Cost of living panel event highlights role of anchor institutions

More than 130 guests joined the G15's in-person panel discussion on 24 February 2023. The event focused on the cost-of-living crisis, and the challenges it presents to London’s communities.

It discussed how anchor organisations, including housing associations, could work better in partnership to deliver crucial support and services when it matters most. The panel spoke passionately about the need for collective efforts and recognised how vital community investment is. The panel featured:

  • Geeta Nanda – Chair of the G15 and MTVH Chief Executive
  • Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor of London for Communities and Social Justice
  • Andy Hulme, Chief Executive, the Hyde Group
  • Rachel Harrison, Assistant Headteacher, Henry Fawcett Primary School
  • Cllr Claire Holland, Leader of Lambeth Council

They were joined by special guests:

  • Roger Hunte – caretaker at the Cube Community Centre at Clapham Park (MTVH)
  • Gerald Jones, Director of Community Learning, Morley College, Stockwell (Hyde)

As well as bringing together G15 colleagues, local authority professionals and charity partners, the event was a brilliant opportunity to showcase how G15 members are uniquely placed to provide joined-up support to help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Commenting on the event, Geeta Nanda said:

All G15 members are incredibly active participants in their local communities and every G15 member is seeing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the people we provide homes to or the communities we serve. As energy bills rise and essentials become unaffordable, residents need support more than ever.

“We know that providing good quality and affordable homes has never been more important, but we’ve also seen how critical the wider work of the G15 has been to communities when residents need us most. Together, we really can make a difference.”

Rachel Harrison said:

“Working in a school, I can see first hand the impact that the cost of living crisis is having not just on the children, but parents and my colleagues. Whether it’s children not being able to top up their Oyster card, or the crippling crisis in mental health or support services falling away. This all leads to children not coping at school.

“We need more access to resources and better community support – providing the right people to talk to. The work that the G15 is delivering in communities is needed now more than ever.”

Cllr Claire Holland, said:

“The G15 covers thousands of households in London and in this event, we saw some of the incredible work that we can do by working in partnership across the Capital. Lambeth has some of the highest child poverty rates in England and we need to tackle these issues, and tackle them fast. We know that housing is the one of the biggest things we need to address in terms of poverty, but we can’t do it on our own.

“By working together, we can target resources where help is needed the most. My priority is making sure that we get the basics right – we can better understand peoples’ needs when we work together. Working smarter and being creative means that we can find the solutions we need to help improve people’s lives.”

Andy Hulme, said:

"This G15 event has given a snapshot of what it means to be a housing association as we seek to continue the support we offer to customers who are navigating the cost-of-living crisis. Social conscience is at the heart of everything we do, whether it’s providing a home to families, tackling fuel poverty, or providing benefits and employment advice. In the last 12 months, G15 members provided 33,767 people with targeted advice and support, including specialist debt advice and invested over £25m in communities services.

“In addition to providing discounted homes, we deliver essential services, and spaces ranging from community spaces to college spaces. We’re working with people that are our neighbours, friends, and communities to help them live their best lives.”

Find out more by reading the G15 Community Impact report, which details the range of services G15 members are providing to support residents.