Rose Community Centre in Spon End receives £1k donation

Posted on May 27th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

The Rose Community Centre in Coventry has received a £1,000 donation after filming for a new BBC drama took place earlier this year.

Dave Roberts from the Rose Community Centre said the donation will help to close the gap between income and expenditure.

He said: “We are so pleased to receive this money following the filming which took place earlier this year. Due to the Covid 19 lockdown, the Rose Centre – with short intervals – has not had any income for room hire since March 2020.

“The donation has helped ease the pain of lockdown. Gas, water, electricity and business rates still have to be paid and thankfully we were also eligible for grant funding from the Government, without which we would have been in a more precarious position than we are now.”

Dave said he is hoping that residents will become more engaged with the centre now restrictions are starting to ease.

He added: “This donation has given us a bit more breathing space and will help to keep the wolves from our door.

“The Rose Centre was set up as a facility for community events, promoting social inclusion and improving the lives of the community and we hope to welcome people back soon.”

Some of the events that have recently re-started at the community centre include the Men Shed. This is a group for the over 40s which helps to relieve boredom and helps with male mental health.

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We are investing £750,000 to fit out a further 250 homes in our Fresh Start Standard

Posted on May 25th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

This financial year we are planning to invest £750k into our Fresh Start pilot to ensure 250 homes are re-let at a higher standard, giving our new customers a foundation for life.

Fresh Start is a pioneering project which sees some of our hardest to let properties – one-bedroom bedsits – refurbished to a higher standard.

Over the next year we will be focusing on 250 properties in Birmingham and Coventry.

During the last financial year, we invested £255,000 in 70 properties in Coventry – 35 of the homes were given new flooring and fresh decoration and the other 35 were given new flooring and white goods.

This will continue with our next 250 properties – half will be given new flooring and fresh decoration and the other half will have new flooring and white goods.

Our Director of Housing Peter Gill said: “It’s fantastic that we have moved on to the next stage of our Fresh Start pilot to refurbish a further 250 homes in Birmingham and Coventry.

“We believe that when people move into our homes, they deserve to have a fresh start. Too often customers move into a home with none of the essentials they need to be able to live well in their home.

“We are waiting to see the results of our previous pilots to understand what really helps our customers. We will only really be able understand what is and what isn’t working when we see our customers staying in their homes.

“In our business strategy, one of our objectives is to improve our offer to our customers and we believe that our fresh start pilot helps us to do this.

“Thanks to everyone who has worked on this project so far, to date we have successful refurbished 82 properties to our Fresh Start Standard. It’s brilliant to see our collaborative working throughout the whole project from our Maintenance Operatives through to our Lettings Team.”

Work has already started on our next 250 properties and is due to be completed by the end of this financial year.

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Our new Chief Operating Officer will join us on 1 July

Posted on May 19th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

Madeleine Nelson will join us as our new Chief Operating Officer from Thursday 1 July.

Madeleine, who joins our Executive Leadership Team from housing association Plus Dane Housing, started her career in housing in tenant empowerment, moving to Manchester City Council where she delivered the council’s housing strategy and some of the most challenging regeneration initiatives across the city.

She spent more than a decade in advisory services at PwC, providing consultancy advice to housing associations and local government while leading the housing advisory team and delivering transformation change programmes.

Madeleine’s latest role was as Executive Director of Growth and Assets at Plus Dane Housing – a 13,000-home housing association operating across the North West. She has held executive director positions over the last eight years and managed all operational services – including customer services, repairs, housing management, supported housing and asset management.

Madeleine said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Citizen as Chief Operating Officer from the 1 July.

“Throughout my career I have been driven by a desire to improve the quality of social housing – listening to our customers and creating safe, good quality homes and environments.

“I was attracted to Citizen because of your values, particularly being citizens, meaning you are committed to your people and places. Providing homes that are a foundation for life resonates with me – it is a fantastic articulation of what we can achieve as housing associations. I look forward to meeting you all soon.”

Our Chief Executive Kevin Rodgers said: “Our Chief Operating Officer is responsible for leading the diverse and passionate group of teams which provide a huge range of services to the customers who live in our 30,000 homes. I’m really looking forward to Madeleine joining us and playing a central role to drive forward our objectives and shape our future.”


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We’ve helped to save 250 honeybees from a chimney at one of our Coventry properties

Posted on May 18th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

Our pest control team have worked with contractors to safely remove a colony of bees from a chimney in one of our properties in Coventry.

A customer had reported seeing bees over the course of several months after bees were spotted inside the property as well as in the garden.

After discovering the nest, we contacted Delta Pest control to help us to remove the 250 bees safely.

Bees are protected, which is why we called in the experts to help us move them and in turn save them, as we don’t have a license to remove them ourselves.

Delta Pest Control are insured to move the insects and relocate them – they do not kill the bees. They do this by using a machine to suck them from the hive and transport them to their new home.

Scaffolding was needed to access the chimney where the bees were. Access points in the chimney bricks were also made to see the depth of the colony and specialised equipment was used to extract the bees including the Queen in order to transport them to a new colony.

Honeybees live in large families and survive many years as they huddle together and eat the honey themselves. Typically, they have large colonies which range between 10 and 20,000 bees.

This specific colony stretched six foot down into the chimney.

According to the Royal Society of Biology the honeybee is in decline which is worrying as they play a vital role in our eco-system by pollinating our flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

All 250 bees including the queen have been moved to a local beekeeper for re-homing.

Assistant Supervisor for Estates Services Amanda Hart said: “We were called out to a rooftop in the Stoke Heath area of Coventry and we found that several bees had made a chimney their home. We needed to remove them from the chimney, so we contacted Delta Pest Control.

“They arrived at the property and safely removed the bees from the chimney so they could be rehomed in a hive elsewhere.

“This is the first time our in-house team have come across a bee removal and this is the first time we have worked with Delta Pest Control, but they were very supportive and allowed our teams to attend and observe the specialized removal of the bees.

“We are so pleased that we’ve helped to save the bees by contacting Delta Pest Control and getting them removed in a safe way.”

Our pest control team is made up of Jim Davies, Dave Sexton, Adrian Quinn and Trevor Brand. The team cover communal areas in Coventry, Birmingham and Worcester and are British Pest Control Association registered.

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Homes in Tenbury Wells protected from flooding thanks to £90,966 investment

Posted on May 17th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

More than £90,000 has been invested in flood defences for 18 properties on the bank of the River Teme in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire.

We’ve invested the money – made up of a £40,000 grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and topped up by Citizen – on defences including more efficient flood barriers on front and back doors.

The grant from DEFRA was administered by Malvern Hills District Council and has also been spent on replacing defective automatic airbricks, sealing voids in the brickwork, a waterproofing compound was applied to lower areas of the buildings and external sump pumps were installed.

The 18 properties to benefit from the works are based in Chantry Close and Scotland Place.

Investment programme Manager Mark Allen said the eight properties which were granted funding flooded in 2020.

He said: “It’s brilliant news that we have secured this funding and have made the improvements to our homes in Tenbury Wells.

“The grant from Malvern Hills District Council was only available for the properties that had previously flooded in 2020, however we felt that it was important that we should carry out the works to the remaining 10 properties which may be at risk from flooding in future.

“We wanted to install flood resilient measures to the properties as they are designed to help prevent the likelihood of the properties flooding in future. This will help to give our customers peace of mind, especially after the flood last year following Storm Dennis which was awful for people living in the town.”

Following Storm Dennis last year, the water levels of the River Teme peaked at just below six metres in Tenbury Wells.

Director of Planning and Infrastructure for Malvern Hills District Council, Holly Jones, added: “The floods of 2020 were devastating for people living in Tenbury Wells which is why it was important for these grants to be available.

“We are so pleased that people living in Tenbury Wells could make use of the grant to help improve their homes and protect them against any future flooding.”

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We’ve introduced Structure Telephone Counselling to our Tenant Support and Wellbeing Service this year

Posted on May 11th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

Two years ago, we launched our Tenant Support and Wellbeing Service for our customers.

The service is available 24/7 and is free and confidential for customers to use. The service offers help with anything, including mental health and wellbeing, family matters, relationships, managing debt, workplace issues and rights as a consumer.

It is delivered by Care First which means that we don’t know who has accessed the service and what for – and the service now also offers our customers Structured Telephone Counselling too.

Through the Structured Telephone Counselling customers will have access to six telephone sessions.

Previously the telephone counselling sessions were only available for short-term ‘in the moment’ issues. This meant that a single call to offer support for an issue was all our customers were entitled to.

This is now being increased to planned and structured counselling that will be available for individuals who call the service. It will help to provide a way for our customers in distress to explore their feelings, talk about their problems and challenges and help support with making a positive change in their lives.

Our Director of Housing Peter Gill said: “We are so pleased that we are now able to offer this new service to our customers. It fills a real gap in the service which we were unable to offer before.

“Investing in services to improve our customers’ wellbeing through the tough times has never been more important to us and we are delighted that we will be able to offer the extra support of Structure Telephone Counselling.

“One of the pledges in our business strategy is “we are looking out for our citizens”, we want our services to reflect that we are on our customers’ side, to make their lives easier and to support them when they need it.

“We are pleased to have provided this service over the past two years and I’m really looking forward to seeing the take up of the Structure Telephone Counselling.”

This year we will also be improving our customer feedback on the service by asking those who have used the Tenant Support and Wellbeing service to complete a confidential survey on our customer portal My Account.

We also plan to improve marketing of the service by providing monthly bulletins for customers about our Tenant Support and Wellbeing service. These will also raise awareness of certain topics such as anti-social behaviour and debt advice and will be uploaded to My Account for customers to access. We have bulletins planned for the next 12 months.

In the last year 291 new cases used our Tennant Support and Wellbeing Service, which generated 442 contacts.  Anonymous usage data tells us that relationship breakdown and addiction are two considerable concerns that people are reaching out for help with.

Customers can access our Tennant Support and Wellbeing Service on our website here.

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