Published: Friday, 15 September 2023

"OX Place is all about making a life-changing difference to people in Oxford by providing beautiful, affordable and low-carbon homes. But our work doesn’t stop there. We are also committed to building communities and therefore supporting social value on our projects and giving back to the local community in Oxford.

"Through our role as a housing company, we work closely with developers to create work and training opportunities for local people, delivering apprenticeships, work experience, careers advice and employment support.

"One of the clearest examples of this in action is our work with Willmott Dixon at Bridges Cross - probably best known to current Oxford residents as the site of former homeless hostel Lucy Faithfull House.

"Once complete, the 36 flats at Bridges Cross will provide 15 council homes let at social rent, three council homes at affordable rent and eight homes sold on a shared ownership basis, with the remaining 10 flats for market sale.

"At Bridges Cross we have provided work experience for 28 people with an OX postcode, helping 15 of them into employment through the Building Lives Academy.

"The Building Lives Academy involves a range of organisations and aims to create opportunities for people who may have been out of work for a while, providing them with entry-level qualifications and work experience to undertake a career in construction.

"As part of the training, members of the Building Lives Academy receive a certificate in basic construction skills from the National Open College Network, a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card and health and safety certificate, as well as a Traffic Marshall Awareness Certificate and Card, and on-site experience.  

"Our hope is that by the end of the course, members of the academy feel confident to go forward and gain secure employment in construction. So far we have seen four cohorts take part in the Building Lives Academy as part of the Bridges Cross development.

"Work at Bridges Cross is expected to be completed later this year. It is extremely rewarding to know that we will not only be providing new homes for Oxford residents, but also assisting in their future careers and contributing to the development of the construction industry.

"You can find out more about our social value work in our 2023 annual report."

Rob Jeffs, Community Engagement Manager at OX Place

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