Arawak Walton Housing Association

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Arawak Walton Housing Association's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Arawak Walton Housing Association is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Director Cym D’Souza
Community cohesion works
Arawak Walton Housing Association was founded
through the merger of two BAME specialist support
associations in 1994. Working across Manchester,
Trafford and Stockport – specifically the more deprived urban
sections of those areas – the association provides close to 1,100
homes, which it owns and manages. Cym D’Souza, CEO, joined
the organisation in 1997 and tells
The Parliamentary Review
how Arawak Walton has evolved in the past 22 years.
Moss Side, Ardwick, Cheetham Hill, Gorton and Moston – these are the kinds of
areas we cover across Manchester, Trafford and Stockport. The 1,100 homes we
own and manage are a mix of new-build and existing stock.
Our remaining work comes in the form of sheltered housing for tenants over 55.
We work across four schemes and operate 155 homes, all in Manchester. Service
users there receive additional support and care from scheme managers.
Arawak and Walton – a history
After riots across the UK in the mid-1980s, the BAME communities in cities like
Manchester were aggrieved on a number of fronts. Chief among these were a lack
of quality housing and employment opportunities.
At the time, the Housing Corporation put together a policy which encouraged
communities to take responsibility and provide appropriate housing through grant
funding. This continued into the late 1990s, until Westminster decided it needed
»Director: Cym D’Souza
»Established in 1994 following
the merger of Arawak and
Walton housing associations
»Based in Manchester
»Services: Social housing for
»No. of employees: 34 full and
»Arawak Walton specialises in
inner-city regeneration activity
Arawak Walton
Housing Association
Highlighting best practice
to focus on equality and diversity by
ensuring mainstream organisations
across the country were delivering to
that effect.
As a result of that, a number of BAME
housing associations merged back
into the mainstream to operate more
closely with mainstream providers.
However, although Arawak and
Walton chose to merge, we wanted to
take a different route and maintain our
independence to ensure we could keep
delivering to our local base across just
a two or three-mile radius.
The bigger picture – today
Today, Arawak Walton continues to
house BAME people as well as the
indigenous community as part of its
mission to promote social cohesion.
Our work extends to providing good-
quality housing and facilitating that
work in multicultural and sustainable
neighbourhoods. We try to foster
social cohesion and harmony to create
attractive places where people can be
proud to live, and we work with larger
providers to ensure the impact of our
work spans across all of Manchester.
Around the time that Homes England
did start to look at mainstreaming
diversity in housing associations,
we were moving out of the grant
funding regime and finding it
increasingly difficult to grow as a
result. Fortunately, our local authority
partners recognised this and facilitated
our access to a number of stock
transfer opportunities. This manifested
as mainstream providers rationalised
their stock, enabling stock transfers
Through these methods and a variety
of other government-supported
initiatives, we have continued to grow
to this day. That’s how we’ve managed
to secure 1,100 properties.
While this has been beneficial overall,
it is not always easy. We aren’t always
in full control of the housing stock
offered to us, and that stock isn’t
always of the best quality. Sometimes
properties have not been refurbished
by the owning organisation, and often
we find stock we are offered requires
a significant amount of investment.
The current funding regime concerns
new provision, not existing provision –
which can be a real difficulty.
Addressing the needs of
young, single people
Our work
extends to
housing and
facilitating that
work in
and sustainable
Investment and awareness
A major challenge for us, as with any
housing association, presents itself in
funding. How do we fund the work
A key role we play means that we
raise issues on a political platform,
make appropriate connections
within government and represent a
multicultural group of people; funding
is so important. It isn’t just about
keeping housing stock liveable and
making sure it ticks over – our role is
far more than that.
Funding reinvestment and
refurbishment work on a larger
scale is not easy. As a relatively small
organisation, we can’t take this
work on alone. We have to look to
policymakers for funding – as such,
we host a variety of delegations, both
European and global, to focus on
the work we’re doing in inner-city
areas such as Manchester, Trafford
All of this serves one central aim –
bringing inner-city regeneration onto
the government agenda. Awareness
and perception of these issues could
always be higher. This, however,
comes with its own issue – how do
you ensure that reinvestment and
regeneration do not manifest as
gentrification? We have an obligation
to make sure that local people can
afford the properties we invest in, but
we also need to make sure they are
of suitable quality. It’s a fine balance
Solving the housing crisis
Solving our housing crisis is essential to
our future, not just as an organisation,
not just as a sector, but as a country.
While so many people opt to develop
new properties as a first response
to the issue, that can’t be the only
answer. We also have to look at what’s
on the ground – in Greater Manchester
alone, there are one million properties.
A great deal of those are empty,
and a great deal more aren’t in
Surely the first step to solving a
housing crisis will be reinvesting in
existing properties to provide people
with attractive, secure places to live?
Jointly we should focus on increasing
capacity by building more houses –
and making sure they are affordable.
We already have housing available
that can meet the needs of so many
people – the quality is the only thing
that islacking.
Whichever route the government opts
for when it comes to the housing crisis,
one thing is certain: investment and
co-operation cannot be ignored as
viable routes for urban regeneration.
The future for Arawak Walton and
hopefully for our country will be
recognising existing housing stock as
an asset, and working appropriately
with that.
work on a
larger scale is
not easy
Evelyn and Cym with IIP
Gold award, recognising
our commitment to our

This article was sponsored by Arawak Walton Housing Association. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development