A delegation of housing professionals from Hong Kong visited Shefford as part of a fact-finding trip to find out more about housing in this country.
The six-person delegation from the Hong Kong Housing Department visited Robert Bloomfield Academy as part of their day with local housing provider, Grand Union Housing Group (GUHG), which owns and manages almost 12,000 homes across Bedfordshire and surrounding counties.
GUHG has a unique partnership with the Robert Bloomfield Academy and Shefford Town Council that sees the group’s award-winning youth and participation officer work alongside the school’s pastoral support manager to engage with pupils and young people from the area.
Aileen Evans, GUHG’s chief executive, said: “It was an honour for us to be able to show the delegation one of our partnerships that is making a real difference to the local area.
“We understand that a home is much more than bricks and mortar, which is why Grand Union’s aim is to ensure that we not only build more homes, but also stronger communities and better lives. This partnership is just one of the many we have across the region that we can truly say is doing just that.”
The mentoring programme, which is based at the school, has been running since February and aims to help some of the more at risk and vulnerable pupils in making the right choices. This all comes after Shefford has seen a rise in anti-social behaviour caused by young people over the past 18 months.
Danny Calmels, pastoral support manager at the academy, said: “It was a real pleasure hosting the meeting, to be able to talk about the school’s partnership with Grand Union and the fantastic and invaluable work that the youth workers have been doing in supporting our pupils and also the young people in Shefford and surrounding areas, through a number of community projects”.
The visit, organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), aimed to give the six delegates a better understanding of UK housing issues and best practice.
The delegates also visited Flowers House, a specialist dementia care scheme, next to the historic Bletchley Park.
This unique scheme, which is home to 34 people and offers secure round the clock care, allowed the delegates to find out more about providing care and support services to a diverse community.
The delegation then moved on to a café run by the Macintyre charity which supports young people and adults with learning disabilities.