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					                                   Some Facts and Figures

Optima Community Association is a community driven housing association. We
own five Birmingham housing estates: Benmore, Cleveland and Clydesdale
Towers, Five Ways, Lee Bank and Woodview. These are now known collectively
as Attwood Green. Sitting at a major gateway to the city centre core this area
was originally back to back houses, demolished for high rise and maisonette
development in the 1960s and 1970s. With a third round of redevelopment now
well underway, Optima hopes to provide a sustainable and vibrant mixed-use
community with a long-term future.

In 1996 residents took matters into their own hands when they felt that their
concerns about deteriorating housing stock weren’t being acted on. Staging sit-
ins and roof top protests they ensured that their stories were brought to a
national audience. City officials sat down with residents to work out a plan for the
future of this area, examining how to bring in real economic and social
investment. In 1998 residents voted with a clear majority (62.1%) to transfer
stock to an independent, charitable social landlord.

Optima Community Association was set up with charitable status in June 1999 to
receive those 2,800 homes in a stock transfer from Birmingham City Council. The
transfer brought in money from the central government Estates Renewal
Challenge Fund of just over £50 million (the largest ERCF grant). We also have a
£66 million loan facility from the Nationwide Building Society.

Optima is wholly committed to community-led regeneration – of 15 Directors on
the Board, 7 are tenants. With residents we developed a major redevelopment
programme to take place over a 10 year plus timetable. Over 1500 homes have
been improved, 1350 unsatisfactory homes demolished and 693 new homes for
rent and shared ownership will be built. In addition a substantial number of new
homes for sale will be built within the Attwood Green area.

Demand for housing in the Attwood Green area was very low when Optima took
over. We have demolished unpopular or unsatisfactory tower blocks and
maisonettes, and in their place are building new low-rise homes.

Many families from the clearance areas have been involved in the planning and
design process and have returned to brand new homes with gardens. To ensure
we build a mixed, sustainable community Attwood Green will have homes for
rent, to buy and for shared ownership.

Optima has refurbished almost 1500 homes. This includes external cladding for
insulation, new windows, rewiring, and improvement of communal areas and
grounds. Residents have been especially impressed with the quality and choice

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of new kitchens being fitted. They were also closely involved in the selection of
contractors and Optima has won national recognition for its partnering work.

Improvements to cleaning and maintenance services began from day one of
transfer – in 2001 this work won a regional award for the innovative way our
estate services contract is structured and the way the service is delivered
through genuine partnership with a local contractor, Sheldons. Residents groups
have also been closely involved in planning and monitoring security and
concierge services.

We realise that communities aren’t just about houses; they’re about people. The
real measure of our success will be when residents play a full role in the social
and economic life of their estates and their city. With a range of organisations we
have developed comprehensive social and economic programmes which provide
a range of choices and opportunities for local people.

Optima’s regeneration team have been successful in obtaining monies from
major funding bodies to develop projects such as: community wardens, health
and education initiatives and training and employment partnerships. Our
regeneration programme successes were highlighted when Optima won the UK
Housing Award for Good Practice in Creating Sustainable Communities in
November 2002.

In 2000 Optima won the national Communications in Housing award for the
public information campaign that accompanied the re- branding of our estates
into a new neighbourhood called ‘Attwood Green’.

In 2001 we joined forces with Birmingham City Council and developer Crest
Nicholson plc to unveil Europe’s biggest urban renaissance project. Land has
been sold for redevelopment and many major improvements in roads, parks,
lighting etc have been completed.

In 2005 Optima won the Deputy Prime Minister’s Award for Sustainable

In 2008, working with the City Council, Optima won the National Housing
Federation’s Greener Neighbourhood Award.

In 2009 Optima won Housing Association of the Year at the Regeneration and
Renewal Awards.

Optima is proud to be at the forefront of Birmingham’s urban renaissance. Our
aim is to transform the lives of residents with a sustainable, socially inclusive and
above all community-led development.

Our mission statement sums up Optima: ‘Working with residents to excel at
creating and sustaining communities where people want to live’.

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For further information please check out our website – www.optima.org.uk

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