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An Englishman’s Home is His Castle

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows that UK house prices have increased just 0.6% in the past year – no doubt a reflection about the uncertainty created by Brexit, a slowdown in the buy to let market and the challenge of getting a mortgage anyhow. Even so, it means the average cost of a house in the UK is now £226,00 with hotspots like London obviously much, much more expensive despite a 3.8% price reduction. Give or take, you’re going to need a cool £1.2 million just to buy an average house in a borough like Kensington and Chelsea.

So, if you’re a first time buyer or a key worker like a teacher, nurse or police officer, forget it – getting in on property ownership is just unrealistic. It is a classic schoolboy economics – demand outstrips supply. That drives up prices exacerbated by the fact that – as a nation – we’re simply not building enough of the right type of housing. Developers are whacking up luxury accommodation to maximize profits and cater for foreign demand rather providing what is really needed and that is affordable housing for local people.

Little wonder then that housing associations have become so important. Many have taken over the running of local authority properties as well as managing new shared ownership schemes. This is where key workers buy a stake in a flat – say 25% – and an association owns the rest. The purchaser then pays three bills – a mortgage for their percentage, rent to the housing association for the remainder as well as a service charge. The idea is to get more people into their owned homes rather than renting. Needless to say housing associations have become super important.

IGEL is working with a huge number of social housing providers throughout the country delivering cost effective endpoint solutions for their staff. Cost is important.  The raison d’etre of a housing association is to focus funds on building and managing housing not blowing budgets unnecessarily on IT.  Projects cover a range of well-known organizations from London to Scotland:

  1. With around 18,000 homes under its management, Lewisham Homes in London purchased IGEL UD3 terminals as they are optimized for voice and video and support the use of IP telephony and video-based training over the desktop. IGEL’s Universal Desktop Convertor (UDC) software has also been installed to convert existing x86-based Intel devices into universally deployable IGEL Linux-based thin clients.  This saves budget as the life span of existing desktops can be significantly extended.
  2. Community Gateway Association (CGA), who mange 6,500 properties in the North West of England, has upgraded its whole desktop environment for over 200 staff and also installed UD3 terminals at its new HQ in Preston.
  3. Hillcrest turned to IGEL for an easy to manage, affordable, reliable and multimedia-ready solution for 800 staff across its 50 sites in Scotland. Hillcrest Housing Association is one of Scotland’s largest providers of social housing with over 6,000 quality properties in Dundee, Edinburgh, Angus, Perthshire and Fife.
  4. Bernicia Group – which owns 14,000 houses in the North East of England – has also used UDC to turn ageing PCs and thin clients it inherited as part of a merger into IGEL endpoints and bring them together under one management system, our UMS.

To watch a short 3 minute film about the project, please click here.

Simon Richards

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