Measuring the Fabrick of life
Fabrick Housing Group has been working with Teesside University to look at how the housing provider and developer engages with the community.
Teesside University academic Peter van der Graaf with Stephanie Mulrine and Stephen Bray, of Fabrick.
Having already implemented a wide range of social projects and initiatives, Fabrick wanted to measure and evaluate the impact of this social investment and identify which programmes produce the greatest social return for residents' quality of life.
A toolkit has been developed in partnership with Teesside University, through a short Knowledge Transfer Partnership (sKTP), to measure the value of these social investment activities and help Fabrick develop its social investment strategy.
A KTP is a business-University partnership, aimed at improving productivity and performance through a strategic project. The company gets access to academic skills and expertise, along with a graduate recruited specially to work on the project.
Stephanie Mulrine, 26, from Norton, is currently working at Fabrick as the sKTP associate, with academic support from Peter Van Der Graaf, Research Fellow, of Teesside University’s Social Futures Institute.
Sociology graduate Stephanie said: 'I saw the opportunity advertised after completing a master’s in sociology and social research. There was some crossover in the research work I’d done for my master’s and I’m really interested in social exclusion and corporate social responsibility.
'It can be difficult to show the effect of social investment work and the impact it has on the local community and I felt the brief, to measure the social value of this work, would be a challenging and substantial project.
'I’m currently at the halfway point and the work has been really interesting. It’s great to be working with such a large housing provider and employer and also to have academic support from the University.'
Stephanie added: 'Parent company Fabrick and its partner companies Erimus Housing and Tees Valley Housing do a lot of work which many people may not be aware of, such as bespoke financial advice for residents and business incubation premises to creating nature parks from wasteland. The group also offers community investment; everything from work with the elderly to community cookery classes.
'The landlords in the group really know their residents and it’s been a privilege to see all this in action, along with the positive impact the work has.'
Stephanie, who aims to continue her studies with a PhD at Teesside University, looking at social stratification, said: 'The project has been brilliant, it’s helped me to develop my research skills and confidence while gaining a broad range of experience, from presenting to directors to hearing members of a pensioners’ group discuss their memories of growing up.'
Teesside University academic Peter van der Graaf, said: 'Through the sKTP we developed bespoke evaluation methodology to measure the impact of the housing association’s social investment strategy. Teesside University and Fabrick are leading the way in demonstrating to residents and key stakeholders the value added to local communities by investing in the social fabric of housing estates.'
Stephen Bray, of Fabrick Housing Group, which owns and manages around 15,000 homes across the North East and Yorkshire, said: 'For us, the sKTP has been about getting expert support to help us establish a way of better measuring and understanding the value, and the difference we make to our resident’s quality of life, through our social investment work and using that measurement framework and understanding to help us do more to create opportunities for people and places to thrive.
'There is a plethora of techniques available for measuring this type of activity, but what Stephanie has helped us to do is reflect upon which of those techniques work best for us, helping us determine the best methodology to use to move forward.'
03 August 2012
In the News
KTP gives insight into Fabrick role
Evening Gazette, 14/08/2012, p.2
Fabrick Housing Group has been working with Teesside University to look at how the housing provider and developer engages with the community. Having already implemented a wide range of social projects and initiatives, Fabrick wanted to measure and evaluate the impact of this social investment and identify which programmes produce the greatest social return for residents' quality of life.