A MAJOR conference to discuss how the housing industry can play its part in creating more jobs in the South-West is taking place tomorrow, Thursday March 1.

The event, taking place in Exeter, has been organised by the National Housing Federation and will explore ways of growing the regional economy.

Federation chief executive David Orr will be joined by a guest panel for a debate on the changing shape of housing associations while other sessions will discuss the relationship between housing and health and examine the potential for associations to provide jobs through social enterprise.

Jenny Allen, from the Federation, said: “This year's conference comes as the sector is reaching a crossroads. Housing associations are again in the midst of significant change and are facing far reaching decisions about how to act on an increasingly commercial basis, whilst still retaining their social purpose and ethos.

“This event is aimed at giving the sector's decision makers an insight into the latest thinking, helping them take the steps that are right for their businesses and the communities they serve.

“It is increasingly important that associations are recognised as a successful and strong business model with a huge contribution to make to strengthening local communities and the wider economy.”

Nick Horne, group chief executive of Arcadia Housing, said: “As major employers, investors and strong businesses in their own right, housing associations have a tremendous role to play in building the South-West economy.

“This event is about looking at different ways to do that at a time of major change, challenge and opportunity, whilst ensuring we can continue to work with our partners to deliver the homes the South-West badly needs.”