Places for People
Places for People is one of the largest property management, development and regeneration companies in the UK.

Places for People is made of up 13 companies, has assets in excess of £2.9 billion, and manages more than 62,000 homes. It builds and manage homes, provides job and training opportunities, supports new and existing businesses, offers financial products such as mortgages and loans, and specialist care and support services that enable people to live independently in their own home.


Places for People was founded as North British Housing Association in 1965. Bristol Churches Housing Association joined the group in 1999, and the name was changed to Places for People Group Ltd on the 1st June 2000.

Group companies

Places for People is made of up 13 companies including:
  • Place for People Homes, a housing association
    Housing association
    Housing associations in the United Kingdom are independent not-for-profit bodies that provide low-cost "social housing" for people in housing need. Any trading surplus is used to maintain existing homes and to help finance new ones...

     which is responsible for the majority of the Group's homes across the country;
  • Places for People Developments which is behind a number of award winning developments and long-term regeneration projects involving masterplanning and community consultation;
  • Places for People Individual Support - a care and support specialist which provides housing and support to older people, those with a disability or mental health problem, women escaping domestic abuse and homeless people; includes Kush, black and minority ethnic specialist in London;
  • Places for People Neighbourhoods - a community services company which works with other parts of the business as well as external partners to create better facilities and opportunities in neighbourhoods;
  • Places for People Financial Services which offers mortgages, affordable loans, home contents insurance and budget advice;

Other Group companies are Places for Children, Places for People Care and Support Scotland, Places for People Landscapes, Cotman, Castle Rock Edinvar, Blueroom Properties, Lothian Homes, and Emblem Homes.


Housing groups borrow money to pay for new homes and improvements. Like some other large groups, Places for People raises money from investors by issuing corporate bond
Corporate bond
A corporate bond is a bond issued by a corporation. It is a bond that a corporation issues to raise money in order to expand its business. The term is usually applied to longer-term debt instruments, generally with a maturity date falling at least a year after their issue date...

s in its own name.

As the late-2000s financial crisis
Late-2000s financial crisis
The late-2000s financial crisis is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s...

 progressed, first-time buyers had difficulty in obtaining bank mortgages. Places for People was the first housing group to respond by providing mortgages for shared ownership or 100% buyers on its own developments.

In April 2008 Places For People launched the 'Ownhome' equity loan scheme in partnership with the Co-operative Bank. This was aimed at enabling first time buyers, key worker
Key worker
A key worker is a public sector employee who is considered to provide an essential service. The term is often used in the United Kingdom in the context of those essential workers who may find it difficult to buy property in the area where they work....

s and occupants of social housing to purchase homes on the open market through a combination of a standard co-operative bank mortgage for between 60-80% of value with the balance funded via an equity loan from Places for People. The scheme ended in April 2010 when funding support for the equity loan was withdrawn by the government.

In 2010 the group recorded a £25 million impairment
Revaluation of fixed assets
In finance, a revaluation of fixed assets is a technique that may be required to accurately describe the true value of the capital goods a business owns...

 in the value of its assets, the largest write-down by a UK housing association up to that date.

Places for People raised the social housing sector's first unsecured
Unsecured debt
In finance, unsecured debt refers to any type of debt or general obligation that is not collateralised by a lien on specific assets of the borrower in the case of a bankruptcy or liquidation or failure to meet the terms for repayment....

 UK bond in May 2011.


Places for People has won various awards, including the What House Award two years running for its Wolverton Park development in Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes , sometimes abbreviated MK, is a large town in Buckinghamshire, in the south east of England, about north-west of London. It is the administrative centre of the Borough of Milton Keynes...

 - in 2009 for Best Large Development, and 2010 for Best Brownfield Development. Wolverton Park was also named Best Large Development at the Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

New Homes Awards 2010.

Other awards include:
  • St Thomas' School, where a school has been rebuilt using the proceeds of 69 apartments built above it, was named the Best Partnership between a Developer and the Public Sector, at the Housebuilder Innovation Awards. The regeneration of Walker Riverside in Newcastle was highly commended in the Community Award category.
  • The regeneration of St Paul's Park in Bristol was awarded a Green Flag Award
    Green Flag Award
    The Green Flag Award is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom. The scheme was set up in 1996 to recognise and reward green spaces in England and Wales that met the laid down high standards...

    . The Green Flag Award is the national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales, and complements the Local Government Street Design Award which was won by the park in 2008.
  • Places for People's housing management degree course for employees, run by De Montfort University, won an Innovation Award in the ‘Best training/staff initiative’ category.
  • The Housing Corporation
    Housing Corporation
    The Housing Corporation was the non-departmental public body that funded new affordable housing and regulated housing associations in England. It was established by the Housing Act 1964...

    's 2008 Gold Award for Worklessness. This award recognises work to get people into jobs, training and employment as well as supporting new and existing businesses.
  • The Housing Corporation's 2007 Gold Award for Environmental Sustainability
    Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

  • Its development at Granton Waterfront
    Granton, Edinburgh
    Granton is a district in the north of Edinburgh, Scotland. Granton forms part of Edinburgh's waterfront along the Firth of Forth and is, historically, an industrial area having a large harbour. Granton is part of Edinburgh's large scale waterfront regeneration programme.-Name:Granton first appears...

     picked up both Best Residential Project and Best Regeneration Project at the Scottish Design Awards 2007.
  • Kush Housing Association, based in Hackney
    London Borough of Hackney
    The London Borough of Hackney is a London borough of North/North East London, and forms part of inner London. The local authority is Hackney London Borough Council....

     and providing housing to people who are primarily of black and minority ethnic origin, won Outstanding Community Project for Young People at the Black Housing Awards 2007 for its Akaba (steps to employment) project.


In September 2003, the group suffered a crisis in governance
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

, with a damaging row between board members and chief executive David Cowans over the latter's pay during a time of rapid growth. The group's regulator, the Housing Corporation
Housing Corporation
The Housing Corporation was the non-departmental public body that funded new affordable housing and regulated housing associations in England. It was established by the Housing Act 1964...

, placed it into supervision until July 2004, appointing additional board members and imposing other sanctions. Cowans is among the sector's highest-paid executives, and his pay attracted further media attention in 2005 after a backdated pension settlement.

In 2010 the high salaries of housing association executives drew criticism from the incoming government
Cameron Ministry
David Cameron is Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, after being invited by Queen Elizabeth II to form a new government after the resignation as Prime Minister of Gordon Brown on 11 May 2010. Leading a coalition government formed by the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, the coalition...

, in particular that the second highest paid executive at a housing association was the chief executive of Places for People, earning £297,000 per year.

External links

  • Places for People website
  • Latest inspection report by the Audit Commission
    Audit Commission
    The Audit Commission is a public corporation in the United Kingdom.The Commission’s primary objective is to improve economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local government, housing and the health service, directly through the audit and inspection process and also through value for money...

    , March 2010 (charitable subsidiary)
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