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“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” Peter F. Drucker, Philosopher

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Main picture shows (left to right): Chair Richard Kemp and Chief Executive Ken Perry


G R EE TIN GS F R O M KE N AN D R ICHAR D We are pleased to introduce Reflections, Plus Dane Group’s annual report for 2010/11, where we reflect on our performance and achievements throughout the year. Despite the difficult economic climate, we remained well placed to tackle the challenging external environment and made good progress delivering our seven promises. We continued to build on our strong partnerships across Merseyside and Cheshire and deliver on our commitment to do more for less. Our development programme remains on track and we developed 466 new homes throughout the year. Importantly, we continued to strengthen our scrutiny and engagement activity so that we are even more accountable to the people we serve, giving tenants a greater say in the services we provide and the overall strategic direction of the organisation. Over the year ahead we want to build on these achievements and stretch ourselves further still through investing more in our existing homes, working with others to make the most out of every opportunity to invest in neighbourhoods, creating more partnerships and improving quality of life, choice and opportunity for the people we serve. Plus Dane has grown this year. Its surplus has increased, its investment in new and existing homes is at an all time high and satisfaction levels with staff and customers has also continued to improve. We are also developing new service ideas and making new friends and colleagues along the way. These are difficult times for us, our partners and the people we serve. As we look forward we know that things will remain challenging, but we hope that this report shows that we are not retreating, we are using the challenges we all face to drive innovation and motivate us to invest even more into the neighbourhoods we serve now and those who may wish to work with us in the future.

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www.neighbourhoodinvestor.com Plus Dane Group staff at work: top left– Phil Pemberton , top middle – Steven McNicholas and Stephen Doyle, bottom left – Emmanuel Mensah with Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, right – Clare Mawdsley-Geoghegan


C O MMI TTE D TO E XCE LLE N CE Plus Dane Group strives for excellence in all that we do and our teams are committed to delivering continuous improvement. Our key performance achievements during the year include: Financial management excellence 2010/11 demonstrated the strength of our approach to budgeting and financial control. We generated efficiency savings in excess of £700,000. All loan covenants were met and we achieved an operating surplus in excess of budget projections. Employer excellence We retained our position in the Sunday Times Best Companies Top 100 for the third year running, with employee satisfaction at 85%. Customer service excellence Our 2011 STATUS survey showed that 87% of Plus Dane residents were satisfied with the services we provide, placing us amongst the top quartile of registered providers. 2010/11 showed strong and continually improving performance in customer priority areas of repairs, quality of homes and tenancy management including: • 90% customer satisfaction with our repairs service • 91% of repairs completed at first attempt • 99.8% of homes have a valid gas safety certificate • 100% of homes meet the Decent Homes standard “Plus Dane Group is always working to do more for the neighbourhoods it works across and to do it better, putting tenants in the lead in driving its service improvements.”

“The levels of excellence achieved these past 12 months have been outstanding, which is testament to the ‘can do’ culture that exists within Plus Dane.”

Lillian Hazell, Plus Dane Group tenant board member

Pól O Gray, Plus Dane Group tenant board member

For more information contact Ian Reed, Head of Excellence t: 0151 330 3464 e: ian.reed@neighbourhoodinvestor.com


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Properties in Kitfield Avenue, Middlewich, being fitted with eco-friendly insulation


INCR E AS E D IN V E S TM E N T “It’s marvellous, we’re over the moon, we keep going through the house, looking at the work and grinning.” Plus Dane Group invested some £17m in existing property last year, helping make a difference for people like Pauline Gilligan and her husband John. Pauline, from Anfield, recently needed a knee replacement, whilst John lost a lung and needs oxygen, on top of other health problems. So when Plus Dane offered to fit a series of adaptations to their home, including a “wet room” bathroom, stair lift, front door ramp, various handrails and other improvements such as tiling and pipework, they were very happy. “It’s made a tremendous difference to our lives; you can imagine how hard it was for us, getting up stairs and clambering in and out the bath. We were dreading the future but now we’ve had a new lease of life,” says Pauline. “And the lads who did the work were brilliant, they couldn’t have been more professional and respectful.” Plus Dane now has a 143-strong trades team servicing some 12,500 homes across Merseyside and Cheshire and we are always looking for ways to maximise investment for the people we serve. People like Felicity Nugent benefitted from work in Middlewich to fit properties with eco-friendly cladding, cutting heating bills and giving homes a smart new look. “My home looks 100 times better and I can look forward to cheaper energy bills,” she adds. “It’s been a brilliant job.” For more information contact Colin Mountford, Investment Team Leader t 01260 288 251 e: colin.mountford@neighbourhoodinvestor.com

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The Post House, Chester

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THE PO S T HO US E For years people arriving at Chester train station were greeted by a decaying eyesore; now when they step off the train they see a building restored to its former glory and thriving with new life. The Post House, which is a conversion of a former sorting office and later YMCA hostel, is just one of our affordable housing developments, which this year has helped deliver just under 500 new homes to suit a broad spectrum of lifestyles. Plus Dane Group, working in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, led the £4.5m development of 34 one and two bedroom apartments in response to an urgent need for affordable housing in the city. The homes can only be sold to local people and, through our HomesHub team, are offered with innovative shared ownership or rent-before-you-buy options, aimed at helping those buyers who would otherwise struggle to secure a mortgage. In fact we have spent around £49m this year to build affordable new homes for the people who need them, including eye-catching developments such as 36 new apartments in the Grade II listed Clock Tower building in Macclesfield and 14 new homes at Ellesmere Port’s Durham Court, both former disused sites. Yet the greatest satisfaction comes from making a difference to the lives of the people who move into these homes. For more information contact Ben Clay, Director of HomesHub t: 0151 708 4612 e: ben.clay@neighbourhoodinvestor.com

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Beautiful North volunteers planting hanging baskets to brighten up alleyways in Anfield


B E A UTIF UL N O RTH A pioneering partnership of over 40 public, private and voluntary sector organisations has joined forces to deliver real change in the North Liverpool neighbourhoods of Anfield, County and Kirkdale. Led by Liverpool City Council cabinet members and ward councillors and coordinated by Plus Dane Group, Beautiful North partners are working to find smarter and more imaginative ways of working together to use their resources to tackle problems such as environmental blight, empty homes and antisocial behaviour to help North Liverpool show its beautiful face. Despite being formed less than a year ago, it is already having a massive impact. Beautiful North has led a new approach to tackling empty homes, which has seen a significant reduction in the number of empty properties, a number of sites identified as causing antisocial behaviour have been cleaned and greened, and partners are working with local residents in Anfield to support a project to transform their alleyways from eyesores into attractive community spaces. Irene Taylor of the B2U Residents Association, in Anfield, commented: “I’ve lived in the area for 43 years and watched it going downhill but campaigns like this one are turning things around. The places we worked on now look splendid. If everyone joins in then we can really make a difference to our neighbourhoods.” Beautiful North’s Show Your Beautiful Face campaign is also working to promote and celebrate everything that’s positive and beautiful about the people and places of North Liverpool and encourage local residents to take pride in their neighbourhoods. For more information contact Nicola Higham, Neighbourhood Project Manager t: 07971 339 943 e: nicola.higham@neighbourhoodinvestor.com

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Plus Dane Young People’s Champions Awards

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YO UTH E NGAGE M E N T “If I hadn’t have joined the youth forum I would have been lost, it’s given me so much confidence that I was lacking and allowed me to become an independent person instead of just a follower of others.” Anna Edwards is just one of the young people who this year came to the end of an amazing journey of self-development. The Plus Dane Youth Forum provided training and mentoring to 19 young people, helping build their confidence and CVs, with everything from self-discovery workshops and work experience placements to team-building events. Each member tells a story of a life transformed, challenges overcome and fears put to one side. The achievements have been remarkable. One, Sam Gorst, has managed to secure a place at university despite having no A-levels, and many others are now moving into jobs and further education. Sam said: “The best thing about the forum has been the support you get from the Plus Dane staff and the other members, the compassion that’s there when you are going through bad times, which has helped me move on in my life.” As their final contribution, the forum organised a gala awards night to celebrate their own success and honour the volunteers, youth workers and Plus Dane staff who supported their journey. And as new forums begin in Merseyside and Cheshire, many former members are giving up their time to make sure the new cohort get a flying start. “Plus Dane’s youth forum helped me find out who I am,” added Anna. “The chance for young people to find their real potential is there for them.” For more information contact Julie Tomlinson, Youth Engagement Manager t: 0151 330 3494 e: julie.tomlinson@neighbourhoodinvestor.com

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Congleton Food Festival, one of a number of events Plus Dane Group supports as part of its tenant engagement programme


TE N AN TS IN THE LE AD “The first woman I spoke to was so full of praise for Plus Dane, I feared it was a plant. However, the second one had experienced huge frustration with getting a window replaced, which was down to sloppiness from sub-contractors and, I would say, a failure to ensure quality control.” So says Harry Harley, who this year took part in our unique inspection by tenants, a process in which tenants hold the organisation to account by investigating every aspect of our business. The team of tenants went through intensive training in areas such as regulation, health and safety, data protection and equality. The first inspection - which gave us a score of Good (with room for improvement) - focussed on our repairs and maintenance service. The weaknesses identified included concerns that customers are not always kept informed about progress on jobs that need more than one visit. Any areas identified for improvement are now being integrated into our performance targets and will be addressed going forward. Businesses stay strong when they listen to their customers. At Plus Dane we believe it is essential that we deliver what tenants want and - most importantly - prove worthy of their trust. “You are always going to get fall downs, it is how Plus Dane responds to the issues we raise,” Harry added. “However, this exercise left me with a deeper respect and understanding of the work Plus Dane does and the commitment and enthusiasm of staff.” For more information contact Chad Thompson, Engagement Manager t: 0151 330 3447 e: chad.thompson@neighbourhoodinvestor.com

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Plus Dane’s staff and residents’ graduation ceremony

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PE O PLE M ATTE R “I was unemployed for 18 months and was beginning to lose all hope that I’d ever find a job again - but that’s where Plus Dane stepped in. They are all about regeneration and I needed to regenerate myself.” Elesha Kelly has taken up one of 14 new apprenticeships we’ve created this year, opening career paths to young people in everything from trades and environmental services to business support. We also use our influence to support the creation of jobs externally. This year we have helped hundreds of people find work, training or apprenticeships, for example by playing a major part in securing an agreement with Tesco that saw more than 500 new jobs associated with a new superstore with half of these reserved exclusively for local people. Creating and sustaining jobs has become even more of a priority given the current economic outlook, with young people finding it especially difficult to get onto the career ladder. Our youth engagement teams are especially busy, helping young people build up CVs, get the best advice and even financial help with training and attending interviews. “I’m learning so much and finally I can see a good career path opening up to me,” Elesha adds. “Everyone at Plus Dane is so supportive, it’s the sort of place that wants you to succeed and that’s good for me as I’ve suffered a few knocks in life. “I’m now focussed on building a career that’s based on helping people who need help. Plus Dane gives you that sort of mindset.” For more information contact Clare Mawdsley-Geoghegan, Head of Learning and Development t: 0151 708 4655 e: clare.mawdsley-geoghegan@neighbourhoodinvestor.com

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Ibrahim Ali with his youngest son Abdul, son Mohamed, wife Asmaham and daughters Basma, Fatima and Sara


IM PR O V IN G LIV E S “Andrew is my support worker, he is my friend. We were all strangers but he has helped me stand on my own two feet and see a better future for my family. It is amazing.” Ibrahim Ali, a 57-year-old father of seven, from Somali, is just one of the people helped by our floating support service for refugees in Liverpool. The service, which is partly funded by Liverpool City Council, befriends those forced to flee terrible situations abroad and guides them as they adjust to their new lives, helping them access services and benefits. But often, most importantly of all, by offering a shoulder to cry on. Mr Ali fled his war-torn native country to find work in Saudi Arabia. However, the worsening situation there saw him and his family deported to Ethiopia, where they lived in constant fear before escaping to the UK. “Since I have been in Liverpool I have never experienced racism, only kindness,” Mr Ali adds. “In Somalia we don’t use words like please and thank you but they are such a valuable part of English culture. I never stop saying thank you to Plus Dane and others. “My only dream now is for my children to take all the opportunities offered by this amazing country.” For more information contact Jacqueline Connolly, Floating Support Officer t: 0151 703 2004 e: jacqueline.connolly@neighbourhoodinvestor.com

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View from Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

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HO W DO WE M E A S UR E UP? The group has produced a solid financial performance this year. Strong performance has been driven by the amalgamation of the three registered Merseyside providers and the expansion of the repairs and maintenance workforce. Our commercial and social enterprise activities have also been reviewed during the year and actions taken to strengthen their financial performance. The fall in the number of units in management is as a result of the successful completion of the housing management contract with Liverpool Mutual Homes two years ahead of schedule. PLUS DANE GROUP - NEIGHBOURHOOD INVESTOR Units owned Units managed Managed by others

Non-social housing

Total

Turnover

11,801

195

12,383

£55.2m

318

69

PLUS DANE GROUP - Development Programme and Pipeline (as at end of March 2011) Local Authority Units Total Scheme Cost Cheshire East 45 £4,088,115 Cheshire West & Chester 68 £8,214,910 Halton 25 £2,929,608 Knowsley 25 £3,094,484 Liverpool 74 £9,762,356 Sefton 126 £15,432,485 Staffordshire Moorlands 42 £5,317,542 Warrington 202 £13,255,567 Wirral 2 £227,764 PIPELINE (across all areas) 535+ £54,796,586+ Total 1,144 £117,119,417

Grant £1,108,000 £1,846,150 £1,712,500 £1,115,000 £3,617,022 £7,500,556 £2,772,000 £0 £134,270 £8,095,000+ £27,900,498

If you would like more financial information about Plus Dane Group please contact Peter Shaw, Managing Director - Finance 01260 288 257 | 0151 708 4600 | e: peter.shaw@neighbourhoodinvestor.com

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PHD development

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As a lead partner with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Plus Dane Group creates successful partnerships to tackle barriers to delivery. Plus Harvest Developments (PHD) has invested £200m, including £100m grant, to deliver over 1,900 affordable new homes through the National Affordable Housing Programme 2008-11. Plus Dane Group will continue its role as accountable body in a new consortium with Halton Housing Trust and South Liverpool Housing to deliver the Affordable Rents Programme 2011-15. We continue to seek new opportunities to further increase the supply and choice of homes. PHD PROGRAMME - 2010 | 11 Units

Total Scheme Cost

Grant

618

£73,644,492

£34,063,785

Units

Total Scheme Cost

Grant

1,928

£217,269,460

£104,315,580

PHD PROGRAMME - 2008 | 11

For further information please visit www.phdevelopments.org.uk

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We maximise investment in neighbourhoods to enhance people’s quality of life, opportunity and choice. We do this by delivering seven promises drawn up with tenants, residents and neighbourhoods:

• increased investment in existing property • creating great places to live • increased community safety measures • further supporting vulnerable customers • further supporting resident involvement • increased creation of local jobs • increased supply and choice of homes

We deliver each of our promises with Passion, Innovation, Excellence and Respect. We are able to spend less on running our business and more on quality services that benefit people, homes and neighbourhoods because we continually engage people in setting our priorities and monitoring our performance. We are one of Britain’s Top 100 companies to work for because we invest in our staff, creating the conditions where people can thrive and grow with us. For further information and latest news visit www.neighbourhoodinvestor.com

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Plus Dane Group | Baltimore Buildings | 13-15 Rodney Street | Liverpool L1 9EF | 0151 708 0674 Produced by Plus Dane Group Communications Team Š2011

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Reflections  

Plus Dane yearbook

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