Our Finance and Transactional Services Teams win West Midlands Finance Awards

Posted on May 27th, 2022 by Elaine Davies

Our Finance and Transactional Services Teams won the Finance Team of the Year Not-for-Profit and the Transactional Finance Team of the Year award at the West Midlands Finance Awards last night (Thursday 26 May).

The prestigious awards promote and celebrate the outstanding achievements of businesses and individuals within the West Midlands’ finance community.

Our Director of Finance Anna McOwen, said: “It’s fantastic that we have won two prestigious awards at the West Midlands Finance Awards last night. I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work.

“The Finance and Transactional Services teams often work quietly in the background, with the services we provide being largely invisible to the majority of colleagues, so to win is great recognition for our teams and everyone should be very proud.”

Our Director of Assurance and Business Services Katie Moore said: “After a challenging few years winning both of these awards is a fantastic achievement and I’m delighted our teams have been recognised in this way. Well done and thank you to everyone involved.”

Our Chief Financial Officer Gary Booth added: “Congratulations to all our colleagues in our Finance and Transactional Services teams.

“It’s great that we’re showcasing our work with the West Midlands finance community, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for helping make this happen. It’s fantastic that we are putting Citizen on the map as an organisation with a sector-leading finance function.”

You can find out more about the West Midlands Finance Awards here.

Congratulations everyone!

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Watch our video showcasing our proposed plans to transform Spon End

Posted on May 25th, 2022 by Elaine Davies

Take a look at our video which shows a fly-through of our proposed plans for Spon End.

Earlier this month we revealed our proposed £120m investment to transform the Spon End estate in Coventry. The regeneration of the estate will see us build 750 homes over the next 10 years.

The proposed plans will see the redevelopment of the below areas:

Our video shows what the estate will look like if our proposed plans are approved.

Our Director of Regeneration Kevin Roach said: “We’re delighted to reveal what our proposed plans for Spon End will look like in our flythrough video.

“We are currently consulting with customers on the proposed plans and are looking forward to hearing what they have to say.

“After careful consideration of all the options available we believe undertaking extensive redevelopment of Spon End will enable us to deliver the transformation our customers have told us they want to see.”

Our announcement to invest £120m in Spon End follows a Planning for Real Consultation Event where residents told us they want Spon End to be a safe place to live; they want their homes to be more modern, warm and energy efficient; they want a pleasant environment with more quality green space, and they want the car parking in the area to be improved.

We believe our ambitious redevelopment proposals for Spon End will:

The announcement follows the first phase of plans outlined for Spon End in 2020 which will see Kerry House, Milestone House, and Trafalgar House demolished and replaced by a mix of new homes.

Watch our video below:

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Find out what’s happening with Fresh Start this year

Posted on May 24th, 2022 by Elaine Davies

We’re continuing with our Fresh Start offer this year and will be investing £750,000 into improving the re-let standard of 290 empty properties.

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

Over the last year we spent £610,000 and fit out 151 properties across Birmingham and Coventry.

This financial year we will be spending £750,000 to fit out 290 properties across areas of Coventry including Bell Green, Hillfields, Wood End, Willenhall and Willenhall Wood as well as pockets of low-rise flats in Birmingham. Hereford and Worcester will also be included in the scheme.

Last year half of the homes provided customers with new flooring and white goods, while the other half had new flooring and fresh decoration. We listened to customer feedback which told us decorated properties offered the most value to customers, we will therefore continue with the decorating and providing flooring. There will be customers who require white goods, and our staff will continue to assist with applications for community grant funding.

Our Head of Allocations and Lettings Clare Garner said: “It’s fantastic that we are moving on to the third year of our Fresh Start standard and we aim to refurbish 290 homes this financial year.

“We believe that people who move into our homes deserve a fresh start and this scheme really helps.

“We have received some fantastic feedback from customers who really appreciate the decoration and flooring and say it has made a huge difference having these when moving into their new home.

Head of Voids Matt Lloyd said: “Following the various specification tests last year the team has now been increased to accommodate full decoration in all properties. The team have settled into what now feels like business as usual which is great.

“Thank you to everyone who has worked on Fresh Start to date – you’ve done a great job and we’re looking forward to helping more customers over the next year.”

Our Fresh Start project has been running for over two years and by the end of this financial year we will have completed 521 homes across our regions.

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We’ve been successful in a £ 1.2 million grant from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund

Posted on May 23rd, 2022 by Elaine Davies

We have been successful with a £ 1.2 million grant as part of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to improve our homes in the Wychavon area and work has already started.

The grant is provided by the Government Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and we applied for it in partnership with Wychavon District Council.

The money is part of a demonstrator fund, and this means that we are one of the first pioneering housing associations, along with a small consortium of other housing associations, who are testing the viability of how the grant process works.

The fund will allow us to retrofit some of our D Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) rated properties to help save energy.

Savills, an experienced large housing and sustainability consultancy, are managing the project with the support of our Asset Management team. Wates are the appointed contractor who will be facilitating the works on our homes.

Savills have supported our application with substantial input from colleagues at Citizen, Trent and Dove, Rooftop and Orbit. Wychavon District Council have been instrumental in working with our consortium of housing associations to allow us to gain the funding from BEIS.

Director of Asset Management Paul Baker said: “We feel privileged and excited to receive the funding and carry out these works.

“The fund covers approximately 75 percent of the project cost, utilising a range of energy saving measures by looking at the building components and improving them thermally such as heating, walls, roof, doors, and windows.

“It is vital we achieve good value for our customers and assist those who are struggling with fuel poverty. We are keen to investigate different ways of working to improve performance and process and are happy to be taking the lead in this venture.”

We also worked with Coventry City Council to submit a separate bid to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and have been awarded a £1.1m to improve the energy efficiency of 95 homes across Coventry.

Associate Director at Savills David Prescott said: “Savills are extremely proud to be supporting this project. The lessons learnt on the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator projects will prove invaluable to future planning and successful delivery of retrofit projects at scale.

“Energy efficiency, affordable warmth, fuel poverty and decarbonisation represent areas of huge social, economic and environmental importance, but also present significant challenges. Savills feel privileged to be in a position to offer support and expertise to the sector in understanding stock performance, investment needs, strategy development and the successful delivery of energy efficiency objectives.”

The Wychavon project construction started on 28 March and is due to be complete by mid-July 2022.

Cllr Tony Rowley, Executive Board Member for Climate Change, Environmental Policy and Regulatory Services on Wychavon District Council, said: “We’re proud of our commitment to helping people save energy and cut costs, especially at such a challenging time, so it’s great to be part of this exciting new scheme. We believe it will deliver long-term benefits for residents and the environment.”

Regional Managing Director at Wates Stewart Reid said: “Providing clients and their residents with homes that help reduce fuel poverty through the installation of traditional and innovative carbon reduction technologies is vital in the current climate as fuel costs rise.

“We are delighted to be working with Citizen to support them at the start of their housing retrofit journey through the design and delivery of these much-needed improvements.”

We will be submitting further bids to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to cover other areas to help us ensure our homes below the SAP rating D band are rated C or above by the Governments deadline of 2030.

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Our Spon End consultation event took place yesterday

Posted on May 19th, 2022 by Elaine Davies

Yesterday (Wednesday 18 May) we held a consultation event for customers on our proposed plans to transform Spon End.

Last week we announced our proposed plans that will see an investment of £120million to transform the Spon End estate in Coventry.

The proposed plans include an ambitious £120million redevelopment programme of the below areas which will see us build 750 new homes over the next ten years.

The consultation event was an opportunity for customers to hear more about our proposed plans and give us their feedback.

Our Director of Regeneration Kevin Roach said: “After careful consideration of all the options available we believe undertaking extensive redevelopment of Spon End will enable us to deliver the transformation our customers have told us they want to see.

“It was great to hear the communities’ thoughts on our proposed plans for Spon End today. Over 200 customers attended our event yesterday and so far, 80 percent of them support our proposed plans.

“We are in consultation with the community until Friday 10 June. Following an evaluation of the feedback we receive during the consultation period a report will be taken to our Board in the summer.

“We will then write to all customers to confirm the outcome of the consultation and the proposals that will be taken forward. I look forward to hearing further feedback on our proposed plans from the community.”


Our full proposed plans for Spon End are available on our website. There is also a form on the webpage where customers can submit their feedback.

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Proposed £120 million investment in Spon End Coventry announced

Posted on May 13th, 2022 by Elaine Davies

Citizen has today announced proposed plans that will see an investment of £120 million to transform the Spon End estate in Coventry.

The proposed plans include an ambitious redevelopment programme of the below areas which will see us build 750 new homes over the next 10 years.

The announcement follows a Planning for Real Consultation Event where residents told us they want Spon End to be a safe place to live, they want their homes to be more modern, warm and energy efficient, they want a pleasant environment with more quality green space, and they want the car parking in the area to be improved.

We believe our ambitious redevelopment proposals for Spon End will:

Proposed plans are subject to consultation with the community and the announcement today follows the first phase of plans outlined for Spon End in 2020 which will see Kerry House, Milestone House, and Trafalgar House demolished and replaced by a mix of new homes.

Kevin Rodgers, Chief Executive at Citizen, said: “I’m delighted to announce our ambitious proposed plans for Spon End today.

“Alongside working on the rehousing of residents in Kerry House, Milestone House, and Trafalgar House over the last two years, we have been developing a masterplan for the rest of Spon End to ensure we deliver what members of the community have told us is important to them and what they think we need to do to improve the area.

“After careful consideration of all the options available we believe undertaking extensive redevelopment of Spon End will enable us to deliver the transformation our customers have told us they want to see.

“I look forward to hearing feedback on our proposed plans from the community and I really hope our proposed £120 million redevelopment of Spon End is well received.”

Councillor David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said: “We have a real opportunity to transform Spon End, providing good quality affordable housing we really need in Coventry. The views of residents in Spon End are key in shaping this work and driving it forward.”

The demolition of Kerry House, Milestone House and Trafalgar House will start Spring 2023 and if the proposed plans are approved the construction of the first homes will commence in 2024.

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‘I’m so thankful for the support and for being given the tools to turn my life around’ – One of our Whitecross customers is moving into his own home

Posted on May 11th, 2022 by Elaine Davies

One of our customers who moved into our Whitecross supported housing accommodation in Hereford is moving into his own home.

Christopher Doherty, who is known as Jimmy, moved into our 12-bed scheme last September after finding himself homeless.

Jimmy first found himself without a home when his landlady sold the property that he was renting, and he was placed in the Talbot hotel under the winter provision scheme by Hereford Council.

Jimmy said he has a history of alcohol abuse and has worked closely with agencies to reduce his intake, with a view to giving up drink completely. However, he hadn’t been able to achieve this before he moved into Whitecross.

He was also struggling with anxiety and depression as he wasn’t allowed access to his son.

He said: “It was great living at Whitecross as I felt incredibly safe and supported. I was given the tools I needed to turn my life around.

“Colleagues helped me quit drinking, access support and mental health services and were there for me on a daily basis.”

Jimmy has now been offered one of our flats in Hereford to move into.

He said: “It felt amazing being offered this flat. I’ve wished for this to happen to me for eight years. I’m really looking forward to having my own secure home and a place for my son to stay.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff at Whitecross for their amazing support.”

Homeless Hub Coordinator Kerry Darnell said: “We are so pleased to see that Jimmy has secured his own flat and has turned his life around.

“We wish him all the best for the future and with his move into his new flat!”

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We retain ISO 20000 accreditation for our IT services

Posted on May 10th, 2022 by Elaine Davies

Our ICT Team have been awarded the Certificate of Registration for IT Service Management System ISO 20000-1:2018 accreditation for another three years.

ISO 20000 is an international IT standard that allows companies to demonstrate excellence and prove best practice in IT management.

We remain one of approximately 5,000 companies worldwide to be awarded the accreditation following an extensive IT Service Management Audit conducted by the British Standards Institute (BSI).

The accreditation confirms we meet the requirements to establish, implement, maintain and continually improve a service management system (SMS) and recognises the hard work of our ICT team in transforming the quality of our IT services.

The ISO 20000 standard also provides best practice guidance on how we can manage our portfolio of services, keeping them current and constantly adding value.

Our Head of ICT Service Management, Terry Maloney, said: “The BSI undertook an external audit to re-assess our level of compliance against the required standard of ISO 20000 and I’m pleased to say we passed!

“It’s great to see the hard work of our ICT team over the years has paid off and we continue to be recognised in this way.

“The accreditation is a fantastic achievement and it’s valid for another three years.

“Well done everyone in the ICT team and thank you for all your hard work.”

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Coventry City Council and Councillor David Welsh visit St Michael’s Ward in Coventry

Posted on May 4th, 2022 by Elaine Davies

Coventry City Council and Councillor David Welsh were given a tour of Hillfields, part of St Michael’s ward in Coventry, to help develop a neighbourhood plan.

We are working with both Coventry City Council and our customers to develop a neighbourhood plan for the area. Our neighbourhood plan will help us to identify the key issues and to develop actions which address these issues and improve local services.

The key themes included in the neighbourhood plan are people, neighbourhood, homes, and partners.

We are responsible for 750 homes in the area and Coventry City Council is responsible for services such as street cleaning, so by working together to create the plan, we will help make improvements to Hillfields.

Our Chief Operating Officer Mads Nelson said: “It was great to give Councillor Welsh and Coventry City Council a tour of our homes in Hillfields as part of our work together to develop a local neighbourhood plan.

“We’re determined to improve this area of Coventry. Input from the Council and our customers is vital for us to achieve this. We want to provide homes that are a foundation for life and a better-quality environment.

“The plan includes objectives such as improving community safety, maintaining our homes, and improving them to a good standard, and building on existing partnerships with residents. We’re looking forward to working with partners on the neighbourhood plan and seeing the impact it has.”

St Michael’s Ward covers the city centre of Coventry, Hillfields and Charterhouse.

Coventry City Council’s Streetpride Manager Samantha Morris said: “It was good to tour Hillfields with Mads and other representatives from Citizen. We are actively working together on the neighbourhood plan, which is crucial to help improve the area of Hillfields, in order to create an environment that residents and the community to be proud of.”

We are still developing the neighbourhood plan with Coventry City Council and customers, and it is due to be finished in the next month.

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Signature New Homes has sold its 200th home

Posted on April 26th, 2022 by Elaine Davies

Our Sales team has sold more than 200 Signature homes.

Customer Richard has moved into his two-bed home, the Warner, at our St Mary’s Place development in Kidderminster with his wife and daughter.

St Mary’s Place is an exclusive development which is near to Kidderminster town centre.

Richard said that he moved there with his family so they could be near to the family and friends of his wife, Emma.

He said: “This is our first house that we have owned together as a family and it’s lovely. It’s great and we will enjoy living here. We are very happy and are glad that we chose this particular property.

“The location is very good for us. There is a lot going on in the area and we have shops nearby so there is a lot to do. We also have family in the area too.

“My wife is originally from Birmingham, and we wanted to find somewhere suitable for all of us. This place is perfect as it’s a short distance from her family and friends.”

Our St Mary’s Place development is the largest Citizen and Signature New Homes site of mixed tenure.

Sales Advisor Denise Haddon-Freer said: “Congratulations to Richard for being our 200th sale at Signature New Homes. We hope you enjoy your new home and enjoy living at St Mary’s Place.”

Sales Advisor Yvonne Pearce added: “It’s lovely to hear that Richard and his family are settling into their home well. We hope they will be happy there for many years.”

Once St Mary’s Place is completed, it will be made up of 49 shared ownership, 100 outright sale and 91 affordable rented homes.

To reflect its connection to the local area and to add history to the site, the development has been named after the local church – St Mary’s – and the house types have been named after vicars in the local parish. These include the Warner, the Tomlin, the Conway, the Sinclair, the Redfern, the Allister, the Ashcroft, the Hollinghurst and the Aspinal.

For more information about Signature New Homes, visit our website here.

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