Two years and going strong

A HOUSING group which helps thousands of Hartlepool people every year is celebrating its second anniversary - with a promise to invest another £95m.

The Vela Group, which consists of Housing Hartlepool and Tristar Homes in Stockton, has already ploughed more than £49m into replacement windows, kitchens and heating systems.

Bosses at Vela, which employs 700 people, say they have kept their promise to customers, helping to improve their lives, homes and neighbourhoods.

But their investment has not stopped there as they are planning an extra £95m to be invested in homes and communities over the next three financial years.

Vela chief executive Cath Purdy said: “We are fulfilling the promises we made at the time of Vela’s formation to the people who live in our 17,000 homes, as well as providing much needed new homes.

“The firm foundations that have been established will enable Vela to further strengthen its position as a provider of high quality homes and a driving force supporting financial and social inclusion and the regeneration of neighbourhoods.”

The work done so far has included external measures to houses in Hartlepool as well as replacement windows, kitchens and heating systems in Stockton.

Vela bosses say another priority is its new build programme which has already 319 houses constructed in a £28m investment included a Homes and Communities Agency grant support of nearly £11m.

But as well as housing and community schemes, Vela has provided a money advice service to nearly 1,800 people.

It has also run an Employability Service which has helped to put 123 customers into jobs and 119 into training since April 2011.

Vela has created more than 40 new apprenticeships within the organisation, and plans to help even more people by putting them into training on an empty homes refurbishment programme.