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CONTENTS

WINTER / SPRING 2019

5 WELCOME

Welcome from our Group Chief Executive

6 YEAR IN NUMBERS

A round up of our Year End 2018 results

COUNTRYSIDE NEWS 8 AWARDS

Celebrating our amazing achievements so far this year

11 NEWS

The latest Company news and developments

15 CASE STUDIES

Showcasing four developments that have proved the perfect fit for their buyers

18 SITE WATCH

A focus on Beam Park

20 COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

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A look at how we are helping to improve communities

INSIDE THE COMPANY

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23 HR

A round-up of programmes, incentives and updates

26 CUSTOMER SERVICE CAMPAIGN Achieving a five-star rating across the group

27 BLOG

“Valued member of the team” by Hannah Pontet

PAY IT FORWARD 28 PAY IT FORWARD

Our amazing charity and fundraising stories

34 60TH ANNIVERSARY INITIATIVES Fundraising through our anniversary initiatives

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60TH OFFICE CELEBRATIONS A further look at how we celebrated our 60th Anniversary

OUR PEOPLE 38 A FOCUS ON OUR PEOPLE An inside scoop on some of our employees

CIRCLE OF LIFE 40 NEWLYWEDS & ENGAGEMENTS

Congratulations to all those tying the knot... or planning to

43 NEW ARRIVALS

A chance to celebrate the new Countryside babies

48 CHRISTMAS PARTIES

A glimpse at our festive shenanigans

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W E L C O M E

WELCOME

With the backdrop of Brexit and wider economic uncertainty, we have entered into 2019 with a more challenging business environment. However, the demand for housing of all tenures remains strong, supported by low unemployment, good mortgage availability and continued Government support in the form of Help to Buy. Our business model of delivering a mix of Private for Sale, Private Rental, and Affordable housing continues to attract the widest customer base. Our placemaking skills, well-designed homes and excellent build quality continue to out compete our competition. Building our homes efficiently is the focus for 2019 and this will be greatly assisted by the wider adoption of our standard house type range and the launch of our modular panel factory in Warrington. We look forward to continuing our growth and to delight our customers in equal measure.

Ian Sutcliffe Group Chief Executive

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Y E A R

I N

N U M B E R S

YEAR END 2018 RESULTS TOTAL COMPLETIONS UP

27%

TO 4,295 HOMES

ADJUSTED PROFIT UP BY 28% TO £211.4M

£

ADJUSTED OPERATING MARGIN UP

RETURN ON CAPITAL EMPLOYED UP TO 37.1%

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Y E A R

PRIVATE AVERAGE SELLING PRICE

TOTAL FORWARD ORDER BOOK UP

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N U M B E R S

£££

AT £402,000

OPEN SALES OUTLETS UP

40%

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AT

£900M

STRONG CASH GENERATION WITH CLOSING NET CASH OF

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45M


A W A R D S

SITE EXCELLENCE AWARDS CROWNS WEST PARK GATE WINNER In November, we held the Group Site Excellence Awards, celebrating the best of the best from our range of developments across the country. The top spot was presented to West Park Gate at Acton Gardens, with St Michael’s Hurst in Bishop’s Stortford and Hamilton Square in Atherton both shortlisted for the overall national award. Projects were scored on a range of categories, including site presentation, carpentry and plot works alongside sales areas, including show homes and branding. Within the Housebuilding category, St Michael’s Hurst, Hanbury Place in Broomfield, Kings Hill in West Mailing and Kings Ridge in Camberley all received awards from Phillip Lyons, Chief

Executive, Housebuilding. Within Partnerships North, Silkin Green in Telford, Hamilton Square and Merseyside’s Wren Green were all awarded prizes. Meanwhile for Partnerships

South it was Elements in Enfield, Rochester Riverside in Rochester and West Park Gate at Acton Gardens that took home the awards.

WINNERS AT THE NHBC PRIDE IN THE JOB AWARDS It’s official - our employees are some of the best in the industry with eight staff members listed among the winners of the NHBC Pride in the Job Awards 2018. Nick Corrigan, Seamus Rowan, Paul Adams, Mick Montgomery, Mike Kitchingside, Eamon Woods, Juan Velez and Kishore Desai all received this prestigious award for excellence in on-site management having competed against 16,000 site managers across the UK. The

awards act as an important benchmarking instrument helping to drive quality in housebuilding and is the only country-wide competition that acknowledges the top site managers. Employees working on sites registered for the NHBC warranty are automatically entered into this competition with first-round winners going on to compete for the Seal of Excellence and Regional Winner titles.

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A W A R D S

DOUBLE WIN AT BRICK AWARDS WHATHOUSE? AWARDS

It was time to celebrate at the Brick Awards, held at the Hilton Park Lane, in November as we were crowned Best Large Housebuilder for two of our developments – Horsted Park, Chatham and Foundry Gardens, Haywards Heath. Submitted by the Brick Development Association, the awards celebrate the best in design and architecture of brick-built developments. Both schemes are set in carefully landscaped parkland and have a

wide-ranging appeal from first-time buyers to large families. Tom Sherriff, Managing Director, Housebuilding South, said “We are very proud to win this award. A core principle at Countryside is building homes and communities that complement their surroundings. The choice of bricks and the way they have been used at Hilton Park Lane creates a beautiful effect.”

BEAULIEU HOT PROPERTY Our Beaulieu development on the edge of Chelmsford in Essex has won two categories at the recent UK Property Awards. Taking home the top prize for Mixed-use Development for UK and Residential Development for Essex, these awards reflect the success and popularity of our Beaulieu development. The UK Property Awards are part of the International Property Awards and celebrate the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry. The highest scoring five-star

winners from each category of the UK awards will be put forward for judgement against the five-star winners in other regions of the world – Asia Pacific, Americas, Europe, Africa and Arabia to be crowned the ‘World’s Best’.

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Two of our developments have been recognised at the WhatHouse? Awards. Our Great Kneighton development took home the Best Public Realm Gold award and Acton Gardens was awarded Bronze for Best Regeneration Scheme. The Best Public Realm award honours the housebuilder that has worked to champion civic pride by commissioning works of art or cultural attractions to enhance public space in and around their new developments. Great Kneighton fulfilled this brief as it was created with public art embedded into the fabric of the development, which helped to drive community engagement and create a sense of pride amongst inhabitants. Great Kneighton was also designed to balance the natural world with the built environment offering urban spaces, beautiful lakes, rich ecology and its own 250-acre Country Park. Acton Gardens scooped the bronze award for Best Regeneration Scheme, an award given to developers who demonstrate a commitment to inner city and urban renewal.


A W A R D S

ALAN CHERRY AWARDS FOR PLACEMAKING 2018 In October last year our annual Alan Cherry Debate took place during which three individuals were awarded the Alan Cherry Awards for Placemaking. The event is held in honour of the company’s late founder, Alan Cherry CBE DL and the awards were presented by Graham Cherry, Chief Executive, Communities. The awards recognise individuals from the public sector who have made a significant contribution to placemaking in their community. The ‘Placemaking: Outstanding Contribution’ award went to Jonathan Brookes, Principal Urban Designer at the Greater Cambridge Planning Authority, Sarah Lovell, Head of Area Regeneration at Haringey Council won the ‘Placemaking: One to Watch’ category and finally in honour of our 60th anniversary, a special recognition award was given to David Lunts for his outstanding commitment to the industry and long-standing partnership with the company. Graham said: “My late father’s vision was to create places that people enjoy, and these awards celebrate good development design, placemaking and sustainable communities. We’re proud to be the only homebuilder that rewards those excelling in placemaking in the public sector in this way. I congratulate

Jonathan and Sarah on their deserved wins – they are truly inspirational and look forward to seeing more visionary work from them. “With 60 years’ experience in the industry, we felt it was only appropriate we recognise those that have dedicated their life to

ACTON GARDENS DOES IT AGAIN At the Housebuilder Awards held in November last year, Acton Gardens came out on top again picking up the Best Regeneration Initiative Category. Once completed, our ambitious joint venture with L&Q in Acton, West London will include 3,400 new homes, parks and shops with five London underground stations nearby.

This latest award follows previous recognition for the development which received a special commendation at the prestigious Evening Standard New Homes Awards as well as being shortlisted at the National Housing Awards and gaining Bronze for Best Regeneration Scheme at the WhatHouse? Awards.

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placemaking in the public sector. We were unanimous in our decision and truly delighted to present our special recognition award to David. His work in the regeneration and placemaking field has been relentless and has set the standard for future generations.”


N E W S

BEAULIEU DEVELOPMENT GETS A PRESIDENTIAL VISIT Our Beaulieu development in Essex received a special guest recently when John Acres, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) chose to visit the site as part of a two-day tour of the East of England to review examples of best practice. During his tour of the site, he saw first hand how we are working together with L&Q to deliver 3,600 new homes to the region in a highly complex and large-scale building programme. He was accompanied on his tour by the chairman and members of the RTPI regional committee, senior planners from Countryside and officials from Chelmsford City Council’s town and planning team. A number of key points were raised during the tour including the early delivery of the infrastructure, a new bypass, railway station, all-through school and the quality of the community facilities, public open spaces and parkland areas. Andrew Taylor, Head of Planning, Strategic, said, “Mr Acres was impressed with the mix of distinctive architectural style homes in the four phases of development. It was a real privilege and honour to be selected to form part of the President’s tour. This proves that we are heading in the right direction and are clearly on track to achieving our key goal – to build a community not just homes.”

PARTY PANEL DISCUSSION

Last autumn, Andrew Taylor, Head of Planning, Strategic, spoke at two Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) conferences, one at the Labour Party Conference and one at the Conservative Party Conference. In September, the topic up for discussion at the Labour Party Conference was ‘How can infrastructure help to deliver housing?’ A panel of experts debated the issue followed by a Q&A. The sessions was chaired by Andrew with speakers including Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Shadow Planning Minister, Nicky Gavron, Chair of Planning Committee LGA, Melanie

Onn MP, Shadow Housing Minister, Jan Bessell FRTPI, Strategic Planning Advisor, Pinsent Masons LLP, Councillor James Noakes, Cabinet Member for Streetscene, Transport, Highways and Air Quality, Liverpool City Council and Ian Tant MRTPI, RTPI Vice President. The second debate was at the Conservative Party Conference and the topic this time was ‘How can devolution boost housing delivery?’ The panel discussion was chaired by Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities and President, British Property Federation with other speakers including John Acres, President of

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the RTPI, Gareth Bradford, Director of Housing and Regeneration, West Midlands Combined Authority, Vicky Pryce, Director, Centre for Economics and Business Research, Kay Hughes, RIBA AoU FRSA, Director, Khaa and Councillor Ian Courts, Deputy Leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.


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DISUSED FACTORY REINVENTION More than 80 new homes have been developed on a disused industrial site in Leicester. In partnership with Midland Heart, our Partnerships East Midlands region redeveloped the site on Green Lane Road as part of a trio of sites being created by the housing association to bring much-needed affordable housing close to the facilities of Leicester city centre. The project began in 2017 with families now gradually starting to move in. The £1.4m development includes 49 homes for affordable rent and 33 for shared ownership. The revitalisation of the old factory has also improved the aspect for existing local residents whose homes once overlooked the disused factory. Gary Turner, Partnerships and Investment Director, Partnerships East Midlands, said: “We are thrilled to welcome the first few residents to the affordable homes collection at Green Lane Road. These properties will help to turn the tide on the shortage of affordable homes and

will give people the chance to get a foot on the property ladder.” The other two sites being developed under the same scheme include Wolsey Island, where another old factory site is providing land for 188 properties and St Mary’s at Aylestone where 125 homes are being built on former allotment plots. Chris Miller, Director of Development at Midland Heart, said: “Green Lane Road, together with the other two developments at Wolsey Island and St Mary’s, total a £58m investment and bring much-needed housing and regeneration to the Leicester area. In addition, more than half of the 400 homes across the three sites

are for affordable rent or shared ownership, which is good news for local people seeking social housing. All three sites are expected to be completed during 2019.”

ROCHESTER RIVERSIDE SPONSORS DICKENSIAN FESTIVAL In December our Rochester Riverside development helped the historic town of Rochester celebrate the festive season. We sponsored the popular Dickensian Christmas Festival in the heart of the town, which saw thousands of people from across Medway enjoying a traditional event with amazing candlelit parades, carols and story-telling sessions. A Christmas market full of Victorian delights made it the perfect place to stock

up on last minute gifts while the food stalls provided sustenance for all those attending the event. On completion, the Rochester Riverside development will provide up to 1,400 new homes across four neighbourhoods. There will also be a new primary school, retail space, hotel and over 10 acres of green, open space for the community to enjoy on the banks of the River Medway.

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N E W S

FOUNDATIONS FOR THE FUTURE Knowsley has seen a welcome boost to its employment prospects following our apprenticeship recruitment drive in the area. As part of our Employment and Skills Plan, in partnership with Knowsley Council, a raft of apprentices are kick-starting their careers across our developments in the borough. Five apprentices have already gained longterm employment within the company’s supply

chain thanks to our investment in training, with ongoing training for an additional four apprentices. David Parry, Construction Manager, Partnerships North (Merseyside & Cheshire West) commented: “Apprenticeships are such an important investment for us. We train the future workforce, which is vital to our business and our industry. We all started somewhere and it’s great to see the difference in our apprentices over the course of their time with us.” One of the apprentices that has benefited from the scheme is Ally Jones, 22 from Kirkby who is currently in his final year of a Level 3 apprenticeship in joinery. He works full time on sites across Knowsley while spending one day a week at St Helens College’s STEM Centre. He said, “Training on site means you get to learn from people around you. I work with a very experienced team and so seeing how they do things has really helped me develop my skills. Now I’m coming towards the end of my training, I have a trade that I will have forever.”

GETTING TO GRIPS WITH HEALTH & SAFETY Our Group Health and Safety Director, Michelle Dearsley was joined by 12 subcontractor Directors in February for a one-day ‘CITB Directors Role for Health and Safety’ course to learn about health and safety legislation. The course, aimed at director-level, highlighted the human, economic and financial implications of non-compliance with legislations and the importance of promoting positive health and safety culture within their organisations. Michelle commented, “We regularly run courses for our supply chain as well as our internal staff as we see our subcontractors as an extension of our own team.”

GRADUATE TRAINEE FULFILS CAREER AMBITIONS A recently appointed Graduate Trainee on the Partnerships North (East Midlands) scheme is enjoying the opportunity to fulfil his ambition of working in the construction industry. Since joining the programme, Jack Marriott has gained experience in the East Midlands’ Commercial department and has been busy building and maintaining professional relationships with contractors and sub-contractors. Jack, from Nottingham, graduated from Birmingham City University in June 2018 with a degree in Construction and the Built Environment before landing a place on the scheme in November. Jack said, “I first heard about the graduate scheme with Countryside through a recruitment agency, and because it sounded like a great

opportunity that would give me some really invaluable experience, I decided to apply. The Commercial department has been a fantastic place to start within the business. My time in the department has provided a foundation of understanding about the relationship with contractors and sub-contractors, not to mention the importance of organisation.” During the two-year programme Jack will rotate through a number of areas in the business. He said: “I’ve felt passionately about pursuing a career in the construction industry for a long time now, and I feel that this is where my skills and personality will make for the best fit. Ultimately, I hope to be working in the Construction department full time, where I’d like

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to move up the ladder with Countryside.” Glyn Mabey, Managing Director, Partnerships North (East Midlands) said: “Countryside recognises the importance of training a new generation of skilled workers in the construction sector, and as such takes great pride in the quality of the graduate scheme that it offers.”


N E W S

EXCLUSIVE NEW DEVELOPMENT IN SURREY In January we unveiled an exclusive new development, Kings Ridge, in Camberley, Surrey. This rare collection of 12 luxury homes is being developed by Millgate and is situated on the edge of one of the county’s most prestigious golf courses – Camberley Heath Golf Club with its 130 acres of heathland. The development will include a selection of 2-bedroom apartments as well as two, 3-bedroom penthouses with views over the golf club’s manicured 18th green. To make the most of the location, residents will also be invited to enjoy a year’s complimentary membership to Camberley Heath Golf Club, including the

joining fee, making it the ultimate purchase for golf lovers. Many of the apartments will feature a balcony or terrace and inside will have spacious living and dining areas with master suites incorporating an en suite bathroom. The development is also close to Camberley’s bustling high street with its range of leading brand and independent shops as well as plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy. The town is also home to a theatre and is close to the 2,600acre Swinley Forest. Easy transport connections are also an advantage with regular trains departing from Camberley and taking just an hour and a quarter

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into London, while nearby Farnborough also runs direct services to London taking just 34 minutes. There is also easy access to Heathrow and Gatwick airport thanks to the proximity of the M3. Robert Pearce, Sales and Marketing Director, Millgate, comments: “Kings Ridge represents a rare opportunity to live in the heart of one of the UK’s most beautiful and sought-after golf courses. Given its unique location, apartments appeal to golf lovers and non-golfers alike, perfect for those looking for the best of country living with all the benefits of a new build property.”


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A FOREVER HOME

For Carl Cooke and his partner Katarzyna, buying their first house was something they had dreamt of for a long time. Originally from Llandudno in North Wales, they were looking for somewhere they could put down roots, start a family and advance their careers rather than settling for a starter home. Their search for ‘the one’ took them a year and half before they found the perfect house at our Wellington Place development in Ellesmere Port. Carl said: “We just happened to be driving past one day when we spotted Wellington Place. As soon as we walked into the showhome we knew that we’d found the one for us. It was while we were house-hunting that we found out Katarzyna was pregnant and then I was offered my dream job in the Ambulance Service, so everything came together perfectly at the right time!” The couple moved into their new family home last spring and with the arrival of their daughter Matilda, they believe they will be staying put for a long time. Carl continued: “We love our new home, from the turfed gardens to the skylight windows, it’s perfect for us. We live on a square, opposite a park that Countryside built, which will be great for when Matilda is older and can play out with the other children. We have a really nice community here and everyone gets on well – we even have a Facebook group to plan social events. We’re thinking about growing our family in the next year or so and fully intend on staying in this home for the long term. This is the home our children will grow up in.” They love the house so much that they have persuaded some friends to buy around the corner from them on the same development. Carl and Katarzyna were able to buy their home by taking advantage of the Government’s

5% deposit Help to Buy scheme having saved for around two years. Deborah Hughes, Regional Sales and Marketing Director, Partnerships North, said: “It’s fantastic to hear how much Carl and Katarzyna’s lives have changed since moving into their Countryside home and that we were able to assist in shaping their plans for the future. It’s always been our aim to create homes and communities that will enable families to thrive.”

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As soon as we walked into the showhome we knew that we’d found the one for us... This is the home our children will grow up in. Carl Cooke, Homeowner.


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YOUNG COUPLE BUCK THE TREND

With figures by the Institute of Fiscal Studies revealing that home ownership among young adults has more than halved over the past two decades, one young couple has bucked this nation-wide trend by buying their first home aged just 23. Andrew Kershaw and Roberta Petrenaite, both 23, decided to purchase their first home together at St Paul’s Square in East London thanks to the Help to Buy London scheme. Primary school teacher Andrew said: “We were living with Roberta’s mother at the time in Newham and we knew we wanted to live together but didn’t like the idea of renting. We knew how difficult it is

to get on the property ladder but when we realised how easy using Help to Buy London was we jumped at the opportunity to own our own home.” After visiting a show apartment at St Paul’s Square in Bow, the couple were impressed with the finish of the apartment and how the rooms had been designed with plenty of room and storage space. The couple didn’t hesitate and decided to snap up a new home in the development. Andrew said: “We love living at our new apartment and ever since we have moved in, we have seen the St Paul’s Square community really grow.”

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SWAPPING SUNNY SPAIN FOR KENT

When Dick and Jenny decided to move back to the UK from their home in Spain to be nearer to family, they knew they would find it tricky to replicate their Spanish lifestyle. But they have since found their perfect home at Herschel Place in Kent. Dick said: “Jenny and I loved living in Spain, but we wanted to be closer to my mother in London. We also wanted our new place to offer all the great things we loved about our old home in Spain; like the spaces we had to host barbeques and family functions. After visiting Herschel Place, Jenny and I could immediately picture ourselves having a fantastic retirement here. We even have our barbeque equipment from Spain ready to set up and are very much looking forward to putting it to great use.”  The house also has a great location, only 15-minutes drive from Etchingham and Robertsbridge stations which offer direct trains into London. They chose their specific plot on the development to take advantage of the expansive field that backs onto their garden. Jenny said: “We love the quality of the build. The house is the perfect size – very spacious, but not too large for the two of us. Our plot overlooks a large field, which is just lovely. There’s so much nature to look at around the house. Dick and I have even spotted a few red kite birds.”

Brook Valley Gardens ticked all of our boxes and we absolutely love all the space we now have, especially our new garden. Jenny, Homeowner.


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YOUNG FAMILY MOVES UP THE LADDER A new home for Christmas was the present that one young family thought they could only dream of. But thanks to our Part Exchange scheme, Jamie and Victoria Connolly swapped their 1-bedroom flat in East Finchley for a brand new 3-bedroom house on the Brook Valley Gardens development in Chipping Barnet. Their flat had been on the market for almost two-years when they took advantage of the Part Exchange scheme which enabled the couple to avoid the anxiety of selling chains as well as the cost of estate agent fees. With figures from Lloyds Bank revealing that six in ten second steppers have found it harder to move up the property ladder than take the first step, Part Exchange

schemes can be a real help for young families like the Connolly’s. Jamie said, “The Part Exchange service meant that we didn’t need to sit and wait in a chain, and was a really straightforward process, a lifesaver for us. Brook Valley Gardens ticked all of our boxes and we absolutely love all the space we now have, especially our new garden. We purchased here because, like any parent, we were looking for an area with good schools. But it has also allowed us to stay close to family and friends. There’s a very friendly atmosphere around the development, with plenty of other young families moving in at the same time as us. Our next-door neighbours even have a two-year old daughter as well.”

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Brook Valley Gardens ticked all of our boxes and we absolutely love all the space we now have, especially our new garden. Jamie Connolly, Homeowner.


BEAM PARK S I T E

With a picturesque setting next to the Beam River, our new development in East London will comprise 3,000 homes when it’s completed. Set over 71-acres of land, the development is on the site of a former Ford manufacturing plant and will help to regenerate the area. It is one of the

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largest sites released by the Mayor of London and GLA to provide new homes for Londoners. Beam Park will also provide 50% affordable housing and a significant infrastructure investment for the area. Along with housing, there will also be a new

railway station, medical centre, two new schools, retail and commercial space, a nursery, gym, multi-faith space and other community facilities. The development will also provide plenty of open space for residents with 44% of the area allocated for publicly accessible green space

Beam Park, our new development in East London.

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S I T E with plans to include a three-hectare central park with the River Beam running through it. Phase one of the development will also deliver a linear park to the north of the site that will include play areas for children. Beam Park was designed by award-winning architect Patel Taylor who has a proven track record in designing residential, mixed-use and

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workplace developments. The plans for Beam Park have already gained attention having featured in the New London Architecture (NLA) insight study and exhibition, ‘London’s Towns: Shaping the polycentric city” which highlighted Beam Park as a key outer London centre helping to reshape and reconnect the surrounding areas.

BEAM PARK IN NUMBERS £1,937,250 TOWARDS EDUCATION INCLUDING A NURSERY AND 2 THREE FORM PRIMARY SCHOOLS £468,444 FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO LOCAL SPORTS FACILITIES

Beam Park is on the site of a former Ford manufacturing plant.

£557,163 OPEN SPACES CONTRIBUTION, INCLUDING A NEW LINEAR PARK £500,000 TO SUPPORT COMMUNITY PROJECTS AT BEAM PARK £3M TOWARDS IMPROVING TRANSPORT FACILITIES

Beam Park marketing suite.

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1 PROPOSED NEW BEAM PARK TRAIN STATION


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E N G A G E M E N T

ACTON GARDEN’S TOWER BLOCK MURAL SAVED TO RAISE MONEY FOR CHARITY A specialist team has removed part of a 125ft mural on the side of Charles Hocking House in West London to raise funds for local community art projects. The iconic street art installation, known as Big Mother, is by popular graffiti artist Stik and covered the whole of one side of the building, demolished last year, as part of our 3,400-home Acton Gardens development. The Acton Gardens team devised a detailed plan to rescue it

before the 1960s council tower block was knocked down in the latest phase of this large scale regeneration programme. Big Mother was auctioned off on 4th December, with proceeds donated to ARTification, a local charity that transforms communities through art. The sale raised £193,750. The preservation project had the support of the artist. Mike Woolliscroft, Managing Director,

Partnerships South (West), said: “The rescue of part of the mural was hugely challenging. The painting was on fragile brickwork that could have disintegrated at any time. It was touch and go at one point whether one of our specialist teams could pull it off but after weeks of painstaking work they did. I’m really proud of them.”

SHOW TIME If you’re looking for an exciting day out, you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve teamed up with Merlin Entertainment for another year and are able to offer up to 50% off some of the UK’s top attractions. These savings aren’t just limited to London and include sites across the UK including Chessington World of Adventure, Alton Towers, Legoland, Madame Tussauds, Sea Life centres and many more. And don’t forget you can take your family and friends along too so get booking today! For more information on these discounts, visit the discount page under the social section on InSite or contact Group Communications.

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BARKING MAD ABOUT CHRISTMAS

ELBA TOY APPEAL

Back in December, our mascot Bill Ding got Barking into the festive spirit by switching on the town’s Christmas lights as part of the ‘Barking Mad about Christmas’ festival. With the help of children’s TV characters Paw Patrol, Bill Ding turned on the lights in front of the impressive Christmas tree at the centre of Barking Town Square with the Mayor of Dagenham, Cllr Sanchia Alasia and Council Leader Darren Rodwell in attendance. The event offered lots of fun for local families with a Santa’s grotto, Christmas carol singing and real reindeer. As headline sponsor, we also had the chance to take part in an on-stage discussion earlier in the day to outline plans for our three local developments – Beam Park, Fresh Wharf and Trinity Place. Mahbub Khandoker, Development Director, Partnerships South (North & South), talked about how these developments will offer a host of benefits for residents and the wider community to enjoy. We also hosted a stall at the event offering local residents and attendees art workshops, face painting and competitions including a ‘Guess how many Lego bricks are in the jar’ with the lucky winners walking away with their own Lego advent calendar.

By now, Christmas is probably all but a distant memory but for some families in need, those memories were made a little bit sweeter thanks to the East London Business Alliance (ELBA) Toy Appeal. We teamed up with ELBA in December to donate gifts to children whose families are struggling financially. This annual initiative offers companies the chance to donate a present to children in the east London community so that children who may not otherwise receive a gift are given a present, helping to spread cheer at what can be a difficult time of year for many. Volunteers from the company were busy throughout December collecting and donating toys to support more than 50 community organisations including children’s centres, hospital wards, food banks, primary schools, community centres, adventure playgrounds and women’s refuges. In 2017, the ELBA Toy Appeal donated and distributed more than 10,000 toys and we hope our contribution for Christmas 2018 has helped make a difference to the people and communities in which we work.

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HEART’S GIVING TREE CAMPAIGN Our employees dug deep to help charities across Essex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex last Christmas by taking part in the Heart Giving Tree initiative at Bluewater and Braintree Freeport shopping centres. This scheme allows members of the public to donate Christmas gifts to disadvantaged children and adults across the country. Trees are set up in key locations and decorated with tags that show an age and gender. We took 50 tags from the Braintree Giving Tree and 70 tags from the Bluewater Giving Tree. Staff then chose a tag and bought an appropriate gift which were then deposited back at the tree to be distributed to local charities.

At Bluewater Shopping Centre, the tree supported 37 local charities across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, mainly focusing on disadvantaged children. The charities include local hospitals, the NSPCC, The Salvation Army and Demelza House Children’s Hospice. Meanwhile the Braintree Giving Tree supported less fortunate people in Essex through local hospices and women’s refuges including Farleigh Hospice, J’s Hospice, St Clare Hospice, Tendering Women’s Refuge and Home-Start Essex.

WORKING OUT HOW TO MEET YOUR NEIGHBOURS! Last autumn, British Military Fitness ran bootcamp sessions at our developments. Horsted Park hosted a bootcamp giving residents the chance to enjoy a great workout. It also provided the perfect opportunity to meet their neighbours and socialise with friends in the area. Due to the success, a second training session took place at St Mary’s Island with a third class at Greenwich Millennium Village.

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KEEPING YOU UP-TO-DATE HOLIDAY ALLOWANCE

DEALING WITH ABSENCES Following a recent successful pilot, a new absence management process has been rolled out. This streamlined system requires you to call your line manager who will then directly update Cascade. This change was easy to implement and line managers welcomed the additional control it gave them. During the pilot, absence reduced in Partnerships South from 4.68 days to 4.33 days. Find out more from your line manager or Business Partner.

There has been a change to the amount of holiday you can carry over at the end of the year. Previously, you were able to take over three days of your outstanding holiday allowance and buy or sell up to three holiday days. Following suggestions raised through the Group Engagement reps, the policy has been reviewed and you will now be able to carry over up to five days and have until the end of March to use this. In addition, you’ll be able to buy/sell up to five days and can select this during the usual reward window in April/May. To find out more information you can read the updated holiday policy on InSite or ask a member of the HR team.

YOUR REWARD ROADSHOWS In April, the annual enrolment will open for the Your Rewards benefits. To give you a chance to find out more about these benefits, we’ll be holding a series of roadshows so you can ask questions directly to the providers. So whether you’re a new or long service employee, you’ll be able to find out what benefits are applicable to you this year. Not all offices will be holding a roadshow so if yours isn’t on the list, HR Business Partners will be liaising with site teams and remaining offices to make sure everyone is kept up to date. Here are the Your Reward Roadshow dates for 2019: Wednesday 3 April

11am - 1pm

Sevenoaks

Thursday 11 April

11am - 2pm

Cheshunt

Friday 5 April

11am - 2pm

Brentwood

Monday 15 April

11am - 2pm

Millgate

Monday 8 April

11am - 2pm

Leicester

Wednesday 17 April

11am - 2pm

Wolverhampton

Wednesday 10 April

11am - 2pm

Warrington

PENSION CHANGES

Are you part of our Bronze Pension Scheme? If so, here are some changes that will impact you from April 2019.

Since 6 April 2018 the minimum total contribution into pension funds, as stated by the government, has been 5%. This is with at least 2% from the employer. From 6 April 2019 the minimum contribution into pension funds (as required by the government) increases to 8% with at least 3% from the employer.

At Countryside, we increased auto enrolment so that we (the employer contribution) moved to 3% and this meant your employee contribution is only 2%. If you are in our Bronze pension scheme, you currently contribute 2% of your salary to your pension every month (or more if you have chosen to increase your contributions).

This means at Countryside, we are increasing the employer contribution to 5% and the employee contribution to 3%.

More information on this change and how it impacts you will be available shortly. Please note, this will only impact employees in our Bronze pension scheme. There are no changes taking place to Silver and Gold pensions.

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Date

Government Requirement

Countryside Countryside contributes employee contributes

April 2018

Minimum total contribution of 5% with at least 2% from the employer

3%

2%

April 2019

Minimum total contribution of 8% with at least 3% from the employer

5%

3%

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LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

Over the last few months, the Learning and Development team has been busy with various sessions and programmes.

PERSONAL RESILIENCE WORKSHOP In November, 100 people across five offices attended a workshop about personal resilience based on a book by Liggy Webb. It aimed to equip people with the tools to cope better with change in challenging times. It also looked at how to promote personal wellbeing for both personal and business survival. The workshop helped participants to explore the ability to

be more resilient, agile and responsible; cope better with adversity, challenges and change; be better problem solvers through realistic optimism; understand pressure and optimum personal stress levels and finally to improve relationships and help make a positive difference.

SALES DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

Between September and December all of our Sales Consultants and Sales Management teams attended a three-day Sales Development Programme. Any new starters will also complete these three days as part of their induction. The events were a huge success with those attending showing great willingness to learn.

I’ve just had my first customer of the day, and have already tried the new sales style out and it was surprisingly easy.

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SAVE AS YOU EARN UPDATE 2016 GRANT

If you elected to participate in the March 2016 offer under the Save As You Earn (SAYE) Plan and you’ve had no payment breaks, the grant will mature on 1 April 2019. During March you will be able to select what you would like to do with your savings. Eligible employees should have received an email from our share plan provider, Equiniti. They will give you details of how to select your preferred option via the share plan portal.

FUTURE GRANT From May, a new SAYE plan is intended to launch, ‘Why wish when you can plan’. If you’re thinking of joining, here are a few key facts to help you decide:

HOW DOES IT WORK?

COUNTRYSIDE SHARES

The SAYE plan is a savings plan enabling you to save for your future and potentially benefit by the success of Countryside Properties. By joining, you can save for something special and you also have the opportunity to buy Countryside Properties shares at a fixed price (known as the ‘Option Price’).

After three years, you’ll have the choice to take all that money as cash to spend as you wish or you can use it to buy Countryside Properties shares at the Option Price that was set when you started your Save As You Earn Plan. You can either keep the shares and become a shareholder or sell them all immediately. If you choose to sell the shares immediately and the Countryside Properties share price at that time is higher than the price you pay, you’ll have made a profit! Alternatively, if you choose to keep your shares you will then become a shareholder in Countryside. As a shareholder, you will then benefit from any future dividends the company may pay to shareholders and any potential future growth in the share price (please note that share prices can fall as well as rise). You will also be able to vote at the company Annual General Meeting (AGM).

REGULAR SAVINGS First you’ll need to decide how much you’d like to save each month. You can save anything between £5 and £500 per month for three years, so it’s easy to budget. The amount you decide to contribute will be deducted directly from your pay each month, and put into your Save As You Earn account at Lloyds Bank plc.

JARGON BUSTER Maturity

When your saving term is complete and you decide whether to take your savings as cash or purchase shares

Option

An option gives an employee the right to buy a certain number of shares in Countryside at a set price

Option Price

The Option Price is fixed before the start of the Save As You Earn Plan and is the average price Countryside Properties plc shares on the three business days prior to the launch, which is then discounted by up to 20%

Shares

The way equal portions of capital stock of a corporation are divided

Dividend

A dividend is a portion of the company’s profits that it pays to its shareholders

Disclaimer: Please note that neither Countryside Properties, nor its advisers, can provide you with investment advice. If you have any queries about acquiring Countryside Properties shares you should consult your own independent tax, legal or financial adviser. The value of shares and any income from them may go down as well as up. The detailed rules of the Plan govern participation and if there is any difference between this information and the formal rules and the legislation that governs the Plan, the rules and legislation and any applicable HMRC guidance shall apply and take precedence.

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I N T E R N A L

AIMING FOR THE STARS Achieving a five star rating for customer satisfaction is the ultimate accolade for any housebuilder and something we are striving for across the business. The HBF Star Rating Scheme awards stars to builders based on homeowner feedback from an independent National New Home Survey operated by NHBC. These star ratings are awarded based on the results of one question from the survey: Would you recommend your builder to a friend? Word of mouth and personal recommendations are the cornerstone of our business as they directly determine our HBF star rating which

C O M M S

is used by many potential purchasers as a way to compare us to our competitors. How many stars we have could be the deciding factor on whether a customer buys from us or another builder. Happy customers are everyone’s responsibility so the customer journey and ultimately the HBF star rating is a key focus area of the business. Executive Committee Member, Graham Cherry, Chief Executive, Communities is championing this campaign and working with our teams across the group to keep it at the top of the agenda.

CURRENT CUSTOMER JOURNEY SURVEY PROCESS

Sales door knock 24hrs after legal completion (or once the customer has moved into the property)

24hrs after legal completion the customer will receive a phone call from their appointed Customer Service Coordinator who will then back up with an introductory email Customer Services/Site Customer Service Manager calls the customer after six weeks

NHBC reminder letter sent out at seven weeks from Customer Services NHBC send email or post survey after eight weeks

The customer has a further 12 weeks to complete the survey and return to the NHBC. This means the customer has three months to provide their feedback. The NHBC measures success by a number of key metrics including: recommend a friend, quality, customer service before completion, customer service after completion, completion on time, condition of the home, standard of finish, zero problems reported, Net Promoter Score, customer expectations and the number of problems reported. At the moment we’re operating at different star ratings across the business so need to work to bring all regions up to a five-star service. What part do you play?

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B L O G

VALUED MEMBER OF THE TEAM Hannah Pontet, 24, from Kent, became a Graduate Trainee at Countryside in October 2018 after completing a MSc in Environmental Assessment and Management from Oxford Brookes University. She gives us a rundown on her first few months in the role.

Having travelled across the globe for a year after university and then jumping straight into the world of homebuilding, being a graduate at Countryside has exceeded all expectations of my first job after University. From day one, we were exposed to significant, hands-on work projects that challenge us to think and use our skills and talents. Forget the stereotypical image of graduates standing by the photocopier and making tea, we are treated as equals and responsibility is bestowed upon us, as much as experienced employees. Our ideas are always heard not only by our peers but by members across different teams, and we are valued for our input. We are really encouraged to present our ideas on various aspects of the business, and our mentors take the time to discuss the reasons behind a strategy and this has really helped my confidence and learning as a young professional. From informal lunches with the CEO to two-day training workshops and tailored graduate conferences, we are fully immersed in Countryside life through and through. As a team it really is like a family, where we all work hard and laugh together. We are part of a programme that is really engaging and challenges us to think ahead which means on any given day we can be arranging key client meetings while also being part of complex decision-making discussions. The variety really keeps things interesting! The greatest part of working at Countryside is how the employees truly care about you. From the top CEO’s to your everyday colleagues. Both collaboration and partnership are part of the Countryside DNA and this isn’t just in our work externally. One of my favourite things at Countryside is how every Friday we go for a team lunch and just sit and have fun. It’s so important to enjoy the people you work with, and of those from the wider team that I’ve met so far at Countryside, have become great friends. My first few months have been quite the rollercoaster and I have loved every minute of it. The close collaboration, communication and creativity behind the work we do has banished any fears I had on my first day and I cannot wait to continue my Countryside journey.

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P A Y

I T

F O R W A R D

GOLF FORE CHARITY!

The Housebuilding East Commercial Team held its annual golf day to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Over 90 golfers teed off at the event including staff members, subcontractors and suppliers. The event was held at Stock Brook Country Club in Essex and raised a massive £16,342 for the charity. The day consisted of team awards, blindfold putting, the longest drive, nearest the pin and £10,000 for a hole in one – although no one managed to achieve one. The sun managed to shine all day – for the third year in a row. After all the fun on the TOTAL green, there was an RAISED evening meal with a raffle and auction attended by FOR: ALZHEIM ER’S over 110 people which SOCIETY helped bring the total raised to over £16,000.

£16,342

A HELPING HAND BACK INTO WORK Smart Works and Suited & Booted help vulnerable, unemployed men and women across London get into employment by providing interview clothing and interview advice. We held a Suits Drive collection at our Head Office in Warley, Brentwood recently, collecting interviewappropriate smart clothing including suits, shirts, skirts, dresses and coats. We also gathered smart shoes, handbags and jewellery. The clothes will go to those low-income men and women who largely don’t have the means to purchase interview attire so suffer from reduced chances of success. These two charities perform a vital role in helping job seekers to succeed at the interview stage, giving them something smart to wear to boost their confidence. Graham Cherry, Chief Executive, Communities said: “We’re delighted to be able to support these two fantastic charities in their efforts to support unemployed people. Smart Works and Suited & Booted play a crucial role in providing the necessary tools, including interview preparation to help thousands of out-of-work Londoners in their search for employment. Thanks go to the very generous Countryside staff who have donated – we hope more will follow suit.” And we’re in good company with our support as HRH The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle has been announced as the Royal Patron of Smart Works. Meanwhile Suited & Booted expects to help at least 1,000 job-seeking men this year.

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TOTAL

RAISED

£1,468

FOR: SMART WO & AND SUITE RKS D& BOOTED


P A Y

I T

F O R W A R D

MOVEMBER GOAL REACHED In November, teams from across the company raised £3,289 by growing moustaches for ‘Movember’ and taking part in the Movember Foundations Move challenge. The money raised goes towards tackling some of the biggest health issues faced by men including testicular and prostrate cancer, mental health problems and suicide. The charity funds innovative research into men’s health and works to challenge the way health services reach and support men. The Foundation has funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects around the world in the past 15 years.

To help the cause, volunteers signed up to the Move challenge where they had to cover 60km during the month of November, whether it was running, walking or any other form of sport. The distance represents the 60 men lost to suicide every hour, worldwide. Four staff members opted to row the 60km, two ran the distance while one chose to swim 600 lengths. Together they raised £1,261. The rest of the money was raised by team members growing a moustache for the month. Well done to all those involved who worked hard to reach their goal.

Some of the Acton team proudly showing off their moustaches.

TOTAL

RAISED

£3,289

FOR: MOVEMB ER FOUNDATION

More Movember moustaches from the team at Acton.

The Move Challenge team at Sevenoaks.

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NEW LOCAL CHARITIES FOR EACH REGION At the beginning of the new financial year, last October, you voted for your preferred regional charity and the results are: ACTON – ACTON HOMELESS CONCEREN

F O R W A R D

FESTIVE WREATH DECORATING To kick off the festive season, Central Services employee engagement group organised a wreath-making workshop. Using a range of decorative items including frosted ornaments, ribbons and dried fruit, those who attended created a wreath for their own front door. But it wasn’t all work and no play as there were mince pies and mulled-wine laid on along with festive music playing to get everyone in the spirit. The event received such positive feedback that we’ve already planned the same workshop again for next year. These types of events are great for bringing teams together and to surprise employees by their talent and the employee engagement groups across the business have plenty of other ideas in the pipeline for the months to come. Watch this space!

CHESHUNT – ADDENBROOKES CHILDREN’S CHARITABLE TRUST HEAD OFFICE – KIDS INSPIRE

MILLGATE – HEADWAY (THAMES VALLEY)

PARTNERSHIPS NORTH (WARRINGTON) – JUMP CHILDREN’S CHARITY PARTNERSHIPS WEST MIDLANDS – COMPTON CARE PARTNERSHIPS EAST MIDLANDS – LOROS (LEICESTER HOSPICE CHARITY) PARTNERSHIPS SOUTH MIDLANDS – BRAIN TUMOUR SOCIETY SEVENOAKS – KENT, SURREY & SUSSEX AIR AMBULANCE (KSSAA)

The Group charity nominated for 2 years is Lighthouse Club; the only charity that provides financial and emotional support to the construction community and their families who have suffered an injury or long term illness. The monies raised for each charity will be shown on the homepage of InSite and will be updated throughout the year so let’s see how much we can raise for these fantastic causes.

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F O R W A R D

MILLGATE DIGS DEEP FOR HEADWAYS Over the last half of 2018, Millgate worked hard raising money for our charity, Headways – the UK-wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury. In October, the team got all spooky by wearing Halloween hats and had a raffle to win tickets to Ascot Races. Along with a fireworks event on Bonfire Night these autumnal events raised £142.26. Moving into December, an Advent Calender event in Henley raised a further £395.25 and a Christmas tree was donated to the local Headways Thames Valley centre complete with decorations. Alan Durrans, Chris Morrissey, Bernie Sweeney and Sarah Kane even went to the centre to help put it up.

TOTAL

RAISED

£537.51 FOR: HEADWAYS

TOTAL

RAISED

£XXX

FOR: HEADWAY S

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CHARITY QUIZ NIGHT

TOTAL

RAISED

£1,065 FOR: KIDS INSPIRE

In November Central Services held a Charity Quiz Night to raise money for the Kids Inspire Charity. There were some great raffle prize donations with ticket sales managing to raise £1,065 for the worthy cause. The money will provide counselling, mentoring, coaching and therapy sessions to local children in need. The winning team on the night was Les Quizerables who took home a bottle of Lanson Champagne each and the muchcoveted Winner’s trophy. The Wooden Spoon Losers’ trophy went to You Can’t Buy Safety. Better luck next year guys! If anyone has any feedback on the event or ideas for future fundraising please let the Engagement Group know.

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F O R W A R D

NATIONAL BAKING SUCCESS Congratulations to Group Communications Assistant Jade Lawrence who won the Macmillan Coffee Morning charity bakeoff at our Brentwood office. Her delicious Red Velvet cake was named the star bake by judge Nick Worrall, Group HR Director. Thanks to everyone that brought in their amazing baked goodies to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The totals raised at the different offices: Housebuilding South

£320.51

Housebuilding Central

£227.07

Millgate £147.30 South Midlands

£81.91

Head office

£132.51

WHITE COLLAR BOXING SHOW

In December, Dave Newell, Commercial Director, Partnerships South, was TOTAL due to fight in a white collar boxing show to raise money for the Fire Fighters’ Charity. Unfortunately after cracking a rib during training, he had to pull out of the FIRE FIGHTER event. But rather than let the S’ CHARITY charity down, Jake Hiller-Addis, Senior Buyer, Partnerships South (East), stepped in to take his place. Jake had previous boxing experience so was happy to jump back into the ring for this good cause. The event was held at the world famous York Hall and on the night, Jake scored a win for team Countryside. In total over £11,000 was raised for the Fire Fighters’ Charity through ticket sales and donations.

RAISED

£11,000+

FOR:

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P A Y

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F O R W A R D

GETTING COSY AT CHRISTMAS TOTAL

We held a number of Christmas Jumper days across our offices to raise money for charities across the UK. Staff joined in the spirit of the day by wearing their favourite festive knits and managed to raise £910 from their donations. The money will be split between charities that support the communities in which our company operates. These include Kids Inspire, Addenbrookes Children’s Charitable Trust, KSSAA, Headway, Acton Homeless Concern, JUMP Children’s Charity, Compton Care and Brain Tumour Charity. Our Partnerships North, East Midlands office, joined in the Jolly Jumper Day campaign organised by LOROS, a charity supporting people living with cancer and other terminal illnesses. Dressed in jolly jumpers, the team held a Christmas bake sale which raised £284.79. From every pound donated to LOROS, 90 pence went directly towards patient care.

RAISED

£910

FOR: KIDS INSP AND VARIOUIRE S CHARITIES

TOTAL

RAISED

£284.79 FOR: LOROS

PRESENT DONATION TO WOMEN’S REFUGE Instead of the usual Secret Santa, last Christmas our strategic team launched an alternative that saw staff bringing a little festive cheer to children and families in need. Instead of exchanging presents amongst themselves, employees donated gifts to Changing Pathways women’s refuge near Basildon in Essex. This fantastic charity helps women and their children who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse by offering a range of services including safe accommodation, community support, advocacy and counselling.

The donated gifts were carefully wrapped and delivered to the charity on 17 December in time for refuge residents to open them on Christmas morning. This isn’t the first time we’ve got involved with Changing Pathways. Last year, as part of the 60th anniversary ’60 Days of Charity’ initiative a team of employees painted a living room and two kitchens at the refuge and also brought along hampers of goods for the residents including store-cupboard supplies, children’s clothing and art supplies.

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A N N I V E R S A R Y

OUR 60 ANNIVERSARY TH

Our 60 Days of Charity initiatives to celebrate our 60th anniversary continued at the end of last year with many staff members giving up their time to help local charities. Here are a few of the activities employees took part in:

NOURISH COMMUNITY FOODBANK The Housebuiding South Commercial team spent the day helping Nourish in November. This local charity in Tunbridge Wells provides short-term emergency provisions, support and signposting in a crisis to individuals and families within the borough and surrounding areas. The day began with a briefing from Dawn Stanford who runs the charity. The team then split into small groups to fill bags with toiletries and cleaning products. They also sorted pasta and tinned food into date order ready to be distributed to those in need. At the end of their time at Nourish, the team felt a huge sense of achievement having achieved in half a day what other volunteers would do in a week as they are often only able to give an hour or so of their time.

KENT SURREY AND SUSSEX AIR AMBULANCE

A mixed team of volunteers from Housebuilding South, including staff from Development, Commercial, Customer Service as well as grads and office managers visited the Kent Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance service in November to volunteer for the day. The team assisted in the office area with mail-merging information for Christmas Raffle tickets, collating donations sent by post and data inputting. The charity were very grateful to all those who took part and hopes we will back soon to continue the good work.

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6 0 T H

A N N I V E R S A R Y

INITIATIVES CONTINUE HEART OF KENT HOSPICE

In October the Housebuilding South Technical team spent the day volunteering at the Heart of Kent Hospice in Aylesford. This charity cares for people with a terminal illness in the local

community providing support for patients, their families and carers. On the day the team were split into two groups, the first team were tasked with painting fences at the hospice while the other team were in charge of landscaping in the gardens. The team left

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the Hospice at the end of the day feeling very proud of what they had managed to do in the time they had spent there. They also had learnt a lot about the hospice and the funds it needs to raise each year. Well done team!


6 0 T H

A N N I V E R S A R Y

OUR 60 ANNIVERSARY CELE TH

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6 0 T H

A N N I V E R S A R Y

BRATIONS - 14TH NOVEMBER

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O U R

P E O P L E

COUNTRYSIDE SUPPORTS OUR RESERVE FORCES We support employees who are volunteer reservists in the Armed Forces by providing paid time off to undertake training and mobilisation. Our very own Colin Murray, Health and Safety Director, Partnerships North and Midlands has been a member for 35 years and has taken time away from work to do his bit for the forces. Colin was given a year’s leave in 2010 to go back to Afghanistan and is taking part in an anniversary parachute jump on 21 September this year to mark the 75th anniversary of the battle. He tells us his story. “I served in the Reserve Forces (previously known as the TA) for over 35 years starting out as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers and finishing up as a Commissioned Officer and Second in Command of a Regiment. During this time I completed a number of Operational tours including Bosnia, Iraq and a number of times in Afghanistan. “My time as a reserve soldier allowed me to challenge myself mentally and physically throughout my career which ran parallel with working in the construction industry. As the Royal Engineers supply all building/ engineering requirements for the military,  the similar circumstances allowed both careers to complement each other and also allowed me to gain valuable experience in challenging circumstances. “Countryside are Reserve Forces friendly and any serving member is given an additional five days paid leave unlike with my previous employers where Reservists were required to use their own holidays to train.” If you are a member of the Armed Forces make sure you let your local HR Team know.

Colin Murray in action (left in both pictures)

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P E O P L E

LONG SERVICE EMPLOYEE

JIM DODD Tell us about your Countryside journey so far. I joined Countryside as an undergraduate in 1987 as part of my sandwich course. I alternated six-monthly between working at Countryside and studying for a Graduate Diploma in Building Management. After graduating in 1989, I joined the estimating team at our head office located above Clinton Cards in Billericay High Street. David Everett joined shortly after and led the team and it was not long before we won our first partnerships project in Surrey Quays, London. The project included three large flatted developments called Norway Yard, Barnards Wharf and Finland Quay. Up until this point we had only delivered low-rise greenfield housing, even our logo was a house martin with a trowel in its beak and not a piling rig or tower crane. Over my 30 years with Countryside, I have seen the business grow and evolve into being one of the UK’s leading housebuilders. I worked in various roles, and over the years I have been fortunate to have worked in both Partnerships and Housebuilding, leading the commercial, development and new business teams.

Can you tell us your most memorable day at Countryside? I have lots of memorable times at Countryside. I remember the late Alan Cherry appointing me to the Housebuilding board when I was just 29 years old. The most memorable day for me has been the day I made my final switch back to Partnerships and I visited the South Acton Estate. It was during this visit I realised how our intervention could have so much impact with improving so many people lives. This was a key turning point for me and has been one of my greatest days at Countryside.

What attracted you to Countryside in the first place? I would be lying if I didn’t say location, I lived in Brentwood and it was one of the main reasons for applying to Countryside.

Was there anyone in particular that acted as a mentor to you? I have had a few mentors along the way, but the two people that really stand out for me have been David Everett and Richard Cherry. David with his operational tenacity and Richard for his ability to see an opportunity, structure a deal and make it happen.

Why do you think you have chosen to stay at Countryside for so long? I’ve always been a real fan of our principles, integrity and placemaking skills. Countryside is a great company to work for and we are great at what we do. I have also evolved and grown with the business. What has been one of your biggest achievements? Having joined Countryside over 30 years ago, I have been able to help shape and structure the business into what it is today.

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What has been the proudest moment of your career so far? As the business has grown, I have helped to grow new people within the business to become future leaders. My proudest moment has been coaching and developing graduates into leadership roles and watching them succeed within these roles. Outside of work, what do you like to do? Live a simple life. What are your ambitions within the company? I would like to see the legacy continue and grow, whilst building upon the sound principles laid down by the Cherry family.


C I R C L E

NEWLYWEDS CONGRATULATIONS TO...

O F

L I F E

GEORGE & JULIE

George Thomson, Operational Safety Manager, Housebuilding South, married Julie on 22nd September at Inverness, Scotland.

TOM & SARAH Tom Wood, Buyer, Millgate, married Sarah on 10th November in Pepworth.

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LOUISE & STEVE

Louise Ray, Paralegal, Central Services, and her husband Steve got married on Saturday 13th October at The Rochford Hotel.


C I R C L E

O F

L I F E

EMMIE & TAYLOR

Emmie Harvey, Customer Service Administrator, Housebuilding East, married Taylor Harvey on Friday 7th September at Gaynes Park Barns in Epping.

KELLY & HARRY

Kelly Stevens, Senior Buyer, Housebuilding East, married her fiancĂŠ Harry on 9th September in Las Vegas!

JAMIE & EMMA

Jamie Davey, Assistant Site Manager, Housebuilding South, and wife Emma tied the knot on Saturday 11th August at The Barn Yard in Upchurch.

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C I R C L E

O F

L I F E

ENGAGEMENTS CONGRATULATIONS TO...

TIM & HARRIET

Tim Kelleher, Senior Buyer, Housebuilding East, tied the knot to wife Harriet on 28th July 2018.

SOPHIE & JACK

SIMON & BUSE

Simon Jeffrey, Associate Land and New Business Director, Partnerships South, tied the knot to wife Buse at a blessing in Derby on 18th August before getting married in Izmir, Turkey on 25th August where Buse is originally from. They said ‘I do’ at both!

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Congratulations to Sophie Coates, Senior Customer Service Co-ordinator, Partnerships South, on her engagement to boyfriend Jack who popped the question on her birthday on 27th August at The Brentwood Kitchen.


C I R C L E

O F

L I F E

NEW ARRIVALS CONGRATULATIONS TO...

GEORGE

Vicky Prior, Investor Relations and Strategy Director, Central Services, and husband Nathan on the birth of their baby boy George Arthur Prior weighing 8lb 4oz, born on Tuesday 21st August.

HENRY

Ada Swieboda, Senior Marketing Manager, Partnerships South, Land and New Business, and husband Jakub on the birth of their baby boy Henry weighing 4lb 6oz, born 29th August.

GRAYSON

Gemma Simmons, Sales Progression Coordinator, Partnerships South, and partner Darren on the birth of their baby boy Grayson weighing 7lb 2oz, born 11th August.

BILLY SEBASTIAN JAMES Luke Brown, Technical Co-ordinator, Housebuilding East, and wife Laura on the birth of their son Sebastian Alexander weighing 9lb 10oz, born Friday 13th July.

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William Wood, Senior Planning Manager, Strategic, and wife Rachel on the birth of their son James Alexander weighing 5lb 9oz, born Monday 19th November.

WINTER/SPRING 2019

Billy Adams, Customer Service Operative, Housebuilding South, and his partner on the birth of their baby Billy weighing 8lb 12oz, born Sunday 5th August.


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WOODY

Conor Roberts, Senior Land Manager, Millgate, and wife Katrina on the birth of their baby boy Woody Roberts weighing 8lb 4oz, born 15th September.

HUGO

Piers Kortlang- Zaneta, Associate Director Commercial Property, Strategic, and his partner on the birth of their son Hugo J.F.T. TomanKortlang weighing 8lb 1oz, born 30th December.

LENNY

JAMES

Mark Wiggins, Site Manager, Millgate, and partner Chrissy on the birth of their baby boy Lenny weighing 7lb 12oz, born 31st October.

Emily Dabson, Sales and Marketing Co-ordinator, Millgate, and husband Russ on the birth of their baby boy James Dabson weighing 7lb 10oz, born Tuesday 26th July.

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C I R C L E

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OLIVER

HOLLY

Andrew Usher, Development Director, Housebuilding South, and wife Hannah on the birth of their son Oliver James Usher weighing 7.5lb, born 14th November.

Dean Norris, Senior IT Service Desk Technician, Central Services, and wife Danielle on the birth of their baby girl Holly Victoria weighing 6lb 9oz, born 25th September.

EVELYN

Tom Storer, Senior Site Manager, Housebuilding South, and his wife on the birth of their baby girl Evelyn Rose Storer, born 7th December.

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TILLIE

Matthew Browne, Managing Surveyor, Housebuilding East, and wife Anna on the birth of their daughter Tillie Maya weighing 7lb 6oz.

ISLA

Colin Simms-Cato, Site Manager, Millgate, and wife Anna on the birth of their baby girl Isla weighing 8lb 11oz, born 9th October.

GRACE AND SEBASTIAN

Marcus Goddard, Managing Estimator, Partnerships East Midlands, and wife Catherine welcomed twins Grace and Sebastian. Grace weighed 7lb 4oz and Sebastian weighed 7lb 15.5oz. They were born on 23rd October.

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LEO

Mark Ion, IT Service Desk Team Leader, Central Services, and wife Adele on the birth of their baby boy Leo weighing 7lb 1oz, born Sunday 10th February.


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MELIAH

OAKLEY

Bradley Beavis, Sales Consultant, Housebuilding Central, and wife Jade Sparks, Sales Consultant, Partnerships South, on the birth of their baby girl Meliah... a Countryside baby.

Daniel Howard-Smith, Assistant Site Manager, Housebuilding South, and wife Chloe on baby Oakley weighing 9lb 14oz, born 11.12.18.

MAX

Chris Connors, Head of Facilities and Fleet, Central Services, and wife Lauren on the birth of their baby boy Max weighing 7lb 8oz, born Saturday 28th July.

ALEXANDER

Sarah Hill, Sales Consultant, Partnerships Midlands, and her partner on the birth of their baby boy Alexander Albert Davies weighing 4lb 13oz.

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HALLIE

Pat Rowan, Commercial Director, Housebuilding Central, and his partner Kerry on the birth of their baby girl Hallie Ann Rowan weighing 8lb 9oz, born 17th December.


P A R T I E S

CHRISTMAS PARTIES

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P A R T I E S

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P A R T I E S

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P A R T I E S

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W I N T E R / S P R I N G

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Profile for Inside Countryside

Inside Countryside Winter/Spring 2019  

Inside Countryside Winter/Spring 2019