Canopy Housing Annual Report 2021-22

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Annual Report 2021 2022

Training has been to the fore over the last twelve months. Yorkshire Building Society’s funding helped launch our new trainee programme, through which young, unemployed people have benefitted from more formal training, a mix of classroom and site-based learning designed to equip them for a future in construction. Every successful graduate leaves with their own PPE and a fully-equipped tool bag.

The Social Enterprise Support Fund has come good too. Thanks to them, we are about to launch year-long paid traineeships for two prospective Properties Workers. By the time we hold our AGM, we should know who the two lucky candidates are. It has been particularly rewarding to see so many applications from among our volunteers. David with some of Canopy’s staff

Hello again...

As I write, it is just three months since coronavirus restrictions were lifted. This time, it looks different. Life is starting to return to normal. Our volunteers are back in force; our trainee programme is running smoothly; staff are back in the offices; and Zoom is now seen as a convenient tool rather than a necessity. It has been wonderful to hear the sound of chattering and laughter, both on site and at our offices.

Over the next year, our Harehills operations will focus around a new project at Bayswater Grove, where we are converting Getaway Girls’ former headquarters into three two-bedroom flats, including our first ever level access accommodation. If you’re in the area, please pop in and say hello.

Or rather, office… Last month, we closed our Bellbrooke base permanently. It will now become a family home for another Canopy self-helper.

Our ambition to become a registered provider of social housing continues at pace. Earlier this year, our rules were modernised, making our Board more transparent and democratic, and ensuring that Canopy’s homes would remain as social housing should we ever run into financial difficulties. As ever, we could not do what we do without financial backing from the charitable trusts who support us, Leeds City Council and our lenders Unity Bank. Thank you for trusting us through the choppy waters of the pandemic.

Likewise, our self-helpers and volunteers who put so much into the homes we create. Two of the most difficult decisions last year were cancelling both our Scarborough trip and our Volunteer/Tenant Christmas Meal. We aim to make up for those cancellations in 2022: Our AGM will be followed by a Family Fun Day with free pizzas. Likewise, our Scarborough Trip is set fair for August. I for one, cannot wait to see our staff, volunteers, tenants and self-helpers all back together again. Thank you every one of you. Take care and stay safe. David Nugent - Chief Executive.

Canopyretrofit withemptypropertiesvolunteersandhomelesspeople,whobecomeourtenantsaftercreating affordablehomesfor themselves.

“I had a sleeping bag & cardboard for floor”

I moved in on day 28 April and Canopy house is nice and big for me. I like my sitting area, I like my flowers, real flowers. Canopy has helped me and my house is beautiful. Very good organisation is Canopy. Valentin Valentin - Started as a trainee, then became a volunteer, self-helper & Canopy tenant.

I was in St George’s Crypt for homeless, people go into crypt to eat & sleep. I was homeless and living on the street. I had a sleeping bag & cardboard for floor, for five years like this, long time. Three of my friends on the street are now dead. People used to put cigarettes or piss in your alcohol tin and cause infections. It’s the truth, people don’t respect homeless people.

Now nice, I got beautiful house with Canopy. I put flowers in my house, I’m very happy. Like bingo! I’m happy with this house, it has a kitchen & everything. House is beautiful. I picked the colours and paint my house with volunteers. Canopy has been good for me. I’m getting benefits now, before I got nothing.

I volunteer at Canopy doing plastering, painting and flooring, but I’m welder, I got diploma and everything. I got my machine, my welding machine and I learnt in Bulgaria, welding bridges. It’s a problem for Bulgarian people to work in UK. If I want legal work, I need a CSCS card, hopefully I will get CSCS with Canopy.

Mark - Canopy staff.

“When Valentin was volunteering, before he became our tenant, he was good and skillful but he was unreliable and I wondered why. He said it was because he didn’t know where he was sleeping, or if he’d be safe at night. So his sleep patterns were all over. Since becoming a tenant he’s been super reliable, he’s been on time every day. I’m sure he’s feeling a lot more settled and sleeping a lot better.”

Volunteering has helped with my recovery, there should be more places like Canopy. What it was, I’ve been drinking since I was 13 and now I’m 39 and it’s basically caught up with me. I lost my friend last year, he was going through similar stuff and his organs gave up, it was a big shock to me, so I agreed to go into full rehab.

For someone like me, in recovery, I get pleasure out of giving back to the community. I’m a qualified plasterer and I save Canopy a bit of money, which they can put to something else, such as carpets & furniture. I get great satisfaction out of that. Canopy’s good for people who are struggling, they are really understanding about what you’re going through. There’s not many places like that and I think a lot of people benefit from it. I’m doing ok at the moment, I had a little wobble about three week ago but I’m back on track now. It’s the hardest thing I’ve done, but I feel a lot better in myself. I’m on medication and I take each day as it comes. It’s a new start, sort of thing. Everyone’s welcoming and you get a lot from it. Like I say, it’s a good organisation to be with and they’ll help you.

“That’s right up my street, doing a bit of plastering & painting”

When I came out, I happened to see a booklet on Canopy and I thought “Wow that’s right up my street, doing a bit of plastering and bit of painting”, so I called Canopy and became a volunteer. It’s been really great for me!

Canopy is a great organisation, it helps a lot of people, it gives them something to focus on.

Michelle - Volunteer Michelle



In June 2021 we were pleased to be able to continue our successful Skills for Harehills Trainee Scheme thanks to funding from Yorkshire Building Society! Our comprehensive 6-week course covers everything you need to know about health and safety in construction. Canopy trainees had the fantastic opportunity of learning a range of renovation skills & gaining valuable experience by helping us to bring empty properties back into use. In addition, they receive one-on-one support from our Training and Skills Coordinator, who helps them with their CVs, job applications, getting CSCS cards and college

34 trainees attended Ages ranged between 15-55 19 went into further education & training 7 went in to employment Canopy2021Trainees-22

Canopy” “I

Thisplacements.yearhas been fantastic for our trainees who went on to further education with Leeds College of Building, Forging Futures or gained their CSCS cards. We also supported 7 trainees in to paid employment in the construction field. peoples at have learned so many new skills at Canopy”

68 volunteers worked 684 hours Ages ranged between 16-73 50% identified as Women 46% Men 4% Trans or Non-Binary Volunteers came from 23 countriesAlbania, Iran, England, Pakistan, Guatemala, Congo, The Gambia, France, Eritrea, Iraq, Nigeria, Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong, Jordon, Italy Palestine, China, Poland, South Africa, Ukraine, Sudan, Singapore, Bulgaria. 29% identified as having a disability “I’ve loved every second”“I’venow got experienceemployersthat appreciate” Canopy2021Volunteers-22 A BIG THANK YOU

This year Canopy is excited to have worked with, and housed, four self-helpers including two people from Womens Aid hostels. The self-helpers worked with our volunteer team to choose their own colour scheme, do DIY and truly make their house their home. Upon moving into their house we support them with setting up their bills, finding ways to reduce their energy consumption and we talk about how to look after their new home. They also had the opportunity to make their gardens more environmentally friendly and learn how to grow some food, such as herbs, veg and salad. Our self-helpers and volunteers built a huge planter for this purpose, which was great for the particpants, the area, the house and the environment. Self-helpers have done a total of 44 days volunteering with Canopy in the last Canopyyear.has always put on social activities and workshops for tenants and volunteers to enjoy, but the pandemic changed things. However, the good news is that this year things are returning to normal. Tenants and volunteers have taken part in workshops ranging from learning how to build natural shelters to making bath bombs and foot scrubs from natural ingradients. Also, at long last, we’re planning to resume our annual Scarborough trip in August 2022, taking tenants and volunteers on two big buses to have a fun day at the seaside...Hallelujah!

“I Really appreciate all the work Canopy have put in to give me the support I needed” Ben - Canopy tenant Self-help

It has also taken time to rebuild our site teams. We have welcomed back volunteers & trainees but in smaller numbers due to Covid, which has had an effect on our schedules. This, and the absence for half of the year of some of our team, has made it challenging to cover sites and voids and still deliver our targets. In spite of all this, thanks to our dedicated properties team we have worked on 14 properties and have housed 13 families. We continue to retrofit our properties with eco-friendly products, such as wood fibre insulation. These aid our tenants to reduce their household bills and helps us to reduce Canopy’s carbon footprint.

The past year has been a particularly hard one for us. After lockdown and restarting with volunteers, we have been playing catch up with our development program; a project, supported by Leeds City Council to bring derelict properties

Finally, we would like to thank all our inspirational and terrific volunteers, self-helpers & trainees for all their hard work in assisting us to achieve what is still a huge amount, in very challenging circumstances.

Money Matters


Financially the pandemic caused another challenging year for Canopy because our tremendous volunteers couldn’t be on site throughout the year requiring a greater use of external contractors. However, our 2021 audited accounts still present a resilient financial position with 77 homes valued at £6m and a £40K surplus with Canopy:We cannot deliver our volunteering, self-help and community support without the backing of charitable trusts and private donors. If you would like to support Canopy, then please visit

Thank you ...

Volunteers: Agron, Aisling, Alex, Beatriz, Bilal, Che, Chris, Cosima, Daniel, Denzel, Ellie, Emma, Esperance, Eve, Fojan, Glenn, Hagos, Hala, Hendrick, James, Jamie, Kathryn, Katie, Liz, Maddy, Mariam, Megan, Mei, Michelle H, Michelle M, Nadine, Natalia, Sam, Sarah, Sharee, Siobhan, Steph, Steve, Tsaeda, Valentin, Valentine, Yoseph Self-helpers: Humera, Karen, Valentin, Sonia.

Board: Keith Gibson, Mhairi Tomlinson, Martyn Broadest, Janet Onslow, Mark Rutherford, Bridget Relton, Anna Lysakowska, Lyn Charters, Leroy Ivanov.


Backers: LandAid, Leeds Community Foundation, The Big Issue Invest, Power to Change, Social Investment Business, Social Enterprise Support Fund, HM Government, The National Lottery Community Fund, Leeds City Council, Yorkshire Building Society, Nationwide Building Society, Arnold Clark Community Fund, The Ubele initiative, Leeds Mencap, Jimbo’s Fund. A big thank you to all individual donors who give as they earn, make one off payments or donate every month.


Friends, Partners and Associates: Michael Wicks at Unity Trust Bank, Steve Ellis at Tekspertise, Laura Moss at Wrigleys, James Hartley at LATCH, Jon Fitzmaurice, Martin and Caroline at Giroscope, Carl Ditchburn at Community Campus, Mark Ireland, Sarbjit Kaur and David Paterson at Leeds City Council, Laura Masheder and Tracey Jukes at Azets, James Shedlow at Castle Sanderson, Anj Handa, Anna Pickup, Mark Pearson, Paul Cloke at Emmaus, Mike Orgill and Andrew Boyd at Keepmoat, Natalie, Scott, Sarah and Fran at Simon On The Streets, Simeon Perry, Adam Smith, Siobhan Cooper at Keepmoat, Steve Hoey, Lucy the Mermaid, Claude Hendrickson, BBC Radio Leeds, Lewis, Debbie, Cass and Bryony at Locality, Carbon Project, Icon Ltd, Forging Futures Campus and Same Skies Think Tank, Ewan Metcalf, HumanKind, Engage Leeds, Youth Justice Team, Compton Job Shop, Gabriel Kamei, Timber Wolves, Voluntary Action Leeds.

Trainees: Abi, Agron, Alex W, Amy, Callum, Damian, Daniel K, Daniel L, Ivan, Jabbi, John, Kathryn, Krzysztof, Laurence, Leroy, Mirek, Phoenix, Robert, Valentin, Yoseph. All our tenants, staff and contractors.

Everyone at Canopy knows Che and he has a special sign for each Canopy staff member, which are often funny and usually relate to hairstyles.


All our volunteers are fantastic, but here we’d like to give special thanks to Che, who has been volunteering at Canopy for well over 10 years. Che is deaf but doesn’t let that get in the way of helping those in housing need; we’ve lost count of how many houses he’s helped to do up!


Che loves his fish & chips at lunchtime, after a hard morning volunteering, and he’s an avid railway fan, owning his own extensive train set. He’s always excited about volunteering and is always the first person to put his name down for Canopy trips. Thank you Che for being such a shining star, Canopy wouldn’t be the same without you. A long

Canopy Housing 66 Burley Lodge Road www.canopyhousing.orginfo@canopyhousing.org0113LS6Leeds1QF2946868Emailus:Visitus: 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 “Learning here is so easy, it’s fun!”