Yesterday staff from the Ricoh Arena donated 30 Christmas dinners to customers at our Stretton Lodge retirement living scheme in Coventry.
Ricoh Arena Head Chef Nathan Levitt kindly donated his time over the last few days to make 150 Christmas dinners for people in need across Warwickshire. We were delighted to accept 30 Christmas dinners giving all our residents at Stretton Lodge an early Christmas treat!
Local companies including Delware North and Wasps Rugby Football Club kindly donated the food to help make Nathan’s kind version a reality.
Our Retirement Living Manager Tim Ansell says: “What a lovely treat this is for our residents at Stretton Lodge. After an awful year this year I couldn’t help but smile when our customers eagerly came to collect their early Christmas dinner.
After an awful year this year I couldn’t help but smile when our customers eagerly came to collect their early Christmas dinner
“I’d like to thank the Ricoh team, especially Nathan, for giving up his time to make this happen. I’d also like to thank everyone who donated the food too. It just goes to show, when we all pull together great things can happen! Merry Christmas everyone!”
Nathan says: “It was brilliant delivering some of our Christmas dinners to Stretton Lodge today. Christmas is a time for giving and after the year we’ve all had it felt like this was the least I could do to help the people of Warwickshire. It feels great to give something back and I hope everyone enjoyed the food!”
Geraldine Leary, who lives at Stretton Lodge, adds: “Thanks for choosing us as one of your beneficiaries Nathan. The early Christmas dinner certainly brightened up our Tuesday and is a wonderful treat just before Christmas. I’m sure you’ve put a smile on a lot of people’s faces across Warwickshire today!”
As well as residents living at our Stretton Lodge retirement living scheme, Helping Hands Leamington and the Financial Inclusion Group also benefited from the Christmas dinners.
A mum of two has moved into her own home with her two children at our Hall Green development ahead of Christmas.
The 210-home development in Birmingham was built at the site of the former greyhound stadium with Vistry Partnerships.
Kirstie Barclay has moved into one of the flats with her two boys after living with her nan.
She said she grew up in the area and is thrilled to have her own place.
She said: “It’s lovely to have the place for Christmas, it will be so exciting to wake up on Christmas day with our own place. I previously lived with my nan and this is our first place together on our own as a family.
“It’s a great feeling to have my own space after living with so many under one roof.
“I do like it here, it’s lovely and everyone is really friendly. I used to drive past and look at the site thinking the transformation from dog-track to housing development is amazing.
“Just the three of us living here is perfect.”
The scheme which is made up of apartments and two-and-three-bedroom homes is being built jointly with Vistry Partnerships.
Selling under the Linden Homes brand, Vistry’s award-winning housebuilding business will sell 101 of the homes. We have acquired the remaining 109 homes for £14.5m and they will be offered at affordable rents as well as shared ownership.
Apartments in block B at the site have recently been handed over to our customers for Christmas.
Our Executive Director of Development Nick Byrne said: “We are so pleased to hear that Kirstie and her boys love their new home and that they have moved in just in time for Christmas.
“We hope that they will have a lovely Christmas together and they enjoy all aspects of their new home.
“The site has been transformed from its previous use as a dog track and it’s brilliant to see customers moving into the homes. We hope they will all be very happy living at the development.”
The site is progressing well with shared ownership homes nearly complete and work continuing on the building of the last few properties.
Regional Director at Vistry Partnerships Darren Beale added: “It’s fantastic to have worked with Citizen on this development and we are thrilled that customers are moving into their homes.
“We wish all the customers a Happy Christmas and hope they enjoy living in their properties.”
Last month we launched a recruitment campaign for our Customer Committee, and we’ve received 380 applications!
The committee will form a central part of our new approach to make sure customers are involved in our work and get the opportunity to shape our services.
It’s an important part of our strategic objective to improve our offer to customers, which is part of looking out for our citizens pledge in our 2020-23 business strategy.
Virtual interviews with shortlisted customers will take place during the first two weeks of December and successful candidates will be formally approved by our Board and appointed before Christmas.
Our Director of Transformation Will Walker said: “We’re thrilled with the amount of people who have applied to be part of the Customer Committee.
“Thanks to all the senior managers across the organisation who helped me to sift through and score all our applications. I think we’ve got ourselves a really strong shortlist!
“Once our Customer Committee has formed, every member will go through an induction process to provide them with an overview of Citizen. This will include training on key areas of focus within social housing such as the social housing white paper, building safety and the National Housing Federation’s (NHF) Together with Tenants plan.
“I’ve been amazed by the volume and depth of experience that our customers have. We’ve worked hard to ensure that we are accessing a reflective and fresh group of customers who can really help drive the improvements we’re making through our business strategy.”
The committee will consist of 10 customer members and one independent member. The committee will be chaired by Helen Scarrett who will also be the main link into Board.
We can’t wait to meet the new members of our Customer Committee!
We’ve helped transformed Hillfields Square in Coventry into a floor-paint play area for children as part of a pledge to improve the community and help families.
The project has seen Hillfields Square given a fun makeover with the addition of a painted bike and scooter track, hopscotch, board games and mazes.
Funding has come from a Safer Streets Fund of £550,000 to help fight crime in the area which we helped to secure alongside West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner and Coventry City Council.
Our Business Ambassador Kelly Lewis said: “The Hillfields Village Square is unfortunately an area that attracts a lot of anti-social behaviour.
“Part of our strategy to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the square is to encourage families to use this space more.
“With so many young families living next to the Hillfields square in our homes we decided to use some of the Safer Streets Fund to give them somewhere to play which is not too far from their home.
“Our Safer Streets Fund partners are thrilled with the new floor paint play area and we are looking forward to the official launch after Christmas.”
PCSO Adam Bettison from the St Michaels Neighbourhood Police Team 3 said: “Around 1,000 residents overlook Hillfields Square and many of them are young families living in the five high-rise tower blocks.
“The nearest park is about half a mile away so we consulted with local people about ways we could help and there was overwhelming support for this painted play area.
“There is a road track where youngsters can ride their bikes and scooters and learn road safety, plus snakes and ladders and other games. Some of the wording is in six different languages to reflect the area’s diversity.
“It’s ready for use now but we’ll officially open it early in the New Year when we’ll also hold a bike and scooter marking session to help youngsters protect their new Christmas gifts.”
West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Waheed Saleem, led the bid to secure £550,000 from the Safer Streets Fund.
The money will be spent in Hillfields and will go towards initiatives focused on reducing crime in the area by installing CCTV in the area, increasing the number of lamp posts to improve lighting and supplying residents with home security packs.
Cllr David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, and ward councillor in Hillfields, added: “This is the first stage in a series of improvements to the area. We want the square to be a place that the community can enjoy. By giving it a makeover, we hope that children and young people who helped suggest ideas for the artwork will be encouraged to play and meet outside.
“I’m really looking forward to other schemes being rolled out in the coming months as part of the Safer Streets Fund that benefit residents and have a positive impact on the quality of life in the area.”
We recently distributed a leaflet to the 740 homes we own and manage in Hillfields to inform customers of the work happening as part of the Safer Streets Fund project.