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A HOUSING group is urging Hartlepool’s businesses to put themselves in the running for its lucrative jobs-boosting contracts.

The Vela Group spends millions of pounds a year on goods and services.

Now it is offering “significant opportunities” to small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) by revamping the way it manages its tenders.

Vela is the name of the organisation which covers Housing Hartlepool and Tristar Homes, in Stockton.

It manages more than 17,000 affordable houses as well as other services.

Its aim is to improve the lives of residents, regenerate communities and invest in homes for the future.

But Vela Group is also keen on supporting as wide a range of contractors as possible.

To do that, it is making the tendering processes easier for SMEs to bid for work.

Bosses will explain more at an open day next month at Wynyard Park, in Wynyard.

Instead of having its own approved contractor lists, Vela will use Constructionline, the Government’s database of assessed contractors and consultants.

Vela Gourp chief executive Cath Purdy said: “Vela’s considerable investment portfolio not only improves homes and the surrounding environment, but also provides a substantial boost to the area’s economy.

“Both Housing Hartlepool and Tristar Homes spend tens of millions of pounds a year on goods and services and cascading opportunities down the supply chain has the potential to create and safeguard jobs within the region.

“By engaging Constructionline, Vela will be able to target smaller contracts at local SMEs, which are best placed to deliver lower value projects.

“This in turn will contribute to area’s economic well-being and the local regeneration agenda. Overall, this is a great opportunity for SMEs.”

In 2011-12, nearly £2m of construction- related work not already under contract, was put out to tender by Vela.

This included gas repairs and servicing, electrical, scaffolding, groundwork, painting, building, plumbing and floor covering.

The open day takes place on Thursday, May 17 from 9.30am to 1pm and one delegate per organisation can attend.

Those interested should register on www.velagroup.co.uk/Constructionline