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Network Homes announces plans to merge with Sovereign

13 March 2023

The boards of Network Homes and Sovereign have approved proposals to merge and become a new housing association. The target date for the completion of the merger is October 2023.

The vision for the new organisation, which will be known as Sovereign Network, is to provide current and future residents with more, better quality homes in thriving communities and offer sector-leading services.

As one organisation we’ll have over 82,000 homes, serving over 210,000 residents across the South of England and in London. And our combined financial strength will mean we can do more for our residents.

This will give us the ability to deliver a greater number of good quality affordable homes for people who need them - up to 25,000 over the next decade and almost 4,000 more than we could alone. It will also help us address the issues of ageing homes and sustainability through retrofit and regeneration and provide excellent services – all for our current and future residents.

We’ll also be able to do more for the communities we work in and establish a dedicated community foundation, with the aim of investing £100m in the next 10 years.

Residents will get chance to take part in a consultation over the summer and express their views on our proposals to merge. In the meantime, there will be no service disruption to anyone living in our homes and the way in which residents should request repairs or queries has not changed.

Why are we planning to merge?

Housing associations are facing a challenging economic outlook with rising costs affecting our supply chains and our rents capped by the Government. At the same time, social housing tenants face high energy and food bills and there is chronic shortage of affordable homes. Together Network Homes and Sovereign will be well-placed to weather the economic storms and to continue to provide a greater number of safe, secure and affordable homes for as many people as possible, along with sector-leading services.

Helen Evans, Network Homes CEO:

“This is the right time for this merger, and the right merger for both Network Homes and Sovereign. Together our size and resilience as an organisation will increase our ability to invest and to build new, affordable homes.

“Our plans for a new Community Foundation, spending £100m over the next ten years will ringfence our commitment to create places and communities where people can take control and improve their lives. And our people will also benefit, with new opportunities for learning and development.

“This is an important new chapter for Network Homes and I know that it will deliver benefits to residents, our people and help us to better fulfil our mission to provide safe, secure and affordable homes for as many people as possible.”

Mark Washer, Sovereign CEO:

“This is a really exciting opportunity for Sovereign and Network. Together we will be better able to build more new homes and increase investment in the homes we own. As we merge we will learn from one another, bringing the best of each organisation and enabling us to deliver more for our customers. We’ll be an organisation with over 80,000 homes and a strong financial profile. Bringing

our two businesses together will make us more resilient which will help us face some of the headwinds and challenges that are with us now, and that are coming down the track, with renewed strength.

We expect our development programme will be one of the three largest in the country – we aim to build 4,000 more homes over the next 10 years than we each would have built separately, 25,000 new homes in total.

“Over the last few months, as I’ve got to know Helen and her team, I can see this is really good fit – two organisations which are passionate about delivering sector-leading services in thriving communities. As organisations we really complement each other and I’m especially excited to be involved in some of Network’s really innovative regeneration schemes.”

Read the full press release here

Find out more about our proposed merger with Sovereign

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