The TG Social steering group had a fantastic first meeting at the beginning of July via MS Teams. TG Leader John Stevens, of Clarion Housing Group, UK, led and moderated the meeting, with a brief background introduction from Joost Nieuwenhuijzen, Managing Director of EFL about the topic group and its current interests – integration of migrants and measuring social returns.
Alessandro Cesale from Eurohnet’s Social Integration Topic Group talked about their recent co-operative work with EFL on refugee housing and integration. They looked at the positive impact of sports and volunteering as a means to integrate. Natalie Jones, Head of New Initiatives for Accord Housing, covered key points about the impact of COVID on the housing sector, noting that it has been challenging to respond to the issues the crisis provoked and that strong community links and volunteering networks have been critical here. The group agreed to share responses to the pandemic on the EFL MS Teams platform and to reach out to journalists to get them to cover these stories.
Kathy Ellis spoke about the Social Index and John then led a group discussion on potential new topics. There was strong agreement to explore the topic of digital inclusion – both of residents, particularly the elderly and unskilled workers, and front-line staff. Joost then told the group about an EFL project seeking funding, focusing on support tools for the elderly and other vulnerable residents. The group finished by agreeing to meet again via webinar in a couple of months. Altogether, it was a very successful meeting!