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Approach to regeneration

Introducing Bow Cross

700 residents supported

Basketball star launched

Artist in residency project


| JANUARY 2014



Our approach to regeneration Welcome to this special edition of Swan’s Communicator Newsletter, produced specifically to showcase how Swan supports our residents into work and training, helping to “Keep London Working”.

Swan provides homes and services throughout London and Essex, but in this edition we are focusing on our flagship regeneration of the Bow Cross Estate in Tower Hamlets to demonstrate

how we not only deliver improved homes and neighbourhoods but also work with our residents to provide them with the opportunity to obtain work and training –

giving them the skills they need to make a difference to their lives and their communities. 0300 303 2500

Creating homes and communities that people want to live in Swan is a neighbourhood investor, taking a holistic approach to regeneration:

Swan in Numbers 10,664 units across East London and Essex

People - we create mixed tenure communities, enhance community cohesion and improve the life chances of the local community.

22,565 residents live in our homes 416 new homes completed 2012/13

Partnerships - we work closely with our local authority partners and supply chain to deliver schemes that meet the needs of the local residents. Place - we build on brownfield sites, providing sustainable communities built to excellent design standards, in locations where housing is needed most. However, the role of housing associations is changing and tackling worklessness is a critical part of regeneration, as it impacts on all aspects of life. In fact, we view reducing worklessness as a key objective. To ‘tackle

888 new homes planned over the next 3 years 13,020 people received care and support services from Swan Group in 2012/13 308 residents actively involved the equality issues that matter most to residents’ is embedded into our Corporate Plan and we expect to deliver increasing numbers of employment and training schemes over the coming years to support our residents and the wider community.

Thank you for taking the time to read this booklet we hope it provides you with an insight into our approach to regeneration and the difference we as a sector can make in changing people’s lives.

700+ Swan and local residents supported with training and employment opportunities since 2007 309 employees across 18 offices

ACME project A Swan Foundation grant, which supported artist Simon Terrill to deliver a year-long residency to the residents of Bow Cross, culminated in a public photo shoot involving 160 local residents. Find out more on page 6



Introducing Bow Cross The before and after


Bow Cross is being transformed by Swan to provide 681 quality homes together with an array of community facilities and most importantly, creating a place where people want to live. Originally built in the early 1970s, the Bow Cross Estate (formally known as Crossways) is located in Bow, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on the site of former rail yards. Sadly, by the late 1990s it had deteriorated to the point where total demolition and replacement with lowdensity terraced housing was considered. However, the local authority took the bold decision to maintain the existing towers and instead initiated a major regeneration project. After an extensive consultation process with local residents, the estate was transferred to Swan Housing Association in March 2005, with one of the largest positive votes in the whole of the Borough’s stock transfer process. Before the regeneration, problems on the Estate stemmed largely from the layout and design, as well as decay of the fabric. The site lay between four and seven metres below the surrounding streets and was accessed via a system of elevated walkways. This created a hostile pedestrian environment with high crime levels.

The new design created a total of 681 homes and has delivered improvements to all of the homes on the estate. In addition, one of the original design objectives was to achieve a landmark, high quality project which acts as a catalyst for the regeneration of the surrounding area. A new Community Hall, IT Suite and Housing Office was included within the regeneration and it also incorporates a new play area, basketball court and retains a number of the original mature trees - in line with residents’ wishes. There are a variety of activities provided weekly at the Bow Cross Community Hall including dance, exercise and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes and youth activities including a youth forum. Swan also bases its annual

London Summer Activity Scheme at Bow Cross. The 2013 scheme provided 30 different activities over a four week period, free of charge, for 63 young people from Bow Cross and surrounding neighbourhoods. The onsite IT suite, which is available for residents to use daily, Monday to Friday, on a drop in basis is used to deliver resident internet training and drop in help sessions. We also offer ESOL IT training from this suite in conjunction with the Bromley by Bow Centre, offering a valuable resource to residents and represents Swan’s commitment to digital inclusion. We continue to support our residents becoming involved in ‘ready to work’ initiatives on the estate, for example the work in the final tower will see the creation of 20 apprenticeship

opportunities for local people. Two of the three tower blocks have been fully refurbished (work to the final tower is on-going and is expected to be completed in late 2014) together providing 296 modern, thermally efficient homes.

Bow Cross facts and figures £160 million investment £37.7 million HCA grant 300 homes redeveloped to provide 681 new homes 485 at affordable rent, 6 shared ownership and 190 private sale 30 years Increased life expectancy of tower block

Over 700 residents supported with employment and training since 2007 Swan offers an extensive annual residents’ training programme offering accredited training including CIH level 2, first aid, food hygiene and a variety of other training courses including healthy eating and basic repairs and decorating. In 2013, 67 courses were successfully completed by Swan residents. Last year, one resident has used the training in food hygiene to set up her own catering business and another resident got a pay rise after completing the first aid course. We also explore specific schemes to boost

employment opportunities through our Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy. In partnership with Writtle College, Swan has developed the Swan Academy exclusive to Swan residents who are currently unemployed, providing the opportunity to gain a qualification and practical experience in horticulture. Swan currently employs two residents as trainees who work on existing Swan stock, acting as a stepping-stone to enable residents to secure longterm employment. Since launching the scheme in September 2012, 16 residents have achieved accredited courses in

horticulture with five securing employment. We have also recently launched our Health and Social Care training programme with Harlow College, where those

who successfully complete the course will be guaranteed an interview with our company specialising in Social Care: Vivo Support Ltd.

A day in the life of a Swan apprentice… Swan’s regeneration projects provide employment and training opportunities for many people including our residents. We sent Communicator editor, Jo March, out to find out more about the apprentices and the work they do. At the beginning of the day I joined Gabriel Ededy, an apprentice working with one of Swan’s supply chain partners, Malden Facades. As part of his apprenticeship Gabriel has worked on a number of different sites and he is now working on the

“I hope to remain working at Malden Facades to fulfill my ambition to become a site manager - I love what I am doing!” Gabriel said

regeneration of Mallards Point, part of the Bow Cross Estate. Gabriel expects to complete his apprenticeship in April. Following my time on the

construction site I headed to the Building Lives Academy. Swan works in partnership with the academy supporting a number of apprentices who are placed

in positions through our construction supply chain. At the Academy students learn the skills which will equip them for a career in the construction industry.


Swan Foundation launches a basketball star! At Swan, we don't just focus on work and training to improve lives; health and wellbeing is also key and we provide regular sports activities at many of our estates. A Bow Cross schoolboy, supported by a Swan Foundation funded project, has been selected by Newham All Star Sports Academy (NASSA) coaches to play in their national under-15 basketball squad. Khonde, a resident of Bow Cross, was first spotted by NASSA when he displayed an inspirational set of skills during a ‘Shoot a Hoop’ session delivered by NASSA as part of a project funded by Swan

Foundation. He now regularly travels to NASSA headquarters to train with the rest of the team and competes very successfully in national competitions. NASSA is a sport based charity founded in Newham. Swan Foundation has supported their projects for three years. This funding has enabled them to also offer projects in Tower Hamlets allowing more young people, like Khonde, to try new sports. The Swan Foundation is Swan’s charitable arm, established in 2009, to improve people's lives across Essex and East London and be a catalyst for change. Swan

Foundation work in partnership to develop and build the capacity of those people living in socially and economically disadvantaged communities to enable the

regeneration of disadvantaged areas: relieving poverty; increasing employment prospects; and reducing the effects of economic and social exclusion.

Housing qualification for Bow Cross resident At Swan, we want residents to work with us to co-regulate our business, so we have a strong resident involvement structure and provide training to help residents get the most out of their involvement and to further their employability. At Swan, we provide residents with the opportunity to undertake an accredited training course to achieve a CIH Level 2 in Housing to improve their knowledge of social housing and assist

them in finding employment. Since 2009, 14 residents have completed the course. Last year the course enabled one resident to become an Essex Regional Committee Member at Swan and another to work as a volunteer for Swan. In 2011, one resident secured employment with another organisation and another became the Vice Chair of the Swan Resident Quality Panel and Value for Money Panel. Another resident was sponsored by Swan to continue onto the Level 3

“I was on the steering group when Tower Hamlets was transferring stock, and we looked at what different housing associations had to offer. At the time the estate was a real mess, but immediately after the transition to Swan, things got better. Things feel safer and it is much more of a community now. I’ve become Vice Chair of the London RCC and studied for the CIH Level 2 in Housing Practice qualification, which has been most valuable and given me a view of what things are like from the other side.” A long term resident of Bow Cross, Luigi Bianchi, completed the CIH Level 2 course in 2013. in Housing Maintenance and was nominated and subsequently shortlisted for TPAS Tenant of the Year Award, Southern Region 2012. We have nine residents currently

studying the CIH level 2; eight of these residents have become formally involved with Swan sitting on our resident committees.

ACME project with Swan Foundation


“I was interested in the seismic shifts of a neighbourhood undergoing regeneration and the multitude of complex stories; of people coming and going, dislocation and relocation and a place finding itself anew. I also wanted to find a way for those people who appear in the images and video, by choosing how they represent themselves, to be both subject and audience in the final works.” Simon Terrill

In 2011 the Swan Foundation supported Acme Studios to develop a twelve-month artist residency opportunity at Bow Cross. The yearlong Bow Cross Residency began in December 2010. ACME

was invited to apply to the Swan Foundation for a grant to develop a project focussed on Bow Cross. Artist, filmmaker and photographer Simon Terrill worked with Bow Cross

Success for life project Swan Foundation funded a project in partnership with Bromley by Bow Centre to provide residents with regular employment support activities which included CV writing, interview skills, job search and work placement. The aim was to enable Swan Housing residents from Bow Cross, particularly parents, to develop both the

confidence and practical skills they needed to find employment. In total, 33 Swan residents participated in the project between March 2011 and February 2012. Four residents secured employment following the sessions, with the remaining participants referred for further training and development, to job agencies or to voluntary work.

residents and sought to engage and inspire local people on the estate. Tressa Bates, a Bow Cross Resident said: “Simon brought us together on the day of the shoot and the impact of that is in my view

still being felt; it’s a ‘work in progress’. We are over half way through the build and photography has now become a really valuable part of capturing that experience we are having of new elements emerging in the estate.”

ESOL Entry Level 1 Course The Resident Involvement Team have worked with the Bromley by Bow Centre to deliver English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to 98 local residents since July 2007 to promote social inclusion and enable residents to gain a formal qualification in the UK. Last year, 15 residents successfully completed the ESOL Entry Level 1 course

qualification in partnership with the Limehouse Project. Participants fed back that their improved English language skills had enabled them to be more independent and interact with others to a greater extent. The ESOL programme is continuing in partnership with the Bromley by Bow Centre and is being expanded to provide single gender classes as requested by our residents.

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Essex Regional Office: Pilgrim House, High Street, Billericay, Essex CM12 9XY

Swan HQ 0300 303 2500

If you would like to contact Swan via the text service, add Swan Housing as a contact, adding the mobile number 07860 021752 then choose the relevant department and text their dedicated word.

Please call 0300 303 2500 if you would like someone to explain any of these articles to you.

London Regional Office: Cygnet House South, 10 Chrisp Street, Poplar, London E14 6LL We are open MondayThursday 9.00am-5.15pm

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Bow Cross Special Edition  
Bow Cross Special Edition  

This is a special edition of "The Communicator" for The London Employment Showcase