Refurbishment work starts on Frank Walsh House in Coventry to transform it into supported accommodation for families

Posted on November 26th, 2019 by Elaine Davies

Refurbishment work has started at Frank Walsh House as it’s set to be transformed into supported housing for families.

It is a former housing with care scheme and refurbishment work began on November 1st, 2019, and is scheduled to be completed by March 2020.

Laker Building Management Solutions are undertaking the work and Coventry City Council have invested £280,000 to enable the conversion work to be completed.

Once the work is complete 44 flats will be provided for families with support needs at Frank Walsh House from March 2020.

We are also working with support providers to help prepare and equip the families to live independently within the city.

Our Chief Executive, Kevin Rodgers, says: “It’s very exciting that work has started to transform Frank Walsh House.

“Temporary accommodation for families in Coventry is in short supply so I’m certain our new proposals for Frank Walsh House will be very well received.

“We have a clear social purpose, which is to provide homes that are a foundation for life.

“There are some fundamental challenges people in our communities are facing and we want to be an organisation which can help them deal with these.

“We are committed to working to solve some of the most pressing issues around housing in Coventry alongside the Council.”

Cllr David Welsh, Deputy Cabinet Member Housing and Communities, at Coventry City Council, adds: “The refurbishment of Frank Walsh House will provide much needed self-contained supported accommodation for families and will help reduce overall costs for the Council.

“The money saved can be used to support residents of the city in other ways.

“It’s great to see the work getting underway.”

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Schoolchildren reveal street name at our Little Moor Hill development in Sandwell

Posted on November 25th, 2019 by Elaine Davies

Children from a Sandwell academy have revealed the road name at our Little Moor Hill housing development.

Pupils from the Devonshire Junior Academy suggested names for the road and Symphony Drive was selected as the winner.

There will be 22 new homes built at the site – 11 will be shared ownership and 11 will be affordable rent homes.

Development Project Manager, Natalie Littlehales, says: “We’re so pleased that pupils from Devonshire Junior Academy suggested Symphony Drive, we think it’s a great name for the road.

“Thanks to all pupils who put forward their ideas – we had several good suggestions, but Symphony Drive stood out for us.

“The development is progressing really well so far, we are putting tiles on the roof and installing windows.

“We have teamed up with TC Homes for this development and we are looking forward to seeing its completion in June 2020.”

Natalie attended the site along with pupils and teachers from the school and TC Homes to reveal the road name.

Head of School at Devonshire Junior Academy, Elise Waldron, says: “We’re so pleased the road name suggested by our pupils was chosen – we didn’t expect it at all!

“Our pupils will always remember being a part of naming the road. This is something I’m sure they’ll always remember as they grow up.

“Well done to all the children who took part in coming up with the name.”

The £3.8m development will be a mix of two- and three-bedroom homes.

Maja Kuzimska in year 6 was one of the children who came up with Symphony Drive.

She says: “It was great fun to suggest names for the road and we suggested Symphony Drive because of Symphony Hall in Birmingham and it sounds like a lovely, happy place to live.”

Director at TC Homes (Contracting) LTD, Tim Charnley, adds: “We’re so pleased with the street name the children have suggested and it’s fantastic to see that the development is taking shape.

“It’s great to be working with Citizen and all the homes are on track to be finished in June next year.”

The development will offer affordable options for future residents and will be finished to a high standard.

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Resident nominated for Royal Television Society Midlands Award after being chosen to present a BBC documentary

Posted on November 14th, 2019 by Elaine Davies

One of our Birmingham residents has presented a BBC documentary and is now up for a television award.

Sue Brown was asked to present the First Black Brummies and is nominated for Outstanding New Talent at the Royal Television Society Midlands awards (RTS).

Sue, who is a poet and works part time in a children’s centre, is also getting offers to narrate programmes on BBC Radio Four too.

She says: “I am amazed that I have been nominated for this award, last year I was working full time in a children’s centre and this year I am shortlisted for an RTS award.

“Last month the First Black Brummies also won a Movie, Video and Screen award (MVISA) for Best Factual Production. It was amazing to collect the award at the ICC in Birmingham. I loved being on the red carpet with celebrities and going on stage, even though at times it didn’t feel real.

“I’m so proud of being involved in the project and it’s great that it is being recognised at awards ceremonies too.”

Sue, who has lived in our properties for most of her adult life, first visited the BBC producer to talk about her parents moving to Britain from Jamaica. She also introduced the producer to other people with similar experiences and a month later he asked Sue to present the programme.

She says: “It was my first TV role and the crew were so good at getting me used to the cameras so I could interview people for the programme.

“It was a 15-day shoot that took place over a few months, it felt surreal but was filmed tastefully.

“They also interviewed my sister who still lives in Jamaica as part of the programme. I was born in Birmingham, but she was born in Jamaica before my parents came to the UK. They could not afford to bring her over to Birmingham and my dad went three decades without seeing her.

“The documentary looks at people’s experiences of moving to this country from the Caribbean.”

Our Neighbourhood Officer, James Hobbs, says: “It’s so good to see our customer Sue Brown being part of a BBC documentary, then go on to win an award and be nominated for another is amazing!

“We are so proud of her.

“When I found out about her achievements, I wanted to let everyone know what she has been involved with.”

The First Black Brummies looks at Birmingham in the 50s, 60s and 70s and focuses on what it was like for people who moved from the Caribbean to the Midlands.

The RTS awards ceremony takes place at the ICC in Birmingham on November 29.

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We launch our new online customer portal, My Account

Posted on November 5th, 2019 by Elaine Davies

Today we are launching our new online customer portal, My Account.

My Account allows customers to book a repair, pay their rent and make an enquiry online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

As part of our communications campaign to get our customers online we’ve commissioned a video which gives all our customers a sneak preview of My Account. The video really showcases how easy My Account is to use and how easy it is for our customers to manage their homes online.

Our Director of Customer Services, Lourdes Sharpe, says: “Following the launch of our new Citizen website, My Account also had a makeover and we are delighted with it. My Account has been rebranded and improved – customers are already telling us it’s easier to use and being able to log an enquiry is a brand-new function.

“We know lots of customers want to be able to make contact and report repairs when it suits them, and we know that we have a younger customer base who want to communicate digitally with us – My Account ticks all these boxes!

“This is all part of our Customer Service Strategy to offer the right communication channels for services to meet the preferences of our customers.

“Ahead of our communications campaign we have already had more than double the number of repairs raised online this October compared to October last year – meaning customers are already finding and using this channel which is really positive.”

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