Delivering Social Value for Sale West
With a strong focus on communities and the environment, we embed social value throughout our operations. It’s a core part of our business strategy and B Corp accreditation to drive positive outcomes for clients, communities and our team. We work collaboratively with project partners and stakeholders to achieve this.
Our commitment to social value is no more apparent than at our Sale West commission for Irwell Valley Homes (IVH). The £50m masterplan includes 263 new homes; enhancing the estate with a focus on green spaces and biodiversity; and driving up the quality of 1,100 existing homes. Working collaboratively with IVH, the design team, key stakeholders and contractor Seddon, we are nearing completion on Phase 1 and together have delivered a range of initiatives to engage with the community, invest in the area and enhance the estate. We look at these in more detail below.
The project began with inclusive and innovative community engagement. AEW were at the forefront of leading public events, focus groups, door-to-door interviews and QR coded signs linking to 3D proposals to present and consult on proposals. These consultation methods allowed us to better engage with hard-to-reach groups and ensured the plans considered the whole community’s views and feedback.
Employment & Training Opportunities
One of our major investments in Sale West project has been our three year “adoption” of the local secondary school, Ashton on Mersey School under the ‘Class Of your Own’ (COYO) programme. We are using COYO’s ‘Design Engineer Construct!’ training initiative to inspire local children to discover unique pathways into the construction industry. We have established a monthly structured lesson, an after-school architecture club, led site visits across the estate and hosted several candidates in our office for work experience.
The new homes are sustainable and are fitted with green features including electric heating, water saving technology and electric vehicle charging points. We’ve also supported and presented at the Our Sale West Schools Climate Crisis Conference where we joined students from six local schools and Trafford College to undertake a climate march and participated in sustainability workshops. The estate is also benefiting from the planting of 270 new trees as well as the installation of a nature trail with bird boxes, swift bricks, and hedgehog highways to attract wildlife and improve biodiversity. We had several of our team volunteer to plant spring bulbs across the estate in September 2023.
The new and existing homes for social rent are on average 41% cheaper than the market rate – providing affordable yet high quality homes for local people and those on the housing waiting list. At AEW we donated over 20+ decommissioned laptops to support the creation of Our Sale West IT Club to help combat digital exclusion and improve access to online banking, jobs boards and benefits support for local people. IVH have also provided a diverse range of support for Sale West residents, including funded Citizens Advice sessions on maximising income and dealing with debt. Last year, this unlocked £100,000 of extra income for residents.
We’re proud of our work at Sale West and were delighted to see the project secure ‘Regeneration of the Year’ at the Northern Housing Awards 2023 and be shortlisted for the ‘Neighbourhood Transformation Award’ at the Affordable Housing Awards. It is also a finalist in the ‘Social Impact’ category at the Insider NW Residential Property Awards with winners announced on the 25th January 2024.
Despite the accolades, there’s more we can do. We are now taking the lessons learnt at Sale West and applying them to ensure we’re meeting our commitment to put communities, clients and the environment first on all our projects.