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Spotlight on

Powys

Spring 2012

More affordable homes for Powys WWHA open new development at Plough Court, Brecon Also in this edition...

Award winning residents in Powys Supporting local sports clubs


Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Welcome to the Spring 2012 edition of Spotlight on Powys

Terry Flynn, PCC Affordable Housing Officer for Powys County Council, with Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive of WWHA and new residents Emily Penpraze and Robert Ogrodnik

I do not need to say that we are all still facing very challenging economic conditions and now more than ever we recognise the importance of delivering excellent customer service, supporting innovation to meet demand and, quite simply, going the extra mile to help our residents and their communities to help themselves. We are committed to being green, to helping our residents deal with money-related problems, and to as many of them as possible up-andrunning online. We’re also working with various partners to help people get into, or get back into work or training. Then there are our latest developments within the business including news of our £101m Development programme, our

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new RP strategy and how we’re approaching self-assessment. And we’re absolutely thrilled to be able to tell you that we’ve been recognised as the top not-for-profit organisation in Wales in the Sunday Times Best Companies List 2012. So I hope you will take five minutes to read this newsletter and that it proves to be useful and informative. Finally we always value your feedback so don’t hesitate to get in touch and tell us what you think, about Spotlight, the news within it, or any other aspect of our business.

Anne Hinchey Chief Executive


Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

More affordable homes for Powys Developing more high quality, affordable, sustainable homes for people in Wales is a major priority for us. Our current five year £101m development programme includes innovative projects for residents with autism and learning difficulties, together with general needs housing and extra care facilities. The programme is supported by £15m social housing grant funding from our partner local authorities and the Welsh Government. Just before Christmas 2011 the first residents moved into our new development at Plough Court, Brecon (pictured left). This scheme, which was completed by for us by contractor Wates Living Space, provides 26 affordable family homes in the architecturally sensitive area of Brecon town centre. Also in Powys we have the following developments either currently on site, or shortly to go on site: Cwmfalldau, Llanfaes, Brecon Lovell Partnerships are developing 16 affordable family homes for us as a planning requirement of their larger development at the site. Completion will be phased during the next year. Llanbedr, Powys This proposed development of 8 houses is awaiting confirmation from Welsh Water that the drainage is acceptable to them. This will then enable Brecon Beacons National Park

Planning Authority to approve the planning application. This scheme has been designed in partnership with Powys County Council after consultation with the local community. Our other projects planned over the next two years include Severnside Yard in Newtown. We expect to submit a planning application for this high density development this summer, with plans to provide up to 50 apartments which including retirement accommodation. We are also currently reviewing a number of additional development opportunities to be able to continue with the deliverability of much needed affordable housing in Powys. Nikki Cole, Head of Development, comments: “While family housing is a major area of strength and expertise for WWHA, we also work in partnership with local authorities across Wales to meet the needs of local people with learning difficulties and autism. “We relish the opportunity to provide housing solutions to meet a wide variety of housing requirements. Grant funding to assist the development of new social housing is limited however the Association has been successful in securing funding to help develop a range of housing opportunities across our area of operation.”

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Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Awards round-up

The residents of Maes y Ffyonnon are proud of their new garden displays

Maes y Ffynnon’s community spirit recognised

of Stock’ category in the 2011 Welsh Housing awards.

Residents at our Maes y Ffynnon retirement scheme in Crickhowell were finalists in our Making a Difference Awards 2011. Nominated by scheme managers Rob Llewellyn and Lynda Margrett, they have worked tirelessly to improve the gardens and patio areas at the scheme.

Stoneleigh Manor offers six new self-contained and fully furnished apartments in the centre of Brecon to provide much needed short-term family-friendly accommodation to the Powys area for those facing homelessness. Fully DDA compliant with state-ofthe-art safety facilities, Stoneleigh offers 3 one bed apartments, 2 studio apartments and one dedicated apartment for the disabled.

In Brecon our new supported housing provision at Stoneleigh Manor won the 2011 Good Commissioning Award at the Cymorth Cymru Promoting Independence Awards. And the scheme, the result of a partnership between Powys County Council and Cefni Lettings, was also short-listed in the ‘Best Use

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Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Brecon amateur boxing club

We’ve been delighted to be able to help Brecon Amateur Boxing Club with a grant of £495 to help them buy equipment. We’ve also helped them to complete an Awards for All application for a cross trainer. Our Community Development Projects Officer Alison Chaplin handed over the cheque to Dave

Gilbert from Brecon CID who is one of the coaches at the club. Also pictured is PCSO Bryony Hope and some of the many youngsters who train three times a week. With several of the youths competing in National Championships this year such funding is most welcome and appreciated.

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Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Fun day in St John’s Ward

WWHA, along with Powys CC, helped Brecon Town Councillors and Crug Residents’ Association to organise a fun and consultation event at Brecon Youth Centre. Fun was provided by face painting and Tropical Inc – an organisation that introduces young people to wildlife and helps them understand their needs. Local police provided information and allowed the children to look around their van. The consultation looked at issues to be addressed, possible solutions and what residents themselves could do to help deliver them. A further event was held on 15th February when residents were asked to comment on the results and volunteer to help with future

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planned activities. Brecon Women’s Aid, PAVO, Computer Recycling and Dyfodol Powys all had stands at the event and Brecon Amateur Boxing Club and The Dogs Trust also proved popular. As a result of the feedback event, a group of residents are looking to get together to try to run some activities for children on the estate. Further meetings are planned. Helping to reduce fuel poverty We also handed out 26 energy saving packs to residents on qualifying benefits at this event.


Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

“These include an energy monitor to enable residents to make informed judgements on how to reduce their electricity bills” said Bridget Garrod, Neighbourhood Team Manager. “They also include an extension lead which powers down anything linked to a TV, such as a DVD recorder or Sky box when the TV is switched off” she continued. In addition 100s of ‘Helping you manage your energy bills’ booklets

produced with EDF Energy Trust were handed out. The booklet contains useful tips on how to save energy including: • Advantages and disadvantages of different payment methods • The importance of meter reading • Fuel Direct Scheme for people on qualifying benefits • Switching payment methods, tariffs and suppliers • Priority Register and social tariffs • 9 simple things to do that will reduce your bill

Systems thinking A case conference with Powys County Council’s Social Services and supported housing providers has been arranged, under a systems thinking process involving a resident with severe mental health issues. Taking a systems thinking approach to solving issues such as tenancy sustainability is a unique approach.

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Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Ashfield Community Enterprise, Howey

We are delighted to be partnering Ashfield Community Enterprise in developing facilities and opportunities at Ashfield, including two selfcontained three bedroom flats which are available to let. The project is also offering a work experience and mentoring service to help people who are ] economically inactive (and not in receipt of JSA or ESA) the opportunity to build their confidence and self-esteem. Placements are for a minimum of six weeks, up to four days a week, with an additional day for personal development. Work experience opportunities include:

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• growing, marketing and processing of organic fruit, vegetables, plants and herbs including market gardening, running a weekly market stall and working with customers • renovation of the site and building, use of green technology and conservation methods, including building repair, painting and decorating, rainwater harvesting and habitat management. • Running an office – reception, handling orders and customers, office management systems. For more information go to www. ashfieldcommunityenterprise.org. uk or call 01597 829689.


Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Continued investment in our properties During the last six months of 2011 we spent £5.7m on refurbishing our homes across Wales and we are delighted to say that we are on course to achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by 2012. We’ve invested £1.3m renewing the kitchens in over 400 homes across Wales, including 51 in Powys at a cost of £204,000. Across Wales we’ve spent over £600k refurbishing bathrooms, including 42 in Powys at a cost of £84,000.

We’re also investing a further £1.2m in a major window renewal programme which should make our homes more comfortable, warmer, cheaper to heat and less likely to need expensive maintenance work in the near future. One example of in Powys Ty’r Porthmon in Brecon where we’re installing new windows and doors at a cost of £65,000. We have also invested £138,000 in installing gas central heating in several Powys properties.

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Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Strong financial performance for WWHA The Association has just closed another strong year of financial performance. Firstly, as part of the new WG regulatory framework, we received a pass for financial viability judgement which is the highest rating awarded and demonstrates that we are adequately resourced to meet current and future business and financial commitments. Secondly, our results for the year show both a surplus and a positive free cash flow. This has allowed us to invest over £30m in the last three years in our existing properties to improve the quality

of our homes. With a further £10m investment planned this year, we are well on track to meeting the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) by the target date of 2012. We already have £35m of funding in place to fund future development. Having brought into management 165 newly developed properties this year alone, we have plans to bring in a further 600 over the next 5 years. To do this will require further funding and we are well placed to do this, with low gearing and a large portfolio of unsecured high quality properties on our books.

Mortgage rescue Our mortgage rescue scheme is continuing to have a positive impact on the lives of many householders at risk of repossession. We are one of the few associations to operate a self-funded scheme now that the grant funding from the Welsh Government has stopped. We are still experiencing considerable demand and are committed to continuing the mortgage rescue scheme in order to help reduce homelessness. So far we’ve invested more than £2m in the scheme and have:

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• Purchased 31 properties outright – where the residents have now become our tenants. This includes 3 properties which have been purchased without grant as part of the Associations self funded scheme. A further 4 households have accepted offers of assistance as part of this scheme. • Completed 26 loans to enable the occupiers to remain in their properties as owners

To find out more our mortgage rescue scheme call freephone 0800 052 2526.Or go to: www.wwha.net/OurServices MortgageRescue/


Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Awards round-up Since our last edition of Spotlight we’ve gained the following recognition: • 2012 Sunday Times Best Companies. In 2012 WWHA has been named the top not-for-profit organisation in Wales and ranked 8th, up from 14th in 2011.

We are also the only Welsh housing association to be awarded the coveted three stars award by Best Companies.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that we’ve been recognised as the top not-for-profit organisation in Wales, and, that we’ve made the top ten NFP organisations to work for in the UK. And to have been awarded the highest rating of three stars is fantastic,” says Anne Hinchey.

“We pride ourselves on being a values-driven company – to be fair, open, supportive, efficient and responsible – to our staff as well as everyone with whom, and for whom, we work.

• WWHA were delighted to be named in the Top 30 Family Friendly Firms in the UK by Working Families, an organisation which campaigns for work-life balance. We were one of only two Welsh organisations to make the list which is dominated by blue chip firms. • Our Stoneleigh Manor More Options Homelessness Project in partnership with Powys County Council won the Cymorth Cymru Promoting Independence 2011 Good Commissioning

Award. This project was also shortlisted for a CIH Welsh Housing Award ‘Making Best Use of Stock.” • North Wales Financial Inclusion Forum, of which we are a member organisation, won the 2011 Promoting Independence Award 2011 Service User Involvement Award for it’s ‘My Home… Making Every Penny Count’ DVD. The DVD has since won a second award – the MoneyActionNet Award 2011 by social action information provider Lemos & Crane. • WWHA residents have scooped two TPAS Cymru awards. The groups from the Garw Valley, Bridgend, and Barracksfield estate in Wrexham, beat off stiff competition from other social landlords’ groups in Wales. • Our Powell Road Eco-Friendly Regeneration Project in Flintshire was shortlisted for an Outstanding Achievement in Wales CIH UK Housing Award. • Our retirement scheme Sydney Hall Court in Connah’s Quay, run by scheme manager Rob Holmes, was shortlisted for The Cinnamon Trust’s Pet Friendly Care Home of the Year Award. • We’ve achieved the Gold Standard in RSPCA Housing Footprint.

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Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Eco-friendly initiatives We are committed to being green across our organisation, as well as supporting our residents to be able to enjoy the many benefits of being environmentally friendly. and we have just passed our annual Green Dragon audit, reaching Level 2.

Picured is the first bore hole being started at Clos Pontganol for the installation of the ground source heat pumps. One of the 10 bore holes will go nearly 200 meters (aproximately 600 feet) down.

We are undertaking a wide range of projects, led by Owen Jones, our Environment & Sustainability Officer. We have been installing Ground Source Heat Pumps at Clos Pontganol, Llangynidr, together with additional sites at Crickhowell, Llanfair Cereinion and Flint. These literally groundbreaking projects are going to have a huge impact in helping residents to save money on their energy bills. Some residents in Maes Yr Onnen, Crickhowell are currently

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paying £150 to £200 per month on their electricity bills, and they are now going to benefit from new windows, improved insulation and Ground Source Heat Pumps. Further measures such as removing their electric showers and replacing them with mixer showers will also help to reduce their bills. Ground Source Heat Pumps are amongst the most sustainable space and domestic hot water heating systems currently available and residents will gain from having greater control of their heating and in most cases it will be cheaper to run.


Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Other projects include: •

Fuel switching

Continuing to trial voltage optimisation devices

Working with the Environment Agency to develop flood plans for our properties which may be affected.

We’ve also invested more than £15,000 from our Environment Fund in 29 projects across Wales. These are all resident-led projects which have applied to us for grassroots funding. Projects include developing biodiversity gardens, installation of raised beds for accessible planting,

to purchase of seeds, tools, greenhouses and other equipment. We are continually working hard to make sure that, where possible, we use and incorporate environmentally friendly technologies into every aspect of our new developments as well as in our refurbishment programmes. However, uncertainty around funding has unfortunately resulted in us having to put on hold our plans to install solar PV panels on the roofs of our suitable properties. This was due to factors beyond our control and we are among many other social housing providers across the UK in this position.

Picured is the former bin store at Western Court, Bridgend, which has now been transformed by the residents into a greenhouse, thanks to a £200 contribution from the WWHA Environment Fund.

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Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Wi-fi broadband access for older residents

Self-assessment and planning for the future

We are committed to providing broadband WiFi access at all our 100 older persons schemes across Wales within the next two years, investing £1m in the project.

Like many other housing associations we conduct rigorous self-assessment exercises to look at how well we are performing and to help us plan for the future.

We are already working on a pilot scheme at Ty Pontrhun, one of our retirement schemes in Merthyr Tydfil, in partnership with Welsh provider Boynes. Four lines, routers and boosters will be up and running at the scheme from March 2012 providing 1MG download capacity for each resident. The cost to residents will be an affordable £1 per household per week.

We always welcome constructive feedback about any aspect of our business, our properties, or the services we deliver. To find out more about our plans and self assessment process please go to: www.wwha.net/AboutUs/ CorporateInformation/ Performance/InspectionInformation

Upskilling with Communities 2.0 and Take Ctrl We’re also working with a number of partners to upskill any of our residents, regardless of age or previous experience, to be able to enjoy the benefits of digital technology. In Merthyr Tydfil we’re working with Communities 2.0 on the Connect Merthyr Project. This is supporting older people to learn how to use a variety of platforms on the internet inclusing email, Skype, search engines, Twitter and YouTube. It is also helping them to use a variety of other

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digital equipment including mobile phones, cameras and video cameras. Welsh Finance minister Jane Hutt visited the project recently to see for herself the incredibly positive impact it is having on its older participants. And in North Wales we are hosting Jen Bailey, co-ordinator of the Take Ctrl Project. This is a partnership between seven housing associations including WWHA. For more details go to: www.takectrl.org


Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Employment and training opportunities We are continuing to work in partnership with our contractors and others to provide work and training to people within many of the communities where we work.

• Working with JobMatch to train two dedicated Energy Advisers who will spread the word among residents as to how to get the best fuel deals and how best to cut costs.

Donna Samuel, one of two returners to work who have secured permanent jobs with WWHA thanks to JobMatch, Bridgend. Donna recently met First Minister Carwyn Jones (pictured below) at a local Health and Wellbeing event, and she took the opportunity to explain how finding a full-time job had transformed her life.

• Supporting our contractors and suppliers to create apprenticeships in electrics and window fitting. • Creating work placements through JobCentre Plus and the Department of Work and Pensions’Work Programme. • And we’re exploring what job opportunities we may be able to create through recycling.

New Resident Participation Strategy We’ve updated our resident Participation strategy. If you’d like to find out more please go to: www.wwha.net/ NR/rdonlyres/6C6733C0-FA834302-912C-F846D2D3C68F/0/ InTouchWinter20112.pdf Many of our contractors have taken on apprentices as a result of the work we commission them to do. Some other example of how we are supporting people to get back into work, include:

Or you can read the strategy in full at: www.wwha.net/NR/ rdonlyres/10FD0DC5-E4DD4B9C-9FC0-EF0F5A83AA1B/0/ WHALTPS2011.pdf

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Spotlight on Powys - Spring 2012

Key

Contacts

Head Office 3 Alexandra Gate, Ffordd Pengam, Tremorfa, Cardiff CF24 2UD Tel: 0800 052 2526 Fax: 029 2041 5380 Website: www.wwha.net

Flint Office Unit 2 Acorn Business Park Aber Road, Flint, Flintshire CH6 5YN Email: info@wwha.co.uk Minicom: 0800 052 5205 Follow us on @WWHA

STRATEGIC Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive 029 2041 5335 anne.hinchey@wwha.co.uk

Tony Wilson, Finance Director 029 2041 5346 tony.wilson@wwha.co.uk

Shayne Hembrow, Operations Director 029 2041 5362 shayne.hembrow@wwha.co.uk

HOUSING Lynnette Glover, Head of Housing 029 2041 5365 lynnette.glover@wwha.co.uk

Jenny Williams, Housing Manager (Gen. Needs) 029 2041 4086 jenny.williams@wwha.co.uk

Anne Caloe, Housing Manager (Retirement/Supported Housing) 01352 736323

anne.caloe@wwha.co.uk

DEVELOPMENT Nikki Cole, Head of Development 029 2041 4093 nikki.cole@wwha.co.uk

PROPERTY SERVICES Steve Porter, Head of Property Services 029 2041 5373 steve.porter@wwha.co.uk

16 Wales & West Housing Association is registered as a charitable association under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 No. 21114R www.wwha.net

Spotlight on Powys  

Wales & West Housing Association's newsletter for the Powys area

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