Belong Network and Northern Housing Consortium – sharing expertise, improving impact and developing a shared voice for social cohesion

Belong – the Cohesion and Integration Network are delighted to announce we are joining forces with the Northern Housing Consortium to support more organisations in building positive social connections. The two organisations will have a reciprocal membership arrangement meaning we can collaborate and support one another’s members.

The Northern Housing Consortium represent local authorities, ALMOS and associations across the north of England providing social housing. Their members own or manage nine out of 10 of all socially-managed housing in the north of England, with membership and procurement services extending to more than 400 members nationally.

This partnership is extremely timely with the NHC recently releasing their ‘Pride in Place’ research which explores the views of residents on what contributes to feelings of pride in their local area and the mutually beneficial role this plays in building social cohesion and social capital.

Belong are ideally placed to support NHC and their members in a number of ways. Belong is able to share learning and good practice through our growing, member-led Communities of Practice, our  Shared Ground training on managing community relations, the Power of Connection toolkit which promotes cohesion through volunteering, and the policy and practice recommendations from major research project Beyond Us & Them looking at what influences cohesion and feelings of trust towards those in our community. Our consultancy work also has the potential to support NHC members to design, implement and evaluate social cohesion schemes as part of their social value programmes.

As reciprocal members, Belong and the NHC will work together across three main areas:

  1. Sharing best practice – increasing expertise, supporting leadership and providing learning opportunities together for social housing providers and Belong members through participation in training, events and co-design of resources.
  2. Research – with the NHC’s huge pool of members and their residents, and Belong’s expertise in designing large-scale, high-quality research we can produce influential data to build the evidence base on good practice in social cohesion in a social housing setting, and more widely at a community level.
  3. A shared Voice – by working together we can do more to ensure the collective voice of NHC and Belong Network members are heard by policy makers and funders.

Belong Network interim CEO Mike Waite said: “We’re delighted to announce this reciprocal membership agreement with the Northern Housing Consortium. 

“It provides a really significant opportunity to benefit both organisations and widens Belong’s work in supporting organisations that play a key role in promoting positive social connections and preventing community tensions.

“There is huge scope for us to collaborate on research and it also gives us a powerful platform to improve social cohesion outcomes and represent the voices and experiences of communities to policy makers and funders. 

“We would like to give a big welcome to NHC as new Belong Network members and look forward to meeting and working with their members going forward.” 

Tracy Harrison, Chief Executive of the Northern Housing Consortium said: “Entering into this timely reciprocal membership with Belong is central to the NHC’s work ensuring our members are acknowledged and valued as vital anchor institutions, not only providing decent affordable homes but supporting the social fabric of the places they serve.

“We look forward to working with Belong to bring their expertise on community cohesion and integration to the NHC membership; sharing learning and good practice, evidencing the important contribution the housing sector makes to this agenda, and speaking with a united voice.”

To find out more about NHC go to