London housing association pairs with ‘happiness training’ start-up

The London housing association One Housing Group has paired up with the ‘happiness training’ start-up Haptivate in a bid to improve the mental well-being of social housing customers and staff.

The housing association, which manages around 17,000 homes in London and the south east of England, has started a new social economy partnership with Haptivate, which gives the start-up discounted commercial space on its premises.

Haptivate now operates a well-being training centre at Arlington House, the UK’s largest homeless hostel, offering well-being workshops for One Housing staff as well as targeted workshops for the unemployed.

David Leeves, One Housing’s director of social mobility, says: ‘All good organisations are switched on to the importance of wellbeing and offering workshops with Haptivate is a great way to do something practical to address it.

‘Their novel approach has meant that the sessions have attracted many people who would not naturally have thought to attend. We have seen the benefits of greater understanding, improved communication and collaboration across the organisation.’

In addition to giving One Housing staff access to well-being workshops and training, Haptivate has developed targeted workshops that have been incorporated into the groups existing employment and training programmes, aimed towards helping its clients find employment.

While most social landlords’ training schemes focus on giving customers the hard skills they need to gain work, Haptivate’s workshops focus on building personal well-being, which equally impacts one’s chances of finding and staying in work but is often left unaddressed.

Rosa Connor, co-founder of Haptivate, said: ‘Research has established that there’s a vicious cycle between unemployment and poor mental well-being. Unemployment can majorly impact mental health which then makes it more challenging to find work.

‘Haptivate have been working with One Housing to break that negative cycle. We’ve found that incorporating well-being skills training into employability programmes enhances engagement, participation and outcomes.’

One Housing have already benefited from the decision to incorporate well-being into the associations’ employability curriculum, as participants in the training have reported feeling more engaged and enthusiastic about the scheme.

The pair hope that the success of the scheme will allow Haptivate to build access to their well-being programmes across the housing sector.

James Pacey, co-founder of Haptivate, added: ‘One Housing have proven to be the perfect partner for us. We’ve worked closely together to innovate and trial new approaches to training in the housing sector.

‘Their support has enabled us to quickly validate the impact our training can have, giving us a fantastic foundation to expand from. We’re excited to roll out these successful programmes to create social value more broadly within the sector.’

Chris Ogden
Digital News Reporter


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