Neighbourhoods Together: About College Bank

Homes

College Bank is comprised of 7 high rise blocks of flats in Rochdale town centre. There are 750 flats in total of which 715 are owned by RBH.  Each block is  a mixture of bedsits and either one or two bedroomed flats.

People

College Bank has a significantly higher proportion of young tenants than RBH average, plus a higher number of more mature households. College Bank broadly reflects the RBH average in terms of ethnic background of residents.  Reflecting the high rise homes College Bank does not provide homes for families with young children.

For people of working age the proportion of people on out of work benefits is significantly higher than the average across Rochdale.

Access, transport and facilities

College Bank is located in Rochdale town centre, and as such is within walking distance of, and on a bus route to, all town centre amenities such as shops, cafes and bus and tram links (to places such  as Manchester, Middleton, Heywood and Bury). The neighbourhood is located next to Hopwood Hall College offering a range of further education opportunities. College Bank is also located approximately 15 – 20 minutes walk from Rochdale Railway Station, where services run to Manchester and Leeds. However access to all these services is through crossing the Rochdale inner ring road and crossing points and access in to town are recognised to be difficult and poor quality..

College Bank has an active Community Group, and the Community Base there hosts:

  • Regular advice and support sessions
  • IT Digital Hub
  • Social meeting room

Looking at the future of College Bank

A major piece of work is underway to look at future options for College Bank.  This is to ensure that the neighbourhood provides good quality homes and supports a good quality of life for current and future generations which helps support a confident and thriving Rochdale Town Centre.  We recognise that it can be difficult to think about long term change but we are being open and honest in talking with the community at a very early stage, before any plans are drawn up.  We think that by engaging with the people who live and work in the neighbourhood at this early stage we will make better decisions and better plans.  However, while this work is underway, and whichever plans are developed further we will continue to carry out work in the neighbourhood; letting homes, repairing homes, community activity and support.

College Bank In Depth

Home & environment

Surveys report that customer satisfaction with the home is relatively good. However satisfaction with neighbourhood appearance on College Bank is slightly less positive.

So Far

  • A number of properties on College Bank  benefitted from kitchen and/or bathroom replacement work in 2016/17, and electrical upgrades in 2016/17. A painting programme was undertaken 2016/17
  • A lift upgrade programme was undertaken in 2014/15
  • RBH provides a dedicated concierge service

Future Action

  • RBH is currently working with Greater Manchester and national government to secure investment for physical change in College Bank.
  • RBH is working closely with local people to  review options for the long term future of College Bank.  This includes extensive engagement with the community on what their aspirations are for better homes and better quality of life as well as thinking about who will live in these homes in future.  Options being considered include repair and review (a do minimum option to be reviewed again in three years), refresh (an option to carry out some refurbishment and different uses for the concourse and garages) and a rethink option (looking at enhanced investment to clad blocks and change the type of homes within them and potentially some demolition and new build) As part of the master planning work RBH is working with Rochdale Council to explore physical change to land, facilities and road layouts surrounding College Bank
  • RBH is also working with the RSA to look at how people living in College Bank who are looking for employment or progressing their career can be better supported.

For more information and to have your say visit our dedicated webpage: College Bank and Lower Falinge

  • RBH is investigating improvement options to the foyer doors to reduce the incidence of forced access to the foyer areas

Community

College Bank and the surrounding areas have a  relatively high crime rate. However, the higher incidence of crime may be related to the nearby town centre areas. Levels of reporting of anti social behaviour are relatively high, although there have been reductions in reporting compared to previous years. Local surveys indicate that people find College Bank a friendly place to live, and that people feel they have opportunities to participate

So far

  • RBH is working in partnership with Police, Rochdale Council and support agencies to reduce and resolve anti social behaviour including taking enforcement action where appropriate
  • RBH is working with our local members, community groups and partners to deliver community activities for all age groups.
  • RBH will continue to offer members options to participate in the decisions RBH makes

Future Action

  • RBH will develop further work with Police and our CCTV to tackle issues incidents of anti social behaviour
  • RBH will continue work to limit unauthorised access to the foyers, lifts and landings
  • Working with partners RBH will seek to ensure people feel more secure in their homes
  • Working with local tenant members RBH will investigate new ways that our members can get involved in RBH Mutual

Well being

Information from College Bank indicates  that people feel some dissatisfaction with their health and well being. The neighbourhood benefits from being close to town centre services, RBH  St Albans premises and a community base, but does not show a high level of satisfaction with services provided

We recognise that thinking about changes to homes and neighbourhoods can also be stressful for people living in them.  Some people have told us at the consultation events that they are very worried about the process and the uncertainty and we will look at how we support people living in College Bank through any process of change.

So far

  • RBH has provided intensive support to our tenants requiring additional support either through our Better Living Team or partner support agencies
  • RBH has funded community projects aimed at healthy lifestyles and reducing isolation

Future Action

  • RBH is working alongside the Council, and health agencies to provide one to one support for households who are experiencing difficulties coping and accessing support
  • RBH is working in partnership with MIND to improve access to local counselling and support services
  • The RBH Community Fund will seek to fund community organisations to deliver activities which improve well being and reduce feelings of isolation.

Money

College Bank is a neighbourhood with relatively high benefit dependency. As such, welfare benefit changes and the roll out of Universal Credit continues to affect people living in College Bank. There are a higher number of people on health related welfare benefits across the neighbourhood, who may need a high level of support to access the work market. Levels of households reporting insufficient income to meet essential expenditure may show a need for support around budget and money management and well as improving access to quality employment and skills training

So Far

  • RBH Rent & Payments Team have been assisting households to apply for Discretionary Hardship Payments where appropriate
  • RBH has contacted and supported households affected by the Welfare Benefits cap
  • RBH specialist debt team has assisted households in managing and reducing debt
  • RBH has worked with partners to promote work and skills opportunities locally
  • RBH has funded a work club providing weekly job search facilities
  • RBH is working to get additional investment from Greater Manchester to support people to access improved work opportunities and support

Further Action

  • RBH will continue with local outreach campaigns to contact those households needing money advice
  • RBH will work with new employment and skills programmes such as Working Well and Motiv8 to improve people’s access to work and skills support.
  • RBH will offer a one to one mentoring support to tenant members who are looking to improve employment opportunities
  • RBH will continue to work to look at investment options to support people into work

Decide Together: College Bank

Decide Together can offer funding to any RBH member who has an idea for an activity which addresses a priority or action within a Neighbourhoods Together area.

College Bank Priorities

  • Foyer and landings security
  • Health & well being
  • Reducing isolation
  • Money management & debt
  • Employment & skills

How does it work

  • Complete and submit a Decide Together Form with your idea
  • Your idea will then be placed on the website
  • All RBH tenant members in the 16 neighbourhoods will be invited to vote online for projects in their neighbourhood
  • Projects that receive the most member votes receive the funding to try out their idea
  • Members need to vote for the projects they want to see happen.

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