Welcome to Canopy 2017: Another successful year, but also one of significant change. Steve Hoey left Canopy after almost ten years at the helm, whilst our long-term Finance Officer Dave Collier, chose to retire. We wish them both well for the future. Canopy has changed immeasurably during their time: The property portfolio is twice the size it was in 2007 and significantly, more than half of the newer properties are owned by Canopy, rather than leased from others. We cannot do what we do without the hard work of our self-helpers and volunteers. Canopyâ€™s growth is testament to their willingness to â€œbe the change they want to see in their livesâ€?. Their passion is humbling and has been recognized through two further citywide awards. Looking forward, we aim to bring even more empty homes back into management, supporting self-helpers and volunteers, whilst tackling homelessness and improving the communities in which we work. With the support of our benefactors and through our partnership with Leeds City Council, we aim to acquire a further fifteen properties over the next two to three years. The enthusiasm and considerable skills I have encountered among our staff, tenants, volunteers, board and supporters during my short time here give me confidence that Canopy can achieve this with aplomb.
David Nugent Director
Canopy renovates empty properties in Leeds with volunteers and homeless people, who become our tenants after creating good quality affordable homes for themselves. Canopy improves community cohesion and contributes to the regeneration of disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
What is a self-helper?
The three core values of Canopy are the self-help model, the volunteer programme and tenant engagement.
A self-helper is a homeless person who has the opportunity to work alongside volunteers to renovate and decorate a canopy property that will become their home.
What is the volunteer programme? The volunteer programme gives people the opportunity to learn construction skills, make new friends, contribute to reducing homelessness and to receive a diverse range of support.
What is tenant engagement? Tenant engagement is about empowering both new and existing tenants to get the best outcomes in their lives. We do this by creating a homely environment for them to live in, creating a social network and supporting them to live independently.
Our Self-Helpers An Interview with Eva - A self-helper and Canopy tenant Q: Did the thought of self-help encourage you to choose a house with Canopy? A: Yes definitely, most places treat you like a number but Canopy didn’t. I liked the idea of selfhelp because you get to do up your own house and have a feel for it and the area. I met new people too. I think self-help is a really great idea. Q: What was your first day on site like? A: Very fun but very hectic. It was the last day finishing someone else’s house. Two teams were working together at full speed to get it finished. I didn’t get to know many people on the first day but it settled down after that. Q: Has self-helping had any long-term benefits? A: Yes, I have moved into my house and I still come in every week to volunteer. It’s good for me. I work at a desk for part of the week so it’s refreshing to do DIY. My communication skills are developing as well as my practical skills. I always liked DIY but I have learnt more things. Q: Has the experience encouraged you stay longer in your house? A: Yes! I actually had an unexpected opportunity to leave the house but I watched everyone put time and effort into it to make it special for me so I wanted to stay. I am happy I stayed. Q: How would you describe self-help to someone who needed a house with Canopy? A: Self-help is a great opportunity to get involved with the future of your house. You feel like you are doing something and achieving something rather than sitting back. You have the option to choose your own colours and it reflects who you are in your own home. It makes you feel better and you appreciate it more. You also work with people and communicate, so your social skills improve. Not only that but you also learn practical skills for future jobs.
Our Volunteers Meet Cezza and Lionel... Cezza started volunteering one day a week on site with us in November. He had struggled in school and found he enjoyed working with his hands much more than sitting in a classroom. From his first day on site Cezza has impressed the Canopy team with his good work ethic and ability to pick up new skills. Cezza now also volunteers with our maintenance worker, Patrick. Whereas on site he was working on empty homes, with Patrick he is working on tenanted properties. Cezza has taken to this extra responsibility with flying colours and is becoming a true professional. Currently he is looking forward to fitting a brand new kitchen and is very enthusiastic about giving plastering a go. Having seen so much great potential in Cezza we are currently helping him look into apprenticeships and courses he could take at Leeds College of Building. We are so excited to see what the future holds for our talented young worker!
Lionel got a job! Lionel has volunteered for many years and is almost part of the fixture and fittings here at Canopy. He has always been good at getting temping jobs, but has struggled to make them permanentâ€Ś until now that is! With support from Canopy and through his own tenacity and shining personality, he has landed a permanent job painting and decorating at CleanStart. Well done Lionel! We are so pleased you have found your niche in employment.
Our Tenants This year has been fantastic for engaging with our tenants. We have seen more of them at social activities and listened to their valuable voices more than ever. 2017 started off with a very successful Annual General Meeting (AGM). We worked hard to make it as accessible and appealing as possible by using innovative ways of boosting attendance. We organised catering, hired a bouncy castle and held a raffle. This was a massive triumph with a huge increase on the number of tenants attending and passing on their valuable feedback. The year continued with a great trip to Scarborough, a 5 a-side footy game and the Canopy Christmas meal (where we saw a record 90 people attend!). We also had a very special event where a Canopy tenant, Sophia, cooked a curry for everyone at Canopy. Sophia said “I love cooking and feeding people and canopy is like my family, so I wanted to do something nice for them as a thank you for what they have done for me.” Events like this are what Canopy is all about – providing a solid foundation from which sustainable and fruitful communities can thrive. A large part of this success has been down to regular communication with our tenants, via a newsletter and Facebook.
Tackling Fuel Poverty We have continued to offer help and advice to our tenants to prevent them from experiencing fuel poverty and educating them on how to live more energy efficiently. We are pro-active and give training on energy related topics, such as heating your house in a more cost-effective way, how to avoid damp & condensation and reducing energy bills. We have delivered energy efficiency training to 20 of our households, leading to an average saving of ÂŁ143 per property on their utility costs.
Improving Neighbourhoods and Creating Green Spaces In April 2018, Canopy started a new venture, with help from HP Source, a local charity that aim to improve health and wellbeing through improving the environment. We are working with our tenants to help design and create lush new growing spaces in their yards. Weâ€™ll be teaching them to grow their own fruit and vegetables, and we hope this will have a ripple effect with surrounding neighbours being inspired to get growing! This year we aim to look at further innovative ways we can build on our tenant engagement by working with other organisations and keeping up to speed with best practice. We are very excited for what the next 12 months will bring!
Our Volunteer Programme Volunteers are the heart of Canopy and we welcome people from all walks of life. The mix of the volunteer team is important and this year people have come from near and far. Our volunteers have been very diverse in terms of culture, ages, countries of origin and ethnicity and we have supported refugees from Syria, Algeria and Eritrea which has helped to create a wonderful mix of people! The volunteers bring life and vitality to Canopy and in turn gain skills, support and friendships. In summary, the volunteer program has multiple benefits for everyone involved and has a lasting and positive effect on people’s lives. Without our volunteers we wouldn’t be able to turn around half as many houses in the space of a year. We are so grateful for every single person who shows up, puts their work boots on and mucks in. It is important to us that we offer our volunteers as much help as they offer us. As such this year we have assisted volunteers with a variety of things from applying for driving licenses to being granted leave to remain. We always try our hardest to support each person with whatever their own unique needs are. I would like to take this space to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has given up their free time to volunteer with us this year. We wouldn’t be Canopy without you!
‘Canopy are a good bunch . As a volunteer they really look after you. You learn new skills that really come in handy in life and could also lead to employment. As a tenant they really look after you, making sure your house is nice and furnished before u move in so when you do move in u can relax. As an organisation, fantastic , the work you ALL put in is amazing and makes a LOT of people very happy. We love our house.’ ‘Just
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Our Awards A habit worth keeping... Canopy gained international recognition after winning the World Habitat Award in 2016, in partnership with Giroscope of Hull. In 2017, the Canopy model continued to attract attention by winning Leeds City Councilâ€™s Partner of the Year Award and a Jo Cox Compassionate City Award. Just recently Canopy also hosted a Canadian project called Raising the Roof which aims to prevent youth homelessness. They travelled all the way from Canada to learn more about our self-help model and volunteer programme. Additionally, we have had visits from fledgling organisations from around the UK wishing to learn from Canopy and start their own community-focused projects. Canopy has also been promoted through the media in early 2018, with BBC Radio Leeds and Made in Leeds Television making informative and positive broadcasts about Canopy. We have been fortunate to have our work highlighted in these various ways and the recognition is great and much appreciated. However, it is important that we continue to listen to our members and regularly review how we do things at Canopy. We need to be aware of what is happening nationally and always look to improve by meeting with and learning from other organisations. In this way Canopy will continue to do what we do best; helping people improve their lives.
Our Properties 2017 has been as usual a very busy year. In the last few years we have seen our property portfolio steadily rise. Canopy now manages 71 properties, of which 19 are owned. We have refurbished, or turned over, 21 properties of which, 5 are long-term empties that we have completely renewed. This is fantastic as it means that we can help more people find a nice and comfortable house they can call home. It also provides us more houses for our volunteers to sink their teeth into. Thanks to Leeds City Council and their Right to Buy Replacement Program, Canopy has been able to buy properties from the private housing market and create new social housing. As per our model, these properties are long-term empties and Canopy refurbish them to a high standard. This year saw us buying 5 houses. This meant that we were able to recruit a new site worker and have 2 volunteer sites. It also means we will now be able to extend this program for the next 3 years buying and refurbishing 5 properties each year.
The Counting House Canopy had another strong year financially. Our core rental income was £510,000; an increase of 4% on the previous year. Our activities attracted more than £211,000 of trust income into the areas in which we operate. This allowed us to deliver enhanced support to our residents and a full volunteer programme. During the year we purchased 5 properties for £350,000 and spent over £84,000 refurbishing them. We also spent over £65,000 on major repairs to our existing housing stock. Despite borrowing an additional £212,000 last year to fund the purchase of new properties, our borrowing levels remain at under 40% of the value of the organisation. Financial management areas we focused on during the year were ensuring rent arrears were dealt with effectively but sympathetically and that void periods when properties did not have a tenant were kept to a minimum.
Your Donations There are more ways than one to support Canopy. We know that not everyone has the time to commit to weekly volunteering and donning a boiler suit isn’t for everyone. If you would like to help Canopy continue it’s work, donating could be the answer. Donations help us to complete a lot of our work – from buying new safety boots for volunteers to purchasing the houses we renovate. We are incredibly grateful for any and all donations as they all help us maintain our work. If you are interested in making a donation to Canopy you can find simple instructions on how to donate via LocalGiving, PayPal or by a bank transfer at: http://canopyhousing.org/donate-now/ We ask that those who are able consider making their donation monthly, as continued support of our work makes a huge difference. A massive thank you to all our donors for supporting us to address homelessness in Leeds.
Trusts & Grant Funders; Thank you for your support â€“ our indivi -dual friends, and the many Charitable Trusts that provided grants during 2017. The Clothworkers Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, LandAid Charitable Trust, Nationwide Foundation, YorHub4Good Fund, Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, Co-op Local Community Fund, Northern Gas Networks, Efficiency North, World Habitat Awards, Waitrose Supermarket. Your generosity made a massive difference to our work and was greatly apprecia -ted by our staff, tenants and volunteers. The Staff Team; David, Sharon, Stuart, Alex, Lucia, Rosie, Gary, Mark, Sarah, Patrick, John, Laura, Jasmine, Joseph, Kirsti, Dave C, Steven L, Steve H. Friends & Partners; Voluntary Action Leeds, Groundwork, Hyde Park Source, Sarah Neville Re-making Leeds, Caroline Lee Efficiency North, Refugee Council, Diane Bland National Energy Action, Community Campus 87, Giroscope, Latch, Gipsil, Steve Tekspertise, Amanda, everyone at CleanStart, Rob, Gill Empty Homes Doctor, Steve Hoey Leeds Community Homes, Neil Evans, Mark Ireland and all his team at Leeds City Council, James Kilroy, Jon Fitzmaurice Self-help-housing.org, Sarah May Sarbjit Kaur, Cllr Debra Coupar, Cllr Richard Lewis, his colleagues at David Ireland and Duncan, Locality, John World Habitat, Pete James Castle Sanderson Solicitors, David Knight, Mumtaz Airedale Architects, Paul Kingfisher Windows for still hugely supporting us, David Glew Leeds Beckett University, Wrigleys Solicitors, RealpeopleHR, Clair Unity Trust Bank, SallyAnne, Rosie, Carlos Leeds Community Foundation, Tracey Jukes Garbutt and Elliot, Wayne Unity Housing, Jo Cox family (Compassionate City Awards) Board Members; Keith Gibson, Bridget Relton, Mark Rutherford, Janet Onslow, Steve Dawes, John Bindley, Mark Kelso, Mhairi Tomlinson, Martyn Broadest. Volunteers & Tenants that helped out tirelessly in 2017: Clair, Rebecca, Che, Mark, Andrew F, Andrew J, Debra, Tony, Neil, Alex, Rob, Dawit, Lionel, Stuart, Nour, Abdel, Mohammed, Peter, Eva, Mussie, Damian, Samra, Natasha, Jim, Michelle, Emily, Chris, Mason, Leanne, Suliman, Abdullah, Sara, Cezza, Charlie, Callum B, Sadiq, Tilly, Ian, Sian, Jill, Ashley, Vincent, Rachel, Eva, Leshan, Adiam, Jay and Callum L. Individual Donors A big thank you to the number of individuals that give as they earn, make one off payments and donate on monthly direct debits. Your contributions are valued and make a big difference to the lives of many of our project members. Thank you so much.
â€˜Canopy it is like my family. I love Canopy. It means life.â€™ Canopy Housing is a registered society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. Regulated by the FCA number 28665R. Exempt charity status number XR21692
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Created by Lucy Martin Gary Trewin and Laura Barker
Canopy housing is a not for profit housing project that supports volunteers and people who are in housing crisis. The new Canopy Annual Repo...
Published on Jun 22, 2018
Canopy housing is a not for profit housing project that supports volunteers and people who are in housing crisis. The new Canopy Annual Repo...