We are building a new retirement living block in Coventry after plans were recently approved by planners.
The Ebbw Vale development in Cheylesmore, Coventry will provide 30 one-bedroom flats. It will replace our existing retirement living accommodation at Eric Inott House, as well as the previous building that was at the site – an over 55’s development of 16 flats – which was demolished a few years ago.
The new three storey development will provide the over 55s with modern day homes and the complex will also be all-electric.
It will have photovoltaic panels on the roof which will contribute towards the running costs of communal lighting and reduce the service charges for our customers.
Our Executive Director of Development Nick Byrne said: “We’re really pleased to start work on this scheme which will provide modern housing for the over 55s.
“The development is part of a programme of works to replace our existing elderly person accommodation, specifically Eric Inott House, and the accommodation previously at the site, with modern day homes.
“The development will provide a facility that will serve the needs of residents for years to come allowing them to remain in the community which they are part of.
“We have worked hard with our Retirement Living team and Asset Management team to formulate the design and specification of the building – it’s been a fantastic cross team effort.”
Work on the development is set to start in May 2021 and the development is expected to be completed by December 2022.
Kevin Rodgers, our Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted to able to launch the Citizen Local Fund.
“If ever there was a time that people in our communities need support for their wellbeing it is now.
“We know that there will be lots of individuals and groups out there in our communities who are being creative and supporting people through the pandemic and we hope this fund can support them.
“Moving forward we want the Citizen Local Fund to support the wider work people are doing to help people in our communities. The fund is there for a range of projects – big or small. We’re keen to support anyone or any group that needs some support to help others.”
Applications for the first round of funding close on Friday, 19 February.
We have committed to a new collaboration with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and five other housing associations which will boost affordable housing.
A memorandum of understanding has been signed between each of the organisations to develop a business case for driving affordable housing developments, economic activity and housing policy objects.
The priorities of the partnership will be:
More affordable homes built in the region
A broader range, mix and supply of available homes
Addressing market failure to unlock dormant sites
Maximising construction on brownfield land
A collaborative regional approach – maximising local expertise, assets, networks and partnerships
Our Chief Executive and Chair of the West Midlands Housing Association Partnership (WMHAP), Kevin Rodgers, said: “Collectively, we welcome the commitment from the WMCA to build the essential new affordable homes the region needs.
“All of the members of the WMHAP are committed to working together to making this new vision a reality and see the signing of the memorandum of understanding as a significant step in an exciting partnership.”
Other housing associations involved in the memorandum of understanding include Midland Heart, Bromford, Accord and whg.
Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, Andy Street, said: “This ground-breaking new partnership brings the WMCA together with the combined expertise and resources of five of the largest housing associations within the WMHAP with the aim of providing even more affordable homes for the people of the West Midlands.
“Our region has led the way on housebuilding with record numbers in recent years, but our focus now is on how we build even more homes that are truly affordable. Alongside our new definition of affordability, which links to income rather than the market rate, this partnership will help do exactly that.”
Another key priority for the collaboration will be the pioneering of inclusive growth objectives, including access to open space, the use of sustainable construction methods, good quality design and a distinct sense of place with local shops and services and the provision of education and skills training.
Cllr Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council and WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land, added: “This coalition is central to our mission to utilise our stock of brownfield land to deliver inclusive growth and affordable homes.
“A key goal is to establish the region as the national leader in unlocking challenging brownfield sites, especially along key transport corridors and using them to create vibrant new communities that offer good quality, affordable homes for local people.
“By injecting new life into derelict sites, we can help protect our Green Belt and drive an economic recovery that benefits all our communities.”
The next stage for the collaboration is to work up the detailed business case for the Affordable Housing Collaborative Development Vehicle’s establishment.
We have created a new animation which highlights our crucial fire safety advice for customers living in our high-rise blocks.
Customers will start to receive our fire safety guidance which includes a QR code linking to a new animation this week.
The animation and advice are voiced over and translated into seven different languages to reflect the diverse make-up of our customers living in the blocks.
The guidance, which we consulted West Midlands Fire Service on, will arrive in a high-quality personalised sleeve so our customers can easily keep it to hand.
Paul Baker, our Director of Asset Management and Safety, said: “Fire safety is a hugely important part of our work.
“As we look to the future and the implementation of the Building Safety Act it is important that we do all we can to make sure customers in our blocks know what to do in the event of a fire. This is simply the right and responsible thing for us to do.
“These buildings carry no greater risk of a fire, but there are things people who live in them need to know that are specific to this type of building. This includes the importance of staying in your home if the fire is somewhere else in the building and other crucial guidance.
“This campaign is a great way for us to get across that message in a highly visual and easy-to-understand way.”
Peter Gill, our Director of Housing, added: “This is a crucial piece of work for us.
“We want to do everything we can to protect our customers. When we spoke to some of our customers after fires in 2020, it was apparent that not all of them were clear on what they should do.
“This is a proactive approach to get ahead of the game and do all that we can to make sure customers know what to do if there is a fire in their building to stay safe. It also includes guidance on important prevention measures.”
Our Programmed Works team in Maintenance Operations team has been awarded the ISO 90001:2015 accreditation.
The International Organisation for Standardisation has given the team the award which is the world’s most widely recognised quality management standard. It shows our customers that we have a consistent and good quality service.
The team were audited by the British Assessment Bureau with the first stage taking place in July and the second stage taking place in October 2020.
The British Assessment Bureau were impressed at the speed the team received the accreditation and said some of the aspects they audited were the best they had seen. This included a process document that was easy to follow and could be audited at the various stages, a concise and relevant set of KPIs and a performance management model.
Our Head of Programmed Works Adam Borrie said: “Well done to the team for gaining this accreditation – all their hard work has paid off!
“Part of the reason for seeking the standard was to re-assure external and internal customers that work is given to the in-house team on merit. We are in a fortunate position and therefore our customers should expect a quality service, each and every time we are asked to complete works.
“We have worked through a process of improvement over the last two years to achieve this recognition and the improvement trajectory has been remarkable – we’ve gone from significant operating losses in 2018/2019 to within budget in 2019/2020. We’ve also achieved high customer satisfaction scores and met our programme targets given to us by the Assets Team.
“Congratulations to everyone involved on this huge achievement!
A £1.75m grant will help provide a safe place to stay and long-term accommodation for homeless people who were helped off the street during the coronavirus pandemic.
The grant will help provide 25 homes across Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall – and work is underway to ensure the properties are ready to live in by March 31, 2021.
We worked with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to submit the successful bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and Homes England.
The funding has been awarded as part of the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation programme, which aims to provide homes for homeless people identified during the recent Everybody In campaign.
The Everybody In initiative was rolled out nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure people who were sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness, were protected and supported into emergency accommodation. Recently the Government confirmed it would make a further £10m available nationally to support rough sleepers.
The £1.75m grant will support local authorities and their partners to continue much needed support to prevent a return to the streets.
Our Chief Executive and Chair of West Midlands Housing Association Partnership Kevin Rodgers said: “It’s fantastic that we have been successful with this bid to provide extra accommodation across the West Midlands for people who really need it and it’s great to be working with the West Midlands Combined Authority on tackling homelessness.
“Homelessness is a serious issue and we are committed to playing our part. In our business strategy one of our objectives is to improve our support services and tackle homelessness. By 2023 we hope to have an additional 76 new homes that will provide temporary accommodation – and it’s great to see that this initiative will in part help us to achieve this ambition.
“I am excited and optimistic to deliver this project and support those who have found themselves homeless or sleeping rough.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We are delighted to be working with Citizen on this new venture.
“The impact of COVID19 has presented the region with unprecedented challenges. Local authorities have done a remarkable job in protecting our most vulnerable citizens by offering support to every person known to be rough sleeping in the region.
“This funding will now help our continued joint efforts and ensure that people are supported to build a life away from the streets for good.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Citizen for partnering with us. I am confident that it will be a success and hope that this will lead to further collaboration next year.”
Cllr Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council and chair of the WMCA Homelessness Taskforce Members Advisory Group said: “This money will further tackle homelessness across the West Midlands.
“We have worked hard to help protect the wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable citizens and this new grant is an example of how we are continuing to work with our partners across the region to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping.”
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