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Canopy Housing Project Leeds Annual Report 2013-14


Canopy renovates empty properties with volunteers and homeless people, who become our tenants after creating good quality affordable homes for themselves. We bring derelict property back into use, house homeless families, train unemployed people in construction skills, create jobs, improve community cohesion and contribute to the regeneration of disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Steve Hoey, Director


2013-14 has been an amazing year for Canopy We exceeded our own expectations in 2013-14, supporting eight of our long-term unemployed volunteers to find work, and we now house over 100 people. We were successful in winning a contract from the government under the Empty Property Community Grants Programme (EPCGP), to purchase and repair ten long term empty homes. We were also awarded significant grants by charitable trusts. Income approximately doubled compared to the previous year; we created six new jobs within Canopy, improving our administration and increasing our capacity to carry out renovations, training and support.

We completed the super-insulation of two Victorian terraced houses in partnership with Leeds City Council and LEDA. We spoke at several events and were given the Duke of York Community Initiative Award, which was presented by Prince Andrew himself. I hope you enjoy reading the inspiring interviews and stories in this report, which really bring our work to life, and motivate us all as Canopy members. Steve Hoey, Director


Pictured is an example of one of Canopy’s recently finished renovations. In the report you can see what it looked like before, with brown metal shutters on the windows and on subsequent pages, you can read interviews from some of the tenants and volunteers that heled renovate it.


In 2014-15 Canopy will be concentrating upon delivering new homes under the government Empty Property Programme. The contract has generated a large amount of work for us, which is challenging but is also an opportunity to bring more empty homes back into use, as well as strengthening our balance sheet as we will own more property. We would like to invest in our internal capabilities, for example by further improving our safety policy and practice, our administration, housing management and marketing. We are also committed to improving the thermal efficiency of our tenanted houses, in order to reduce harm to the environment due to use of fossil fuels, and to help our tenants, some of whom are struggling to make ends meet and are in fuel poverty. Our stock improvement programme will also include improved safety measures such as internal fire doors for our tenants, as we work towards the standards required as accredited landlords in Leeds.


In 2013, 65 Canopy volunteers contributed an impressive 952 days to Canopy. Together they renovated seven houses, for nine homeless people and their children. As well as two major insulation projects, Canopy offered a one off cold weather payment for tenants struggling to pay their heating bills.


Programme Manager, Alex Leccardi, tells us about the work involved in a recent renovation What condition was Paul and Charlotte’s house in before Canopy got hold of it? “Their house was empty for at least ten years. It was derelict, nothing in it. There had been leaks, and the ceilings had all collapsed and it was just gutted. Everything had to be re-done. A floor had to be put in, one of the external walls was coming away from the house.” And what work did Canopy do? “It was a full insulation project that we did together with Leeds University and SURE insulation in which we retrofitted a Victorian through terrace and completely insulated it so it works with minimum heating & energy costs.” “We put loads of insulation on the internal walls and connected it all the way through so the house was airtight. It then had a brilliant thermal value so there was almost no need to heat the house at all.”

“It is one of our goals to enable tenants to keep the house nice, warm and healthy.” Did Canopy get help with the funding? “We have had Big lottery funding for the Harehills project and also had Leeds City Council funding for materials and some contractors as they wanted to use the house as an eco show-home for any other landlord to see what could be done to a single skin wall house to make it more energy efficient.” Was it helpful having local volunteers? “Volunteers bring a vibrant culture to the project and many manhours and because we have so many people helping, it gets done quite fast, although we do have to teach them. It is really positive and good that they work on the house.”

“The volunteers that work with us then become a social network, a friendship for the homeless person that moves in the house” “The tenant gets to know the area and the people that live in it and that helps them settle in.”


Canopy has a fab tenant worker called vicky. In 2013 she helped nine homeless people settle into their new homes, complete with furniture, bed sheets, pots, pans and the essentials.... water, gas and electricity!


Paul and Charlotte were homeless and volunteered with Canopy to transform a derelict house into their new home What did you do at Canopy? “We did a good half of the work on the house, the flooring, the painting, installing the units and everything else. The carpets got fitted and put up all the cupboards and everything else so I learnt some new stuff doing that and then I became a tenant to that house.” “A few other volunteers helped at the same time and they are all nice and friendly so it’s a good environment to work in. From it being derelict to the house being what it is now, everyone worked on it pretty fast. They do support you and they are all nice people. Everything they have done for me has been fantastic, I wouldn’t change nothing” Were you homeless before then? ”Yes, staying at relatives’ and friends’ and anywhere that we could at first and we went to my cousins in Bradford for a few weeks until the house was done. “

“Being homeless, It’s bad because you don’t know where you are going to be putting your head down, eating or anything. You need somewhere stable, especially when you are having a kid.” Describe the new house now you have finished it. “Everything was near enough how we wanted it, we chose the colours and that. It’s a lot better than I thought it was going to be with all the insulation – I won’t want to move out! The only problem is the living room is quite small for when Maddy starts walking but there’s a big kitchen to make up for that.”

“We’re actually doing alright now, budgeting our money a bit better and Maddy, our baby’s got her own room.“ “She’s going to grow up in a nice stable environment. Charlotte loved Christmas as well. She made her first Christmas dinner and it was nice to see Maddy; she likes her toys.” What would have happened if Canopy wasn’t here? “I wouldn’t like to think – we could be anywhere. Maybe in emergency accommodation. We are planning on staying in this house for a couple of years now, then when Madison gets to about two we may look for somewhere with a garden.”


67% of Canopy’s 65 volunteers have been unemployed for over 6 months. In 2013 the Paul Hamlyn Foundation awarded Canopy a grant to employ a volunteer support worker. It was this support worker, Gary Trewin, that supported Jide with his successful job application.

Tony volunteered with Canopy and has been looking for work for over ten years. This year Tony successfully got a job with Clean Start, painting, decorating and doing house clearances. Well done Tony!!

Jide Simeon, proudly holding his job acceptance letter.


Jide Simeon volunteered with Canopy when he couldn’t find work. What was it like, volunteering with Canopy? “I start four years ago, something like that. At the beginning it looked strange because I haven’t done Canopy before. When you work with so many different people you learn so many things with them. I really enjoy because it is hard to get a job, a full time job.”

“Canopy helps so many people like me. I can find a place to come, and learn and talk to people. It wakes you up, like you have a chance in life, something to do, something to achieve. That’s why I kept coming to Canopy, to learn more!“ “If there are any things going on they will tell me, like a job, a cleaning job that is coming. It’s not just painting and building, you learn starting for job, using the internet, looking for job, looking for things that motivate you.” Can you tell me about your new job? “I spent 6 months with part-time agency before I finally got an application form from the council for a full time job as refuse collector.” “I took my application down to Canopy, I got the help to fill the form, teaching me what to say, explaining to me what I am going to face for interview, how to explain yourself at interview, like what you need to do, what you have been doing with your job. Don’t be panicked, just make sure you be yourself. They helped me fill the application form which was great, I’m very happy for in the future, I may lose this job, get another job, but now I can stand up for myself. I can say, I can fill this application form. “ Tell me about your hopes for the future? “I’m very glad Canopy gave me a hand. Its three months since I got the job. I’ve got an opportunity to pay into a pension! I plan for the future, if I work hard, I am going to buy my own two bedroom flat, having my savings in case, start better life, future, and a family. I might go on holiday next year!”

“Now I can wake up in the morning and say I got a job! I have a future!“


In 2013, Canopy employed six new employees, and four of the successful applicants had begun their life at Canopy as volunteers. 83% of Canopy’s volunteers are disadvantaged for multiple reasons including learning difficulties, language barriers, mental health difficulties, a history of offending and through the impact of being unemployed for a long period of time.

Sarah Walsh, site worker ( far right) with volunteers Julie, Naieed & Dawn


Sarah used to be a volunteer and is now our newest site worker “I’m Sarah, I’m from Leeds. I volunteered with Canopy during the summer whilst I was unemployed. I left Canopy for a job with B&Q and then I was very lucky to get this site worker post at the beginning of December.” What was volunteering with Canopy like? “Volunteering was very good, a chance to get out and do something worthwhile without feeling like I was not worthwhile. When on benefits you tend to get stigmatised and sink into a pit of thinking like that yourself if you don’t have something and someone to focus on and get on with. So it was brilliant and that also was what made me want to work here because of the worthwhile work they are doing and also how they helped people including myself.” How has this experience helped you when you to work with and support other volunteers? “It helps see it from the other side. You need to be able to understand how anyone can end up in these situations, it’s not anybody’s fault or doing. Life can just throw these things at you.”

“Being in both positions really helps, having been a volunteer, having been unemployed, and further back in my past being homeless, having troubles of my own to deal with, helps me see it from the other side.” There are still not many women on building sites, what is it like being a female site worker? “It’s throwing up some interesting opinions from some volunteers! But it is making me chuckle trying to readjust their thinking. I think building work is not ‘men’s work’ or ‘women’s work’, everyone should be able to do what they want to do. It’s fun. Everyone brings different elements and it’s nice to be able to have those conversations!” How have things changed for you, gaining work here? “I am enjoying coming to work, meeting new people, people at the offices, the volunteers and the tenants and I think my husband would probably say I’m nicer to live with because I am enjoying my job!”

“I’m a lot happier to be on track doing something worthwhile and feeling worthwhile.”


The Big Lottery funds some day trips for Canopy volunteers and tenants to celebrate all the hard work that has been done on the houses and give us a chance to get together. “We went to the seaside, it was very nice, we can’t do swimming because it was cold! We play with the castle… Sand Castle. Painting face, things like that. A lot of people, I made a lot of friend, meet everyone and I play with them. We are more than fifty people. That’s why I like it.” Hanan, Canopy Tenant


2013 Figures As a result of gaining a contract with central government to bring 10 additional long term empty homes back into use as affordable homes under the EPCGP, we have seen a temporary increase in our income and a welcome permanent increase in the amount of assets on our balance sheet, because we will own the houses. The large ‘surplus’ recorded on our Income and Expenditure report for 2013 is due to capital grants coming in. These will all be spent on buying houses for people to live in, and so the surplus does not equate to spare cash! Our funders are crucial partners, and have all contributed to our ability to develop, giving us the opportunity to improve and see successes like winning and delivering on the EPCGP contract. They are all named and thanked later in the report. As 2015 approaches, the end of our Big Lottery funded programme is in sight, so we will be planning for the next phase of our work. We hope to continue renovating empty homes with homeless people and volunteers, perhaps in a new area of Leeds. Our training and support programme will continue as we strive to help as many of our unemployed volunteers as possible into courses and jobs.

Govt contract: 33% Grants: 32%

Total income: £929,124

Rent: 34% Donations and interest: 1%

Free cash reserves at the end of 2013: £249,404

Surplus for the year: £357,445

Value of fixed assets: £414,553


The Homes and Communities Agency teamed up with Canopy for their away day and helped on two of our renovations. (Pictured far left) Kingfisher Windows generously donated free windows and doors for all Canopy renovations. The Construction Training Industries Board also helped on one of the renovations and gave valuable advice to volunteers and staff on applying for construction apprenticeships in Leeds. (pictured left)


Thank you for supporting Canopy Canopy remains grateful to all the trusts, companies, organisations and individuals that appreciate and support the work we do. Whether it be awarding grants, pro bono professional services, donations of materials, money, time and moral support, we are extremely grateful. A big thanks to trust funders from 2013: Awards for All, Big Lottery, Comic Relief, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Henry Smith Charity, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, Jimbo’s Fund, Lankelly Chase Foundation, Leeds City Council Green Deal, Nationwide Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Empty Properties Community Grant Programme & the Erach and Roshan Sadri Foundation. Individual donors: Mark, Matthew, Michael, Heather, Nick, Richard, Stephen, David, Esther, Irene, Jean, John, Loarn and.... and the anonymous. And thanks to Canopy’s Partners: Martyn Broadest at Connect Housing Assocation, Mike Chitty, Jon Fitzmaurice at www.self-help-housing.org, Andrew Knightingale, Paul Beetham at Kingfisher Window, Mumtaz, John Leahy & James Shedlow from Castle Sanderson Solicitors, Angela Miles at ADMAS LTD, Rob Greenland & Gill Coupland at Leeds Empties and Steve Dawes. James Pank at Auction House West Yorkshire, Clearway Services, Easaway Environmental, Proten, Dave the Electrician, Paul the Joiner, Ben the Plumber, Paul the Roofer, Sure Insulation, LEDA, Sally-Anne Greenfield at Leeds Community Foundation, Everyone at Leeds Mind, Leeds Women’s Aid, Auditors Ian Pickup & Co, Construction Industries Training Board, Homes and Communities Agency.


Thank you to Canopy Project Members Canopy project members bring together a whole host of knowledge, skills, experience and are good humoured, lively people. Together the project members put in many hours of hard work to transform the derelict houses into homes, and support each other in training, finding work and making our homes a welcoming place. So we would like to thank you all; named here are those participating in 2013: Thank you to Canopy Volunteers: Adele, Andreas, Bridget, Che, Craig, Danny, Dawn, Debra, Dominic, Jide, John, Keith, Lionel, Lucia, Michael, Nicolas, Paul B, Paul B, Paul D, Steve, Tony, Victor, Jamie, Beata, Jean Claude, Janet, Sam, Nemeri, Tim, Adam, Jessica, Maxine, Papi, Elliot, Monika, Daniel, Kris, Omar, Abolfayaz, Sam, John, Jiri, Julijana, Naeid, Mohammed, Emmanuel, Latifa, Nasra, Matthew, Marek, Angelika, Charlotte, Paul, Laura, Aaron, Andrew, Yohannes, Emma, Dani, Daniel, Anthony & Adam. And Canopy Tenants: Beata, Julijana, Arnie, Sabeena, Luke, Zara, Jamie, Marie, Lamine, Mark, Adam, Nasra, Patrick, Rebecca, Derek, Charine, Lemarle, Kimberely, Husna, Richard, Victor, Pieter & Noshidah, Barry, Fahrad & Rowshan, Doreen, Bridget, Al, Manny, Jamila, Yemane & Abadit, Hava & Mustafa, Phil, Daniel, Michael, Gilbert, Anthony, Paul, Keelie, Mohammed & Sara, Marek & Angelika, Hollie, Nemeri & Hanan, Jessica, Omar & Intesit, Charlotte & Paul. A farewell and best wishes to: Lensey, Adele, Safia, Adam, Carmen, Kerry, Freddy & Katie. Management Committee Members: Mark, Keith, Anna, Stuart, Ernie, Amanda, Sabeena, Victor, Mike, Terry, and Bridget. Thanks also to Phil & Janet for attending too. Staff Team: Dave, Vicky, Alex, Steve, Sharon, Gary, John, John, Lucia, Steve, Rosie, Sarah, Patrick, May & Kirsti


This annual report was produced in-house at Canopy by volunteers, tenants and staff. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like a printed copy, any further information or to apply for housing & volunteering opportunities. You can now keep up to date with Canopy at www.canopyhousing.org www.facebook.com/canopyhousing www.twitter.com/canopyhousing Contact us directly on: 0113 2946868 info@canopyhousing.org 114 Ladypit Lane Beeston, Leeds LS11 6EE Canopy is a charitable Industrial and Provident Society regulated by the FSA, number 28665R, exempt charity number XR21692


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