First Choice Homes Oldham secures £95m funding package with Santander UK for new homes and decarbonisation

  • First Choice Homes Oldham plans to deliver 700 new homes by 2026
  • Santander UK provides £95m funding to support the Greater Manchester-based housing association’s plans
  • Funding also supports First Choice Homes Oldham’s energy efficiency programme


Greater Manchester-based housing association First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO) has secured a £95 million funding package from Santander UK to support its development programme and improve the energy efficiency of existing homes.

The funding from Santander UK enables FCHO, which has more than 11,300 homes in Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside and plans to expand into nearby Calderdale and Kirklees, to deliver on its ambitions to provide more affordable and energy efficient homes over the next three years. These include creating 700 new, affordable, sustainable homes by 2026 to increase the amount of affordable housing available locally.

A mix of houses and apartments for affordable rent and shared ownership are planned. All will be built to achieve energy performance certificate (EPC) level B or above and use low-carbon heating alternatives to fossil fuels – helping to meet future net zero carbon targets and providing high quality homes that are cost effective to run.

The funding will also contribute to the social housing provider's decarbonisation work to make existing homes more energy efficient, and support customers to cut their energy bills and carbon emissions. Double glazed windows, heat pumps, smart meters, and loft, wall cavity and external wall insulation are among the retrofit measures that will boost the performance of some of the housing association's least energy efficient homes.

Andy Ewart, Director of Finance at First Choice Homes Oldham said: “I am delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with Santander UK. Securing this funding allows us to build 700 much-needed homes across the area with a total investment of £110m.The funding package also supports the first phase of our sustainability strategy, improving the energy efficiency of our existing homes.”

Robert Simmons, Relationship Director at Santander UK, said: “Having supported First Choice Homes Oldham since it was first established in 2011, we are proud to provide it with this latest £95m funding package. This will not only enable it to provide hundreds of affordable new homes – both rental accommodation and shared ownership – to the Oldham community but also supports its work to enhance the energy efficiency of its existing properties.”

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Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 31 December 2021, the bank had around 19,200 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

First Choice Homes Oldham is formed for the benefit of the community and is a profit-for-purpose housing association. FCHO began trading as a Registered Provider on 7 February 2011 with 11,867 properties transferring from Oldham Council on that date. On 1 August 2014 the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Consolidation Bill was approved by Parliament and from this date FCHO is no longer governed by the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 and is now registered as a Community Benefit Society (registration number 31138R) with charitable objectives under the Co-operative and Benefit Societies Act 2014. FCHO is regulated by the Regulator for Social Housing. Registration number is 4582. FCHO has a Board of Non-Executive Directors which is made up of between eight and 12 members who oversee the overall running of the company.