We’ve extended our employment support service to Birmingham and Coventry

Posted on August 13th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

We have launched an Employment Coaching Service in Coventry, Birmingham, and the surrounding areas to help our customers achieve their employment aspirations.

The Employment Coaching Service is part of the Money Advice service and supports customers with access to employment, education and training opportunities and helps them sustain their tenancies.

The service helps with:

 

The service launched on the 24 May 2021 and has already supported 45 people to date.

Our Employment Coach Beki Hay said: “I’m delighted to launch our new Employment Coaching Service in Coventry and Birmingham. I am currently supporting 25 customers at varying stages of their career journey and it’s great seeing them grow and develop in terms of their skills and confidence.

“I have supported our customers with CV writing, coaching for interviews, completing job applications, job searching, providing several foodbank vouchers and I recently successfully applied to the David Scott Trust for funding to allow one customer to access public transport to attend job interviews.

“It is a brilliant service and I’m building fantastic links through networking with other supporting agencies and service providers. This means I have been able to refer customers with multiple issues to receive appropriate support externally whilst I continue to work with them.

“We still have some spaces available to work with customers, so if anyone has a customer in need of employment support please do get in contact.”

To take part in the scheme, individuals must be a Citizen customer or live in a Citizen property (this includes shared ownership).

They must also have the right to work in the UK, be of working age, be looking for work/education or training, and they can’t be in employment, work, or training already.

Our Director of Housing Peter Gill added: “It’s fantastic that we have launched a new employment service to help customers in Birmingham, Coventry and the surrounding areas.

“It’s brilliant that we have been in touch with 45 people so far and we are looking forward to helping many more customers in the future!”

To find out more about the service, email: Citizen.moneyadvice@citizenhousing.org.uk or call us on 0300 790 6555.

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Our Communications Team is shortlisted for two team awards

Posted on August 12th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

Our Communications Team has been shortlisted for two prestigious awards.

The team has made the final of Best Public Sector or Not for Profit Team at the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC) Awards, and the Sales, Communications and Marketing Team of the Year category at the Housing Heroes Awards.

The announcement follows our Gold award for Best Intranet at the Internal Communication and Engagement Awards last month.

The IoIC awards celebrate the best of the work communication professionals do and the Housing Heroes Awards celebrate the best teams in the housing sector.

Our Director of Communications Steve Hayes said: “This is great news for our team and for Citizen.

“The Communications Team has been on quite a journey over the last few years and everyone has worked extremely hard to get us to the level we are operating at now.

“The awards are recognition for a huge amount of work that has been delivered in that time. It is particularly satisfying to be recognised for the work we have done to engage our colleagues, which has been so important during a period of transformation and change.

“Our fingers are crossed for the ceremonies in September and whatever happens the team should be very proud.”

The Housing Heroes Awards take place on Tuesday 7 September at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester. You can find out more about the awards and read the shortlist here.

The IoIC awards take place in London on Friday 24 September. You can find out more about the awards and read the shortlist here.

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Work starts on our Triton Road development in Nuneaton

Posted on August 11th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

Work has started on our Triton Road development in Nuneaton.

We are working with Seddon to build 29 affordable homes to help with local housing demand.

The £3.3m scheme will be a variety of housing types to create a thriving community for families and older people. It will be made up of six two-bedroom houses, 13 three-bedroom houses and a block of ten two-bedroom apartments.

Our Executive Director of Development Nick Byrne said: “We’re pleased to see work starting on the Triton Road site in Nuneaton and, once completed, it will provide much needed homes for people living in Nuneaton.

“It’s good to be working with Seddon again on a brownfield site in Nuneaton and we are looking forward to seeing the site progress.”

To lower residents’ energy bills the homes will have uPVC doors and windows, as well as fully insulated floors, walls, and lofts.

Business Unit Director at Seddon, Rob Moore, said: “Affordable rent homes are key if we are to empower people to feel truly part of their communities.

“Our customer-led approach to housing delivery is central to everything we do at Seddon. Triton Road embodies the successful relationship we’ve built with Citizen, an organsiation that is committed to rebalancing the issue of housing affordability across the West Midlands.

“This is a fantastically designed and well-situated development, which will transform disused brownfield land to create a real sense of place and community for residents.”

The development is located south of the town centre and is in close proximity to excellent community facilities, such as Pingles Leisure Park, Wembrook Community Centre, and several nurseries, primary schools, and secondary schools.

Work is due to be completed in summer 2022.

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We visit Totally Modular factory to see progress on extended modular home pilot

Posted on August 10th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

Officials have visited the Totally Modular Factory to see progress on our extended modular pilot.

The factory was visited by representatives including our Executive Director of Development Nick Byrne, our Director of Development Richard Whittaker, Assistant Director at Homes England Sharon Kelly and Coventry City Councillor David Welsh.

The scheme will provide 24 homes on eight former garage sites in Coventry.

We are working in partnership with Totally Modular, Homes England and Coventry City Council to deliver the development.

Work has been progressing well in the Totally Modular factory, and officials were able to see three of the bungalows at different build stages in production with the steel frame erected for one of the four bed homes.

The multi-million-pound project will see ex-garage sites regenerated into highly efficient family homes and bungalows at: Wedon Close, Bradney Green, Coleman Street, Fletchamstead Highway, Attoxhall Road, Capmartin Road, Shepherd Close and Thimbler Road.

Our Director of Development Nick Byrne said: “It’s brilliant to visit the Totally Modular factory and see the homes progressing.

“Following our initial small-scale pilot, where two homes were transported to Littlethorpe, we have decided to increase scale and work on a larger pilot. These will help to provide more homes in Coventry for our customers.

“We’re pleased the homes will be A rated meaning high energy efficiency and lower energy bills for customers.

“We look forward to seeing the homes progress over the next few months.”

The homes are being built in the Totally Modular factory in Cradley Heath, near Dudley, and will be transported across to the various sites in Coventry by lorry.

The homes will then be craned into place.

There are many benefits to modular housing including high energy efficiency and reduced fuel bills. The actual running costs for the Littlethorpe pilot are approximately £1.48 a day for a three-bedroom, five-person home.

Managing Director of Totally Modular John Connolly said: “It was great to welcome our partners Citizen, Coventry City Council and Homes England in witnessing the evolution of factory built, energy efficient affordable homes planned for delivery throughout Coventry, which could well be the biggest regeneration of garage sites throughout England.

“This pioneering delivery can solve so many issues in support of the ‘A Rated’ new housing being brought forward for the citizens of Coventry where blight, anti-social behaviour can be eradicated within the community and a sense of pride can be realised by all stakeholders.”

The development has been part funded by Homes England and we will promote the bungalows to those who need to downsize their home.

Assistant Director Affordable Housing at Homes England Sharon Kenny said: “Providing good quality homes in the communities where they’re most needed can present significant challenges, so it’s great that our Affordable Housing Programme can support a zero carbon project that’s providing creative, people-focused solutions to housing need.”

Councillor David Welsh from Coventry City Council said: “We saw the success of the first pilot scheme at Littlethorpe in Willenhall and I’m delighted that we will now see a further 24 homes at eight garage sites in Coventry.

“The system used, which means homes are transported into place is fascinating and is an important part of our strategy of tackling the housing shortage in Coventry and helping provide future homes for our younger people, and address homelessness.

 

“Modular is an efficient way of bringing brownfield sites back into use. It’s great to see the way the homes are put together before being moved into their final resting place on brownfield sites across Coventry.”

The developments are due to be completed early next year.

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‘We will wear the kit with pride and play football the way my boys strived to’ – BRS United play their first match in Citizen kit

Posted on August 9th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

We’re delighted to reveal the kit that Citizen has sponsored as our Neighbourhood Warden George Swain set up a football team in memory of his sons.

Ben and Reece Swain both died at the ages of 27 and 25 respectively from an incredibly rare condition called Cystinosis – a genetic disease which causes crystals to form in the body.

George set up a JustGiving page to cover the costs of setting up Ben Reece Swain United which raised £865 and we agreed kit sponsorship of £650.

On Saturday, the team played in their Citizen kit for the first time.

George said: “Being able to set up the team and secure kit sponsorship has meant the world to me, my family and everyone involved with the team.

“We are so thrilled to finally have a football team playing in memory of Ben and Reece – doing what both boys loved. It’s amazing!

“We will all wear the kit with pride and will play the game in the way the boys strived to do with passion and respect.”

The team played against Bluepool Football Club at the New Irish Centre in Birmingham and won 8 – 2.

Goals were scored by Nathan Hancock, Gordon Swain, Matt Albutt and Jordan Conway.

The condition which Ben and Reece had is incredibly rare, with only two or three cases diagnosed in the UK every year – and George says his family is the only one in the world with three people who have the condition. George’s daughter Bettie has also been diagnosed with cystinosis.

Both Ben and Reece were avid fans of Liverpool FC, which is why George set up the football team in their name.

Our Director of Communications Steve Hayes added: “We are so pleased to have helped George set up this team in memory of his sons and we hope they have a successful season!”

George has recruited all the players for the team which will compete in the Birmingham and District League in Division Five this season.

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Lea Castle development awarded Building with Nature Design award

Posted on July 27th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

Our Lea Castle development in Kidderminster has been awarded a Building with Nature Design Award for putting nature at the heart of the development.

We are working with Vistry Partnerships to build 600-homes on the 49-hectare site.

The awards, run by Building with Nature, recognise efforts to include nature in the development by designing and delivering a great living environment for both people and wildlife.

The Building with Nature framework purposefully encourages the incorporation of sustainable solutions and the use of nature-friendly features within a design, by assessing its approach to green infrastructure that considers peoples’ wellbeing, water management and wildlife habitat improvements.

Throughout the design process, sustainability has been at the forefront of our Lea Castle development, with the scheme maintaining extensive woodland areas while introducing areas of enhanced habitat.

There are also open spaces, play areas and trails available across the development.

Our Executive Director of Development, Nick Byrne, said: “We are thrilled that our Lea Castle development has been given a Building with Nature Design Award.

“Lea Castle is our largest development to date and putting nature at the heart of the development will create a lovely atmosphere for our customers to live in. We want our homes to make a real difference to our customers’ lives and having a development built around nature trails and open spaces will help to achieve this.”

Managing Director at Vistry Partnerships West Midlands Darren Beale said: “We are delighted to be recognised at a national level for our Lea Castle development. In Kidderminster, we have gone above and beyond the norm by creating something which allows wildlife and people to live together in perfect harmony by placing sustainability at the heart of all decision making.”

We also worked with environmental consultants, The Environment Partnership (TEP), to ensure the project met the award’s guidelines.

TEP’s Senior Landscape Architect, and qualified Building with Nature assessor, Anna Miroslaw, added: “We have worked hard to ensure that the landscape design reflects the unique and special character of this site, whilst also creating an environment in which the new community can flourish.

“The open spaces, play features and active trails have been designed for all to enjoy; sustainable drainage features allow rainwater to replenish the natural water table and carefully selected planting will enrich biodiversity.”

Building with Nature’s Standards provide built environment specialists with evidence-based, how-to guidance on delivering high-quality green infrastructure.

Work is continuing on the £137m development at Kidderminster which will be made up of 240 affordable homes and 360 outright sale. It will take up to eight years to complete.

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Next phase of Spirit Quarters regeneration in Coventry gets green light

Posted on July 21st, 2021 by Elaine Davies

Alongside national housebuilder, Keepmoat Homes, we have been granted planning permission from Coventry City Council for the delivery of 94 brand new homes as part of the Spirit Quarters regeneration programme in North East Coventry.

The multi-million-pound partnership led Spirit Quarters project, will enter its fifth phase following the completion of phases one to four which have delivered 979 new homes in the area, 275 of which were allocated for affordable housing in partnership with us.

The latest phase will comprise of a further 74 properties for the open market, comprising of two, three, and four-bedroom houses and 20 affordable homes.

Our Director of Regeneration Services Kevin Roach said: “We are delighted to be entering the next phase of our ambitious Spirit Quarters regeneration project.

“We believe passionately in the power of transforming communities here at Citizen and that successful regeneration is about much more than bricks and mortar. It means creating the right mix of homes and environment so that people value and stay in their area; it means creating real ownership in a community and investing in education, health, employment, transport, and leisure.

“The change that has taken place in the area and continues to take place would not have been possible without the continued drive, support and commitment of the community and our partner Moat House Community Trust.”

Charlotte Goode, Regional Managing Director at Keepmoat Homes, said: ‘’We’re thrilled to have received planning permission for the fifth phase of construction at Spirit Quarters. This significant regeneration project will not only deliver 94 much-needed new homes to the area, but every aspect of the development has been designed to fulfil the needs of this brand-new community.

“We’ve already welcomed over 700 new homeowners to Spirit Quarters and are excited to start construction on phase five, which will provide even more new homes for both first time buyers and those looking to up or downsize.

“This latest planning approval is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen our already existing presence in the city and is another positive step for our ambitious growth plans in the West Midlands.’’

Dianne Williams, Chief Executive of Moat House Community Trust, said “It is very exciting to be able to announce that the next phase of the redevelopment will be starting very soon and that we are entering into the final stages of delivering the vision that the residents had to transform their area through physical and social regeneration and investment.”

Cllr David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing at Coventry City Council, added: “Spirit Quarters is not only creating much-needed housing in the city, it is building a community.

“It is providing attractive housing with open spaces and is exactly the sort of development we are looking for as we work to meet housing demand for growing families, first time buyers and everyone in between.

“The first four phases have helped to transform the area and these latest plans will continue that good work.”

Construction is due to commence in the summer of 2021, with the first homeowners due to move in June 2022. The development will take around two and a half years to complete.

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Our intranet has been shortlisted for another national award!

Posted on July 13th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

Our intranet, Oneplace, has been shortlisted for an Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC) Award.

We have been shortlisted alongside the likes of Just Eat, John Lewis and Transport for London in the Best Intranet category.

The shortlisting follows our success in the Internal Communication and Engagement Awards where we beat organisations like Nestle to win Gold for Best Intranet.

The IoIC Awards champion the impact that internal communication has on organisations, society and people at work. They celebrate the best of the work communication professionals do every day.

Our Director of Communications Steve Hayes said: “In such a challenging year for colleagues it’s great to see the work we have put into Oneplace recognised again.

“Over the last few years we have been through a huge amount of change at Citizen and Oneplace has been integral to us communicating all that change successfully. It has also been a vital place for colleagues to connect with each during the pandemic.

“The Communications Team has worked very hard with the ICT Team to make Oneplace the vibrant, active community it is today. But in reality, it is all colleagues who make Oneplace what it is and it has been your willingness to share stories and contribute that has transformed it into a central hub and an integral tool in us embedding our culture and values.

“We beat some really big hitting organisations at the ICE Awards and to be named alongside huge names again at the IoIC Awards is fantastic. There’s no doubt this helps to put us on the map as a high-performing organisation doing sector-leading work.”

“We have our fingers crossed for the ceremony later this year and I want to thank everyone who has worked hard to make Oneplace a success.”

The ceremony will take place in London on Friday 24 September.

Find out more about the awards and read the shortlist here.

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Our intranet wins Gold at the Internal Communication and Engagement awards

Posted on July 8th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

Our intranet Oneplace has won Gold in the Best Intranet category at the Internal Communication and Engagement Awards.

The prestigious national awards, run by Communicate Magazine, took place last night in central London.

We were nominated alongside Nestle in the Best Intranet category and other finalists included Bupa, Heinz and BT.

The awards recognise the outstanding work organisations have undertaken across the UK to engage colleagues.

Our Director of Communications Steve Hayes said: “It’s fantastic that Oneplace has won Gold in the Best Intranet category at the Internal Communication and Engagement Awards.

“Working closely with our colleagues in our ICT Team the Communications Team have made major improvements to Oneplace in recent times and this award really shows how far we have come.

“Our improvements to Oneplace have been integral to us embedding a positive culture here at Citizen and it has become a central hub for colleagues.

“I am so proud of the team behind the development Oneplace, thank you for all your hard work and commitment to making it the best place it can possibly be for colleagues.

“Our work to continuously improve Oneplace to inform, engage and inspire colleagues will continue.”

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Recruitment for our Customer Assurance Committee starts today!

Posted on July 7th, 2021 by Elaine Davies

A new recruitment campaign for our Customer Assurance Committee has started today.

The committee launched in early 2021 forms a central part of our approach to make sure our customers are involved in our work and get the opportunity to shape our services.

This is an important part of our strategic objective to improve our offer to our customers, which is part of our looking out for our citizens pledge in our 2020-23 business strategy.

We are accepting applications until Monday 19 July and we’re particularly interested in seeing applications from customers in our high-rise blocks and leaseholders.

We are offering £2,500 a year for the positions or a voluntary position as an alternative if a customer’s income would be affected by the annual payment.

Emails have been sent to all customers today sharing with them our dedicated web page for applications.

The web page includes links to a recruitment pack and other useful documents as well as an application form which customers can fill in on the webpage or download and return to us. We can also send application forms to anyone who isn’t online.

Will Walker, our Director of Transformation, said: “Our Customer Assurance Committee has already been involved in some hugely important projects to steer our work and we want this to continue.

“We’re now looking for some new, enthusiastic people to join the passionate customers on our committee and continue its great work.

“Our recruitment campaign starts today and I encourage colleagues who know customers they think may be suitable and interested in the roles to direct them to the web page to take a look and consider applying – especially customers who live in our high-rise blocks and leasehold customers.”

Find out more and apply here

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