A charity passionate about enhancing the quality of life of people living and visiting Hendon and the East End of Sunderland.
Back on the Map is the charitable legacy body of the 2001-2011 New Deal for Communities (NDC) programme established to address severe social and economic problems in Hendon, Sunderland. Based on resident concerns, our post-NDC goals are to directly improve housing conditions and improve local people’s quality of life.
We work in the heart of the community to empower the people of Hendon to deliver Sustainable Homes and Community Action by creating;
A Stronger Community
An Influencing Role
Our story so far…
Large parts of Hendon in Sunderland (the Long Streets and Middle Hendon) suffer from a very high proportion of poorly managed private rented sector (PRS) accommodation, where landlords (often absent) let to un-vetted tenants who erode community stability, cause distress, significant anti-social behaviour/crime and upset the dynamics of entire streets.
Poor management has resulted in extreme anti-social behaviour (ASB), empty/abandoned properties, vandalism, fly tipping and crime. These issues, along with inadequate housing conditions such as overcrowding, poor energy efficiency and damp; all contribute directly to health inequalities of local people (mental/emotional and physical ill-health). Added to these pressures are a raft of financial struggles which directly limits resident choices for affordable accommodation, this includes factors such as high local unemployment, changes in the Welfare system, Universal Credit roll-out, access to affordable finance and high levels of debt.
Many residents move house frequently (escaping debt, harassment & looking for better accommodation,) leading to chaotic lifestyles, which compounds the churn/transience and destroys neighbourhood/community dynamics; this is exacerbated by Hendon’s close proximity to the City Centre.
Our strategy for making Hendon a ‘Better Place’ is to take ownership of and manage local housing and provide good quality homes where people can afford to stay and can put down roots. However, Hendon is in a vicious cycle; becoming less stable, poorer, less financially and socially resilient and more deprived. We want to build stability, reduce local transience and directly intervene in key areas where housing is dominated by the PRS and adversely affected by poor/absent landlord practice.
Back on the Map is committed to making Hendon and the East End a Better Place, improving the appearance of not only our own properties but entire streets through its award winning Transforming Hendon project; a major contract which ‘facelifted’ 550 homes in some of the worst-affected neighbourhoods.
Initially, Back on the Map purchased 62 houses in Hendon (between 2008-2011) and in 2011 we entered into a management agreement with local housing provider Gentoo. The agreement included property advertising, tenant vetting, property maintenance/repairs and rent collection and this partnership was beneficial in ensuring local housing standards were raised. In 2013 we brought the management in-house; a step geared toward proactive property and tenant management to achieve financial stability and establish Back on the Map as an exemplar private landlord. During this period we completed a programme of major property improvements, established robust housing management policies and procedures and reduced outgoings.
Since then, Back on the Map has bought and refurbished more empty and/or run-down local properties in order to improve the housing stock and provide good quality accommodation to local people and now has a portfolio of 82 homes, which will soon grow to 100. All properties are refurbished to a high standard, meeting and exceeding the Decent Homes Standards. These homes are then let responsibly to carefully vetted families. This creates better quality housing for residents, increase neighbourliness, reduces anti-social behaviour (ASB) and builds a sense of local control. In parallel to this, we champion community voices and work with residents, the Police and Council to develop neighbourhood action plans and resident campaigns to combat ASB, appeal against Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s), deal with graffiti, litter & fly-tipping. To date, we have been successful in dealing with some extreme cases of ASB, intimidation and harassment.
At the heart of the Hendon community, is Carnegie Community Corner, in early 2014 we transformed the former Branch Library into a multi-use community facility, which now provides a whole host of social, educational, cultural, employment, training and welfare support services. The centre is open every weekday and some evenings, and is used by over 900 individual residents each year. For many of the local residents, this daily support forms a lifeline; combating social isolation and mental health problems. Much of the Centre’s provision is paid for by short term grants and rental income from our rental portfolio; creating a virtuous cycle that is both effective and sustainable.
Our Strategic Objectives
Back on the Map works in the heart of the community to empower the people of Hendon to build;
Our Core Values
A little insight into what is important to us here at Back on the Map;