18 August 2021

What a time to be in social housing. The volume and complexity of the challenges facing the sector is quite something. The decarbonisation agenda; building safety; a new landscape for consumer regulation and tenant engagement; equality, diversity and inclusion, the supply of new homes; and planning reform – and that’s just for starters. Oh and the small matter of a pandemic. It has been amazing to see how smaller housing associations have shown such resilience and a positive approach in the face of these many challenges. While being smaller gives you many strengths, it also creates real pressures on your resources and capacity.

That’s why this year’s National Smaller Housing Association conference has never been more critical. The programme has been designed to inform, empower and challenge smaller housing associations with the latest thinking and innovation on a whole range of issues. And of course to celebrate and share the wonderful work that smaller housing associations do.

In my role at the NHF working with smaller housing associations, I have many conversations with our members about the issues that matter to them and how we as, your trade body, can best support you. Member feedback has been at the heart of our planning for this conference. We absolutely wanted it to be an event that in a short space of time will equip you with the tools to help you tackle what lies ahead. We think it’s really exciting what we’ve scheduled and we’d love to share it with you!

There will be the opportunity to engage with those at the heart of decision making on some of the key issues affecting our sector - Richard Blakeway, the Housing Ombudsman; Regulator of Social Housing’s Fiona MacGregor; Selvin Brown MBE, the net-zero lead at BEIS – to name but a few. There are sessions on development and growth, finance, mental health, domestic abuse, homelessness, care and support, the economic outlook – all designed to make your head fizz with ideas and inspiration, help you focus on your priorities.

After such a strange and unprecedented period, it will be so refreshing as a sector to get together in those all-important networking sessions. Something I have always considered as always being such an enjoyable and often productive part of this conference every year. I’m sure many a great idea or inkling about some brilliant collaboration was first floated over a cuppa and biscuit with colleagues. Who knows what could happen after being unable to meet up for so long.

You can see all the details of the agenda and how to book online here

I am really looking forward to the conference and I hope to see you on 30 September and 1 October. Race you to the biscuits…

Jo Allen, Head of Member Relations

Jo Allen

Jo Allen is Head of Member Relations at the National Housing Federation

Jo Allen is Head of Member Relations at the National Housing Federation where she has worked since 2015. Prior to joining the Federation, she worked in policy and public affairs roles in local government, the banking sector and the British Embassy in Madrid.

Why I'm looking forward to our Smallers conference this year...