access to a safe, warm and affordable home is central to our drive to make Scotland fairer and more prosperous – this report shows clearly how Scottish Government investment, together with the work of housing associations such as Kingdom, are helping to make that a reality.”
Freya Lees, Kingdom Housing Association chair, said: “We provide over 4000 affordable homes, in 63 communities, to help meet housing needs and sustain communities. The report highlights the social impact this has in the communities where we operate.”
Freya continued: “The Kingdom Group is one of Fife’s largest employers with over 400 staff and the report identifies the positive economic impact this provides. Our activities create 700 jobs and £40m income in Scotland each year.”
The report also identified that over the last four years, Kingdom has also carried out 974 medical adaptations, to meet people’s particular needs and had undertaken 3,200 small repairs, for older and disabled private owners. The report estimates that this activity has generated savings of £48m in hospital and care costs, by enabling people to remain living independently in their own homes.
Other Kingdom activities highlighted in the report include: providing support and care to 256 people in 2016; assisting 2,000 people into sustainable employment and helping to regenerate eight local communities, through providing around 1,000 new homes.
The Pitscottie Road, development in Cupar visited by the minister cost £7.2m, with funding provided from the Scottish Government (£3.6m) and Fife Council (£250,000) and the balance being funded by Kingdom. The project will provide 49 new affordable homes for social rent to meet a full range of housing needs. The project has provided the opportunity to deliver many of the social and economic benefits highlighted in the report.
The visit was attended by Kingdom Board members, senior members and officers from Fife Council and other registered social landlords, along with others who work alongside Kingdom.
During the visit to the project the Minister had the opportunity view the new homes, meet the invited guests and meet some of the apprentices, who were employed by Campion Homes, the main contractors for the project and meet other young people who are part of Kingdom’s professional trainee programme.
Praising the development, the Minister said: “I have no doubt that this latest development will carry that good work on, with a further 49 homes for social rent, supported with over £3.6m of Scottish Government funding. That shows that by working closely with housing associations and others, we can more than meet our ambitious target to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes over this Parliament.”
Bill Banks, group chief executive with Kingdom, said: “The report demonstrates the economic value generated through our investment in new homes and our other activities. It also highlights the various community benefits we have provided related to employment and training, the environment, schools and education programmes and community initiatives. The project in Cupar is a good example of how all these wider added value benefits can be delivered through investment in affordable housing.”
Dougie Herd, joint managing director with Campion Homes, welcomed the apprenticeships created during the development. He said: “There continues to be a skills shortage in the construction sector and through our involvement with Kingdom’s affordable housing programme, it allows us to invest in our apprenticeship programme.”