The Chair and Chief Executive of Bradford-based Manningham Housing Association (MHA) have said that 2021 can bring “better times for people of all ages” after a “horrendous year of uncertainty and distress.”
In a New Year message, Barrington Billings and Lee Bloomfield said that inequalities highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic needed to be “urgently addressed” by the Government with community-based organisations such as MHA keen to help provide policy solutions.
Founded in 1986, MHA manages more than 1,400 homes for over 6,000 residents in Bradford and Keighley and is the first housing association in the country to be officially accredited for its work in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion.
Over 80 per cent of its residents are of South Asian origin but the association caters for the needs of individuals and families from all ethnic backgrounds.
In their joint statement, the MHA Chair and Chief Executive said:
“2020 will be forever remembered as the year when coronavirus brought the world to a standstill.
“Over 70,000 people have died across the United Kingdom including more than 600 in Bradford and Keighley.
“Each death is a personal tragedy and we offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have been lost.
“Last summer we raised our deep concerns over the disproportionately adverse impact of Covid-19 on BME people – confirmed in a series of studies – and that disturbing trend has continued throughout the pandemic.
“Deprived neighbourhoods have also been much more severely affected than affluent areas.
“Lessons need to be learnt and the Government must take a lead in urgently addressing the inequalities which organisations such as Manningham Housing Association see every day in local communities.
“We are keen to work with policymakers to find the answers to the numerous questions our society faces, including how to significantly increase provision of high quality affordable homes.”
Mr Billings and Mr Bloomfield spoke of their positive hopes for 2021. They said
“We believe that the next 12 months can deliver better times for people of all ages after a horrendous year of uncertainty and distress.
“Alongside the many deaths and long-term health problems resulting from Covid-19, there have been a huge number of job losses, significant falls in family incomes and other opportunities lost such as access to workplace training.
“Children have also been out of school for prolonged periods.
“But the vaccination programme is about to go up a gear which will hopefully bring an end to the misery and suffering as some form of normality returns.
“We must continue to look out for each other – our family members, friends and neighbours.
“Manningham Housing Association will be proudly at the forefront of these community efforts across Bradford and Keighley.”