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BHA calculates social value of community programmes during pandemic

Berwickshire Housing Association is calculating the social value of its community programme during the Covid-19 pandemic and how it has used its funding from the Scottish Communities Fund

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Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) is working with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) to further develop an understanding of social value to measure impact locally. To support the sector to do this, SFHA has produced the Social Value Toolkit to enable member associations to increase their ability to understand, measure and demonstrate their impact. BHA trailed this method to help measure the impact of SCF funding in communities.

The Supporting Communities Fund (SCF) was established by the Scottish Government with an initial £20m investment to provide funding to community anchor organisations, such as charities, voluntary organisations, housing associations and social enterprises, to help support local responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The £78,2000 received enabled BHA to extend its 'Community Initiatives Programme', including supporting projects to switch to online, increase support to those shielding or self-isolating and new ways to encourage involvement during the pandemic. 

Among those who received funding were:

Hygge - The Hygge programme in Eyemouth became hygge@home to extend its activities online, focusing on wellbeing and mutual support. 

Allanbank Arts Creative Hub - Allanbank Arts created a network through social media platforms to support adults and young people who struggle with anxiety.

Abundant Borders - Abundant Borders encouraged people to grow food sustainably through new online training courses, workshops and supported learning in the network of community food gardens to address food insecurity. 

The Learning Space - The Learning Space developed more space outside for young people by extending their current garden area and creating a calm nature and nurture wildlife space.

Splash - During the pandemic, Splash worked in partnership with Eyemouth Response Team, East Berwickshire Food Bank, Eyemouth Rotary, Links Eyemouth and local businesses. Over 70 volunteers have helped provide food items, meals, shopping, support phone calls and delivery of prescriptions to people in isolation and those struggling with food poverty.

Berwickshire Swap - This BHA tenant led community enterprise project produced 50 emergency clothing parcels for children in the Berwickshire area on referral through BHA, health visitors, social workers, and local schools. 

Horse Time - Horse Time is a specialist trauma centre in Berwickshire that uses equine therapy, therapeutic groups, and individual interventions to bring about transformative change to people’s lives. With additional funding through BAVS, a range of group programmes were experienced by local people. 

Let’s Get Digital Berwickshire - The project team delivered this in partnership with several local organisations creating a successful digital lending library. A total of 50 devices with unlimited data SIMS have been purchased, and most are now out on loan for a maximum of six months.

BHA worked closely with BAVS to support community groups to deliver their activities across Berwickshire. The creative use of Supporting Communities Funding and the overall impact of these activities demonstrated the value of investing in communities to support people during this pandemic stage. The total social value evidenced through these outcomes is calculated as a net benefit to the local community of £249,723, which provides a ratio of higher than 1:3 of impact of every pound spent.

BHA’s Community Initiatives Manager, Dougie Paterson said: “The achievements of the groups we have helped support had is encouraging, we know it is impossible to adequately calculate the true value of the commitment, talent, and creativity of these projects in supporting so many people over the last year.

“We want to build on this for the future and develop permanent networks that support community wellbeing and help mitigate the challenges we face as we recover from Covid-19. BHA is delighted to be working with so many like-minded partners who share that ambition.’  

BAVS Executive Officer Juliana Amaral added: “One positive side effect of the current COVID-19 crisis has been the response we have seen from communities and third sector organisations offering assistance and support across the Borders. BHA’s Community initiatives Programme was fundamental during such a difficult time, acting with the agility required based on strong grass-roots community relationships.

“Moving forward, BAVS plan is to continue our joint work with BHA as we plan the way out of the crisis, with a stronger focus on delivering social value locally and ensuring that our partnership means our resources are maximised so we can continue to create a genuinely positive impact across Berwickshire.”

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