One of the north east’s largest providers of affordable homes today revealed its new identity and vision for the future of social housing in the region.

County Durham Housing Group, which provides low-cost homes for more than 18,000 families in the region, becomes ‘believe housing’ today. The rebrand does not have any impact on arrangements for existing tenants but marks a shift in the aspirations of the four-year-old organisation.

The new name comes at the same time as a change in structure. Following consultation with tenants and stakeholders, the four individual landlords that formed County Durham Housing Group since inception have been brought together as a single housing provider for the first time. This means that Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes that make up the group will also disappear from today.

The group’s existing £54m new-build programme, which is delivering 545 homes, and £138m improvement programme to existing properties will continue under believe housing. Existing community investment programmes, which have supported more than 100 local groups over the last two years, will continue as well.

Chief Executive of believe housing, Bill Fullen, said: “Since the group was formed four years ago we’ve come a long way, and probably quicker than we could have hoped for.

“The launch of believe housing is an important step in our aims to transform the provision of affordable homes in the region and help our tenants meet their aspirations.

“When considering our new identity, the answer was right in front of us. We’re remaining true to our existing vision – we believe in life without barriers – because after all, anything is possible if you believe.

“Our new, stronger organisation is ideally placed to expand on what we’ve already achieved. We’ll be able to deliver the same high standards across the county and our new simpler structure will be far easier for tenants or stakeholders to understand.

“We believe that affordable housing should be the catalyst for communities to flourish and our new identity is designed to reflect that. We’re determined to challenge many of the preconceptions around social housing and show that it can be a force for good; not just with our new branding but in everything we do.”

believe housing, which will retain headquarters in Seaham plus offices in Bishop Auckland, Durham and Peterlee, employs more than 450 people. That figure is set to grow as property repairs in the east Durham area will be brought in-house this summer. Repairs across the rest of the area are already carried out in-house.