At Legal & General Homes, it is our major objective to create long-lasting, inclusive communities that thrive and benefit surrounding areas. For us, this means delivering more than bricks and mortar – going above and beyond what you would expect of any responsible housebuilder.
A year ago, we sat down with the people of Crowthorne and the wider area to develop the UK’s first Community Social Value Charter, which sets out how we will make a positive impact to the community physically, economically, environmentally and socially. We met with local businesses, faith groups, traders, and parish councils and surveyed over 430 private residents to really understand what the biggest opportunities and priorities were for the village.
So what did the community ask for, and how are we delivering a development which will address real needs and make a meaningful contribution to residents’ lives?
The community asked us to:
- Be environmentally friendly
In response, we are reducing waste by reusing materials already on site; we are replanting 20,000 trees, and we are opening up half the land to become public, open space that is designed to enrich the biodiversity of the site and encourage wildlife. Already we have saved 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions and reduced the waste sent to landfill by nearly 90 tonnes.
- Enhance the high street
We are establishing regular littler picking sessions – you may have spotted us in our yellow hi-vis vests in and around Crowthorne – just some of the 103 voluntary hours we have dedicated to the local community. This year, we are also installing new Christmas lights in the town and are promoting local businesses, charities and organisations to our new buyers. Many of these organisations were on hand at our launch weekend, giving prospective residents a flavour of what Crowthorne life is like.
- Create jobs and opportunities for local people of all ages
To date, we have employed 49 people from the local area including six who were neither in education, employment or training and two long-term unemployed people. We’ve spent time in local schools, giving pupils of all ages and abilities a step-by-step guide to the world of personal finance, helping to grow their knowledge and confidence in managing money for the present and the future.
- Improve local facilities
We know how important it is for people to have places to come together. Buckler’s Park has therefore been designed to incorporate many community spaces, including allotments, a community hub and a new park. We are hosting summer events and fun runs to help businesses and local people get to know each other, and earlier in the summer we rolled up our sleeves and helped refurbish five classrooms, the corridors and common room at Edgbarrow School.
This is just a flavour of what we’re doing, and we understand that every journey starts with a single step. We want to continue hearing from the community about how we can really benefit local residents, businesses and the wider area – if you have something to say, please do get in touch on email@example.com.
By John Allan, Managing Director of Legal & General Homes