Residents' Annual Report | 2021

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New this year

Coming up in 21/22


Resident Feedback

Changing Lives, Creating Opportunities

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Resident led improvement


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Welcome to our Residents’ Annual Report Welcome to our Residents’ Annual Report 2020/21. There is no doubt that this past year has been an extraordinary one as we continue to safely emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. We have had to adapt our daily lives at work and at home, given the many challenges we have all had to face. Our purpose at Swan is clear: To find better ways of doing things so that we can improve lives and communities. Everyday. Like many organisations over the past year, we have adapted our ways of working so that we can continue to safely support you. Our ability to deliver increased digital services and to operate in an agile way became critical to our success and I believe that this experience brought out the best in our teams as they continued to deliver reliable essential services. Our Customer Engagement team made almost 2,500 calls to support residents who were isolated during the pandemic and our field services, including Estates Services, NHS Accommodation and Care and Specialist Housing teams, adapted their approach and all worked tirelessly to support our customers in their homes and communities. In partnership with Axis, we carried out over 34,000 repairs, despite Covid-19 restrictions, and we continued to see how we can improve when things didn’t quite go to plan.

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We also used some of this ‘lockdown time’ at Swan to take a really good look at Swan’s purpose, mission and values. This helped us to understand how we can build on our customer trust and be better at listening too, so that we can provide even better services based on your feedback. As well as continuing to provide safe, high quality homes and safer communities for families to thrive, we have put your needs at the centre of everything we do. Making sure that you are safe in your home, is our number one priority. So, this report is a reflection of what we have done over the past year but it is also about letting you know what’s to come in the future. We look forward to listening to you even more carefully in 2021/22 so that we can ensure that we deliver brilliant customer care and great places to call home.

John Synnuck CEO

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Introduction to Swan’s Service A note from Pete Morley-Watts, Executive Director of Customer Experience.

These include: •

Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code

A year into my role as Executive Director of Customer Experience, and Covid-19, has brought many challenges to us all. The full impact of social isolation on mental health is still to be fully understood, but many people have struggled as a result of not being able to see family and friends. At Swan, we’ve had to deliver services differently throughout the pandemic but we’ve remained committed to our customers.

Social Housing White Paper

TPAS Engagement Standards 2021

This report explains how we provided services to you in 2020/21 in difficult circumstances, including improvements to how we deal with complaints and the launch of our new customer portal, ‘My Swan’. While it highlights some excellent performance in a number of key areas such as compliance, repairs, lettings and complaint handling, we also recognise that we don’t always get things right. The report also shares the results of our first customer survey utilising the Institute of Customer Service’s (ICS) survey. We’ll use these results to improve and will share both the feedback you have given us and what we are doing to improve our services more regularly moving forward. Since the tragedy of Grenfell, our sector has seen an increased focus on safety and consumer standards which we welcome at Swan. During 2020/21 there have been a number of publications and regulations that will improve standards further and that we’re actively using to make positive changes.

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These updated TPAS standards offer a blueprint for how an organisation could approach their tenant engagement effectively and cover seven principles to help landlords focus on tenants and their priorities. While Swan is already committed to listening to and acting on the voice of our customers, there’s always more we can do. So, in 2021/22 we will be developing our new Customer Involvement and Engagement Strategy and we will be using this best practice to help shape an improved approach. I hope you enjoy reading the report and welcome any comments and suggestions you have for how we can improve further. Please get in touch by emailing

Pete Morley-Watts Executive Director of Customer Experience

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Moving online and keeping communities connected Our Community Development Team was met with the challenge of keeping residents engaged and connected at a time when the global pandemic was at its’ peak. During 2020/21, a range of projects have been delivered digitally online, which have helped residents to stay connected and to be involved with their communities. Some examples are: Street Tag As a proud partner, Swan has supported the introduction of the Street Tag app to Basildon New Town. The app encourages people to increase their fitness through the collection of a series of virtual ‘tags’ which, when triggered, help the user to collect points. Individuals, families and work teams can all join the app - which is completely free for all participants - and feed into a leaderboard, which offers fitness incentives as prizes to help individuals track their fitness improvement journey.

Help with SEN and disabilities online Throughout the year it was important to Swan that we continued to provide support to all families. One way this was achieved, was through our work with WEA Learning, to deliver a seven-week online course for two hours each week to seven residents, who learnt how to better support children with special educational needs and disabilities, which directly helped their families. Beechwood and Laindon’s Got Talent Keen to showcase their amazing talents, 13 young people aged between 7-16 years old, from across Laindon and Beechwood Village, Basildon, entered our online talent competition. Talents showcased ranged from singing, dancing, or acting and our winner, Farrah Farnsworth, aged 11, blew us away with her amazing storytelling to win a £50 voucher for her efforts!

Silly Squad Summer Reading Challenge Delivered in partnership with Essex County Council over the Summer of 2020 for ages 4 -11 years, the Silly Squad Summer Reading Challenge attracted more than 3,900 participants from across Essex and approximately 190 of those who got involved were Swan residents.

Keeping Fit, Staying Active. Lockdown saw the majority of people spending more time at home and so we continued to encourage people to maintain some physical activity in our communities.

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Women on Wheels This project, in partnership with Bikeworks and Access Sport, encouraged women at Blackwall Reach, East London to learn how to ride a bicycle safely in an urban environment and to feel confident in doing so. A group of five women took part in this six-week course, with two participants expressing an interest in attaining their cycling safety certificate, which will provide access to the use of Santander bikes across London, free of charge, for one year. Arrangements are underway to recruit a second group of women to take part in this great outdoor initiative.

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Overcoming fear in isolation When we entered the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, many of our older, more vulnerable customers were fearful of what the future would hold. Being isolated from friends and family, worries about accessing food and cash for bills and how people were going to get their medication, were among their concerns. Swan contacted more than 1,000 of our older, more vulnerable customers and those affected by poor mental health, to offer a weekly telephone support service and talk though any concerns people had. More than 25% of these residents (269) took up the offer to have a member of the Swan team call them up on a weekly basis, just to touch base and make sure they were okay. Residents told us that they felt better having had someone to talk to and

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were made to feel at ease in having a reassuring chat with our teams each week. This weekly Welfare Call Up Service ran from the beginning of April until the start of August 2020, during which time 2,492 vital conversations were held. In addition, 269 follow-up calls were made to each of the older, more vulnerable residents who originally registered with us in January 2021 with 160 calls being connected. Our customers reported that these support calls helped them to feel less frightened and isolated during a difficult time. This is just one of the ways our dedicated teams worked to improve lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Keeping professionals connected To help keep professionals and service providers working in the community stay connected throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Swan established the Basildon Community Involvement Network. Meetings were held online with practitioners valuably being able to share their experiences of adapting their services and projects to keep in contact with their residents and communities. Due to its success, the Community Involvement Network will soon be expanded to cover all of Essex.

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 


Community Development



Number of projects delivered online Beechwood & Laindon’s Got Talent

1 2 3

Silly Squad summer reading challenge (ECC)

Helping with special education needs and disabilities.



Number of people who took part in activity online: Total 210 (13, 190, 7 respectively) Support was provided to Newark Youth (Exmouth) and London Tigers (the Reach) to also get their activities transferred to online platforms.

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 

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Number of people supported through our Befriending Support Service: 2,492 successful contacts (3966 calls attempted).



Number of people who benefited from our Warm in Winter Campaign: 435

 160

Number of follow up calls made to vulnerable residents in January 2021: 160 (269 calls attempted).


Number of employment, skills and training initiatives made available digitally: 7

(E-learning, AQA, Go Train, Learning Curve, MET Police Recruitment, Career Week and AAT.)

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Building better homes Consultation on development proposals Covid-19 lockdowns and social restrictions throughout 2020/21 meant that we had to be inventive and solution focused to come up with ways to consult with residents on development proposals for the Exmouth Estate and Blackwall Reach schemes in London and Better Queensway, in Southend-on-Sea.

Exmouth Estate, London Swan is planning to redevelop an area of the Exmouth Estate around Commercial Road and Brayford Square to make Exmouth a better place to live, work and socialise. The vision is to create approximately 230 new homes alongside community facilities such as new shops and green spaces, as well as to make environmental improvements. We're getting ready to submit a planning application to London Borough of Tower Hamlets. A 60-page booklet called ‘The Story So Far’ containing drawings, layout plans and artistic impressions was created and delivered to all residents living on the Exmouth Estate. An extensive telephone consultation followed in October 2020, where residents were asked to participate in a survey on the proposals, with the following outcomes:

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466 87

general needs residents contacted, with 205 residents taking part older residents contacted, with 41 residents taking part

In December, a consultation on proposals was undertaken, with two online sessions held with young people to seek their views. Each of the 15 participants received a £20 voucher for their participation. In January, a second booklet, ‘The Story Continued’ provided updated information on the proposals and how they had been further shaped and developed in the light of the feedback from residents. A second consultation was undertaken during February and March 2021, with the following outcomes:

466 87

general needs residents contacted, with 137 residents taking part older residents contacted, with 33 residents taking part

You can download both booklets and find out more at

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Better Queensway, Essex The regeneration of the Queensway Estate in Southend-on-Sea is being carried out by Swan in partnership with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. The project will transform the Queensway area into a vibrant new place that provides high-quality housing for residents of all tenures, together with commercial units and high-quality and attractive public realm. This will include new public green spaces and a revitalised entrance to Southend-on-Sea from Southend Victoria station. During 2020, as part of the development of the Better Queensway proposals, Swan was required

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to consult with residents on their future housing needs, as part of the development of a Housing Needs Strategy for the development.


residents were contacted In October 2020, with 184 agreeing to participate in a brief survey, which considered the needs and requirements of each resident. The data collected will be used to inform the proposals and ensure that the future housing needs of residents are met. You can find out more about the project at

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Spotlight on customer satisfaction survey results In 2020 we started to change the way we gather feedback from our customers so that we can benchmark how our service compares to other organisations that you deal with. We carried out our first survey with the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) - the independent professional body for customer service - in 2020. We collected feedback from over 600 of our tenants (excluding Care and Specialist Accommodation). We were then able to measure our performance and benchmark this against other organisations in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index. This tool is used by the ICS and all of its members.

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It ranks customer satisfaction on a consistent set of measures on over 250 organisations and organisation types across 13 sectors. Overall, our UKCSI score was 61.5. For comparison, the average for all companies across the UK was 76.8, and the top performer in the whole of the UK was First Direct Bank, with a UKCSI score of 85.5. You told us that you find Swan staff helpful, friendly and knowledgeable and you’re able to interact with us the way you prefer. However, you’d like us to improve the way we deal with issues and complaints and be more proactive in keeping you up to date on repairs.

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New ways to get involved We are keen to ensure that our customers’ voice is always heard. We have a variety of different ways that you can feedback to us, which range from surveys to residents' groups. The Covid-19 pandemic meant that we moved a lot of our engagement activities online. We saw the development of virtual Residents’ Associations, the growth of our 'My Say' panel and the start of public consultations being held online. This new way of working led to us carrying out a review of Customer Involvement and we have revamped the ways that you can get involved for 2021/22. If you are interested in getting involved or would like more information, contact our Customer Involvement Team on

I think Swan team have done remarkably during Covid-19.

Follow up request problems need to be looked at when emailed. The response time via email is too long.

Respond to repairs on time and inform tenants on update or if not attending.

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Our Resident Consultative Committee (RCC) members rose to the challenge and continued to meet throughout Covid-19 virtually. They continued to sign off a range of policies and estate improvement grants, alongside receiving information about Swan’s performance.

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How do we listen to you? Resident Members of Operations Committee Four Swan residents sit on our Customer Committee, which is a committee of Swan’s Board tasked with monitoring service delivery at a strategic level. In 2020/21 the Committee reviewed our key performance indicators, our approach to supporting residents on Welfare Reform and received updates from the Residents’ Scrutiny Panel. The Committee receives regular updates on the Axis Partnership and how we are delivering our repairs and maintenance service, progress against contractual and regulatory requirements for care and support, progress on our Equality and Diversity Scheme and updates on the action plans we have on Housing and Support and Count Me In Strategies. Committee members also receive updates on Swan’s community development projects, the impact of Universal Credit, the progress of HERA's service improvement programme, Swan’s digital transformation programme and the impact of planned and cyclical maintenance programmes on customer satisfaction. The Committee has received a deep dive into our Customer Involvement and Community Development work outcomes, together with a presentation from the Institute of Customer Services (ICS) on our current customer satisfaction reports.

Swan is a member of the Independent Housing Ombudsman Service and we are required to handle your complaints quickly and in a straightforward way. The Housing Ombudsman launched its new Complaint Handling Code in July 2020 and Swan rolled out complaint handling training to over 100 of our colleagues last year to help support you. In 20/21 we received 225 complaints, up two on the previous years’ figure of 223. We acknowledged and replied to 100% of these complaints within our target time of six working days.

73% of the complaints received were related to repairs. 71% of complaints were upheld overall. Satisfaction with how we handled complaints was 93%.

Learning from complaints When things don’t go right, complaints can give us valuable feedback on the health and performance of Swan, giving us an opportunity to learn from your experiences.

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Caroline Richardson Head of Customer Involvement and Community Development

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You said, we did In the last year we’ve implemented some changes to help improve our services. These include:

   Rolled out Housing Ombudsman complaint handling training to over 100 Swan staff.

Introduced weekly meetings with Axis to improve our partnership working and the repairs service that you receive.

Amended our complaints policy and process in line with Housing Ombudsman Complaints Handling Code launched in July 2020.

Launching our customer portal, ‘My Swan’, so you can check your account balance, pay your rent, log a complaint or compliment, look at repairs and request permissions. In 2022, we’ll be making it easier to raise and track repairs online too.

Case management approach to complaints.

What’s to come

We will run indepth surveys with ICS twice a year - in spring and autumn - and the results and what we’re doing to improve them will be shared with you regularly.

Improving the quality of our data.

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Improvements to our phone systems to help you get to the right person to help you.

Customer Service training for all our customer-facing staff.

Understanding our customers survey conducted on our behalf by MEL Research.

More ways for you to get involved and help us shape our services.

 

More improvements to 'My Swan' customer portal based on your feedback.

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Swan at a glance... Key info

G2 V2 Compliant Housing Association

Governance Rating

Viability Rating

Consolidated Group income and expenditure account for the year ended 31 March 2021 Turnover:


Operating costs:


Operating surplus:


Interest payable:


Surplus on ordinary activities before tax:


Homes Owned and Managed





General needs and affordable

Supported Housing

NHS and Key Worker

Leashold and Shared Ownership

New Homes Let 2020/21



General needs

Mutual exchange

How we get our data Having the correct information about our customers is important so that we can make sure our services are tailored to the communities where we work.

The average rent per week for our general needs homes is £116.76

We collect data on residents when they sign up. However, we are aware some information is complete for some of our residents and their household. So, we will be contacting residents this year to make sure that their details are up-to-date.

Resident Profile


Head of Household - BAME

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Head of Household - female


Head of Household - disabled


Head of Household - 60+


Lets made to BAME household

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Financial performance At Swan we are committed to ensuring value for money for our residents. The way we operate as a business and our funding arrangements are structured to maximise the amount of ‘surplus’, or income we generate from our development programme and the day to day activity, so we can continue to invest in services for our residents and new homes to help as many people as possible feel at home with Swan.

March 2021 Mar-‘21 RSH (Sector)** Mar-20 Reinvestment

3.3% 7.2%


New non-social housing units 0.2%



New social housing units




Headline social housing cost per unit




Operating margin social housing lettings




Return on capital employed




** RSH sector figures use median values as there are extreme outliers in the Global data – the median for each metric is the middle value in the dataset

How do we spend your rent? The rent that you pay for your Swan Home is set each year in line with the Regulator of Social Housing’s Rent Standard.

How your rent is spent

Repairs and Maintenance £0.28

 

Interest paid on Bank Loans £0.32

Resident Involvement £0.01

Housing Management £0.27

Overheads £0.12

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2,458 40 -------------- -------------Support provided to 2,458 households in receipt of Universal Credit and 2,250 customers with benefit issues and financial difficulties.

Did you know that Swan provides a full range of housing management services and we also have specialist teams to give you additional help? Our teams are specially trained to support our customers with a range of issues, from helping manage your income, to dealing with anti-social behaviour issues and supporting residents affected by hate crime or domestic abuse.

Supported 40 individuals / households affected by domestic abuse.

3,806 -------------3,806 customers, including 565 customers affected and impacted by Covid-19, contacted to explain welfare reform changes and help them to maximise their income.

This year, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have found different ways to deliver this work in order to continue providing high-quality support. Swan’s welfare reform support programme has been delivered by our team of specialist Welfare Benefit and Welfare Reform Officers for the past five years. In 2020/21, we contacted 3,806 customers, including 565 customers impacted by Covid-19 to explain welfare reform changes and to help maximise their income (compared to 2,953 in 2019/20), securing an additional £781,000 in welfare benefits. This work is vital as it helps to ensure that our customers get the support that they need to protect their homes and sustain their tenancy, which allows time to focus on other important areas of their lives. It also helps Swan to maintain low levels of rent arrears.

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£781k 264 -------------- -------------Customers supported to claim £781,000 of various benefits to sustain their tenancies and improve their finances.

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264 customers supported to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments to cover their rent shortfall.

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Tackling anti-social behaviour Reporting of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) has increased by 33%. This is in line with national trends and can be linked to more people spending time at home. Swan recently introduced a simple way to report ASB and we encourage anyone experiencing any issues with their neighbours to let us know by emailing The highest categories of ASB reported relate to drug activity and noise, with the smell of cannabis being the highest reported drug activity. We have robust investigation processes in place and where an individual is identified as causing ASB issues, we may take legal action to stop this activity. Swan also works closely with local police teams to share intelligence and target police activity in relation to criminal activity being undertaken on our estates.

Case study Mrs D contacted Swan’s Neighbourhoods team to complain about her neighbour smoking cannabis. The smell and the smoke were so bad that Mrs D didn’t want to have friends and family to visit her home. Our Neighbourhood Officer interviewed Mrs D’s neighbour and explained to them the terms of their tenancy. They advised them that it could lead to them being served with an Injunction and if they breached this, their home repossessed, if they continued to smoke cannabis in or around the property. Following a period of monitoring, Mrs D told us that her neighbour had stopped smoking cannabis and it was lovely to be able to use her garden and have her family round again

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Mrs D said:

“Swan was very helpful and understanding and helped sort it out, only wished I had approached Swan for help a lot sooner.”

Swan encourages residents to use the Noise App to report and record activity that is causing them a nuisance. During 2020/21 Swan received 1,814 reports via the App. Most noise issues can be resolved quickly by discussing this with neighbours or facilitating a mediation session between parties involved. However, where this is not successful, and the noise meets unreasonable criteria, tenancy or legal options will be pursued. We successfully obtained an Injunction Order to prohibit further noise in two of these cases this year.

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MySwan portal

 Reporting of ASB up by 33%

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In 2019 you told us you wanted new ways to contact us and the ability to self-serve.

Yasmine, one of our residents at Blackwall Reach in East London has tried the portal. She said she found it

We launched the MySwan portal in September 2020 as a result of your feedback. The portal allows you to check your rent balance and pay your rent at a time that suits you. MySwan is available 24/7, 365 days a year on a desktop or mobile device such as a tablet, laptop or smartphone. It’s simple, fast and safe.

“quick and easy to register - I really love being able to access services 24/7”.

By the end of December 2020, we had 207 customers signed up. Now, more than 1,000 customers are using the portal. By the end of 2020, customers had made payments of £110,000 towards rent and service charges using the portal.

Thank you to those residents who took part in a survey about MySwan. Your voice has enabled us to identify and make improvements to the portal - so thank you! The next time you have a question or want to reach us, just log onto MySwan. Sign up at

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Equality and Diversity Our vision is to deliver a truly inclusive customer service that improves lives, as well as an employment offer that meets the needs of our customers. During 2020/21, we worked hard to continue delivery of our Equality Scheme 2018-2022 Action Plan, which is focused on achieving five key objectives including to: ‘Support our customers to achieve equal outcomes in times of change’. If you would like more information you can view our Annual Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Report which will be published on later this year. Swan Equality Scheme 2022-2025 We are currently working on developing a new Equality Scheme to drive our equality, diversity and inclusion work over the next few years and welcome your thoughts! If you would like to get involved, contact Anna Williams, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, on 01277 314960 or

New this year: HouseProud Pledge We have signed the HouseProud Pledge to demonstrate our commitment to LGBTQ+ equality and support and have pledged to make sure that LGBTQ+ residents can have input at executive / strategic level, increase LGBTQ+ visibility, and provide staff training to improve understanding of LGBTQ+ lives. For more information about the HouseProud pledge and HouseProud’s ‘No Place Like Home’ research that led to the development of the pledge please, see

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Warm in winter Following successful pilot schemes trialled in Tower Hamlets in 2017 and Basildon in 2018, we wrote to all Swan residents aged over 70 years who live alone and offered to visit them in 2019 as part of our ‘Warm in Winter’ Campaign. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to do things differently last year. So, in December 2020 we sent out more than 400 bespoke ‘Warm in Winter’ letterbox packages to Swan general needs residents over the age of 65 years and living alone. The boxes included a booklet containing details of support groups and tips on how to stay warm in winter, plus items such as hand sanitiser, therapy colouring books and pencils, teabags and treats.

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We know repairs are important to you Swan partners with Axis to manage repairs, maintenance and essential servicing in customers’ homes and communal arears. Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions meant that Axis could not deliver their services as usual this year. So, Axis adapted quickly to the changing situation, putting extra measures, such as wearing protective equipment during visits, in place to keep everyone safe. Axis has now completed all the outstanding repairs in residents’ homes and less urgent communal repairs are being completed as quickly as possible, with operatives taking Covid-19 safety measures. In 2021/22, we will be focusing on how we can improve our repairs service by keeping you up-to-date on the status of your repairs and dealing with any issues that you experience quickly.

Axis achieved a good performance in 2020-2021 and we will continue to work to improve our repairs service.

34,000+ 173

repairs new kitchens installed


of repairs completed first visit


customers satisfied with their last repair


of repair appointments made and kept


Made sure every home had a valid gas safety certificate

Plans for repairs for 2021/22 We will visit all properties where customers have expressed a wish to end their tenancy to ensure residents understand their obligations before they leave their property, ie to leave it clean and tidy with no outstanding resident’s responsibility repairs. This will enable us to re-let the home quickly. We receive a high number of breakdown calls during the winter reporting no hot water and/ or heating. To ensure that we maximise resources and can attend to these repairs quickly, we will be moving our gas services to the summer months.


We will continue to improve homes by undertaking Decent Homes works throughout 2021-22 in line with our Decent Homes Plus Programme.


We will also review our current portfolio to undertake works to ensure homes are as efficient as possible to reduce carbon emissions.


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Same as last year

Below target

How did we do?

Above target


61.5% Satisfied with overall service (Target 75%)

64% Satisfied with repairs service (Target 70%)

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Satisfied with quality of home (Target 84%)

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Repairs completed at first visit (Target 97.5%)

Repair appointments made and

People satisfied with their last

kept (Target 96.5%)

repair (Target 90%)


Properties with a valid gas safety certificate (Target 100%)

Average cost of a repair (No target)



Average number of days taken to re-let an empty home (Target 15 days)

Satisfaction with our letting service (Target 80%)

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Same as last year

Below target

Above target


93% People satisfied with the complaints procedure (Target 76%)



Stage 1 complaints responded to within six working (Target 98%)

Number of complaints received

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102.4%* % of rent collected (Target 100%). * Figure is more than 100% as this includes rent arrears collected.

2.26% Current arrears as a % of rent due (Target 2.6%)

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Satisfied with ASB case handling (Target 80%)

People satisfied with how their report was dealt with (Target 75%)

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Putting you at the heart Axis has a team of dedicated staff that help to look after your home. Here’s how they work with you to ensure that the service you receive is to a high standard.

An interview with Kathy Pilkington, Resident Liaison Manager Kathy has worked for Axis since the start of Swan’s partnership with Axis. She said: “To earn residents’ trust I always try and be respectful. I respect residents’ homes and keep them all informed, keep them updated as to where we are with their project – which is mostly installing kitchens and bathrooms. I had an elderly resident who did not want to be on her own while our guys were installing her new kitchen. So, I sat with her as they were doing the works and kept her company. An elderly couple in Basildon needed help clearing out their kitchen before we put the new one in. I helped them get all their pots and pans down and put them all back for them when the work was done.

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It’s the personal touch that builds trust. I am always honest and open with residents. I am quite soft inside so I always feel and sympathise with them. It’s the appreciation you get from Swan residents that makes it so good. Managing expectations is also important. I tell residents: 'You are not getting a show home or a kitchen from an Interior Design magazine. What you will get will be good quality, and we will install it well and safely.’ I always give them a time scale and we work hard to stick to it."

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Here’s what you had to say about Axis: “Very polite, on time, completed efficiently.” “Excellent service.”

“Their professionalism and warmth are a credit to your team.”

“The repair itself and the conduct of the engineer were exemplary.”

“What a fantastic job.”

“Excellent work - really pleasant and very helpful.”

Going the extra mile Working with Swan, Axis sponsors Swan’s annual resident conference ‘Swanfest’ and also Swan’s annual Star in the Community Awards. (Although this wasn’t held in 20/21 due to Covid-19.) Swan at Christmas: Axis people donated gifts and toys to Boyes Croft, a sheltered housing scheme for elderly residents, and Next Chapter for mothers and children fleeing domestic abuse. Garden Redecoration: Axis volunteers upgraded the garden at Swan’s Spencer House, a supported living home for adults with learning disabilities. Covid Secure Space: Outlook Care asked Swan if we (Axis and Swan) would create a Covid-19 secure space so the residents at Neave Crescent, a supported living scheme in Romford, Essex, could meet their families.

Swan's Estate Services We know that the outside area is just as important as the inside of your home and so our estate services team continued to work safely to maintain the communal and outside areas of our customers’ homes during lockdown.

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Beechwood Village Community Trust While Covid-19 restrictions directly affected the number of activities we were able to deliver face-to-face with local communities during 2020/21, we have been able to continue our work behind the scenes to make improvements to our services. The Beechwood Village Community Trust (BVCT) is a good example of this. The BVCT is supported by Swan to administer grants for the areas of Beechwood Village and Craylands in Basildon. Making it easier for local people and groups to access funding is a key priority for the trust and three new funding streams have been developed and are now live on the BVCT Website: The ‘Give it a Go’ fund Funding is available to support local people living at Beechwood Village and Craylands to put their ideas into action. The funding helps them to get a project going in their community which will bring about positive community benefit.

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The ‘Helping Hands’ fund Funding is available to individual residents in receipt of Universal Credit and who have children, to support access to sporting, learning, and leisure activities. This could be the purchase of equipment, uniforms / kit, or the payment of subscriptions to clubs, which enables children and young people to take part in activities and develop their talents. The ‘Big Grants’ fund This fund has been established to support local groups and organisations to bring forward community initiatives which provide up to £20,000 over a two-year funding period. This fund provides a degree of certainty to those working to support people in the area and seeks to encourage other sources of sustainable funding to be secured, meaning the projects can be delivered long term.

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Case study Creating opportunities We’re passionate about supporting our residents to gain new skills to help them to access jobs and fulfill their potential. We offer employability skills, sector-based training and job support for our residents. Last year - in light of the Covid-19 and an increasingly challenging job market - we launched a new eLearning solution that offers residents the opportunity to study accredited distance learning courses on a range of topics. Courses cover topics such as creative thinking, digital marketing customer service, retail, care and lots more. Agnes*, one of our younger residents, said:

Following this successful pilot, we will be rolling out the AQA programme more widely at Swan to empower our customers to reach their potential.

“It’s good for me to add these on my CV, as it shows future employers that I am willing to learn. The courses give me something constructive to do in my spare time, that is also helping my future.”

In addition, we have been working with a range of local partners, employment agencies and Local Authorities to align our post-Covid-19 delivery plan:

We’ve partnered with AQA to deliver the Unit Award Scheme (UAS) - a unique recording of achievement scheme, rather than a qualification. It offers learners the opportunity to have their achievements formally recognised with a certificate each time a short unit of learning is successfully completed. We have developed a range of learning units focused on life skills, such as financial management, maintaining tenancy, health and wellbeing and employability skills.

Shaping employment and training offering with Thurrock Council as part of our Purfleet-onThames Regeneration.

Agreeing our employment training targets for delivering Better Queensway Regeneration with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

Partnering with South Essex and New City College to deliver our construction training programmes.

Working with HLR Resources to deliver the Transform and Achieve programme.

Partnering with WEA to deliver employability and sector-based skills .

Last year, the programme was run as a pilot scheme at our Foyers, which provide a safe, caring place for young people aged 16-25 years who need a positive space to live, learn and make the transition to independent adulthood.

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It doesn’t matter if you haven’t worked before or don’t have the relevant skills or qualifications; if you are looking for support to find work or learn new skills, get in touch with our Employment and Training Manager Abdullah Hossain on 01277 844 242 or *Name has been changed to protect identity

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Swan Care North win ‘Home Care Team Award’ Swan’s North Rapid Response Team, which enables people who are in need of care and support to remain independent for as long as possible while living in their own home, took home the trophy for The Home Care Team Award at The Great British Care Awards, South East Regional Awards 2020. Among hundreds of other worthy UK-wide entries, Swan impressed the judges with their ‘personalised approach, customer satisfaction, clear and positive outcomes’ in the ‘Home Care Team’ category which recognises the team that best demonstrates a shared vision and agreed goals.

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Shani Levy, Director of Care and Specialist Accommodation said: “The team and I are so proud that Swan Care North’s Rapid Response Team have won this award. During what has been an extremely tough year for the social care sector - with staff shortages due to isolation and extra pressure on the NHS - the whole team has really pulled together; covering extra shifts to ensure people were safely discharged from hospital or supported to stay at home, plus providing emotional support to colleagues and customers. Our team culture is something we pride ourselves on and it’s this type of recognition that encourages us to go above and beyond.”

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Technology helps to keep people connected during Covid-19 We worked alongside Essex County Council to provide innovative Video Carephones to our Supported Housing customers and Home Care customers, helping them keep in touch with friends and family while aiding social distancing. The integrated, easy-to-use device enabled nearly 100 customers to make video calls to pre-identified people via a locked down tablet and a web portal, including getting shopping and other basic essentials through the Help@home service provided with the device. Marianne* is a ninety-year-old who lives independently in the community with assistance from Swan Care Services . Her son also usually visits her regularly, but during Covid-19 he wasn’t able to visit her and Marianne, who has limited mobility, was finding her contact with family being restricted to

phone calls only extremely difficult. The provision of a Video Carephone enabled her to talk to her son - and see his dog whom she loves! - via video several times per day. It has also enabled the Swan staff team to check in on her through video calls between visits. Marianne’s son, Stephen* said: “The Alcove Video Carphone has proved to be greatly beneficial. You can sense my mum’s delight at being able to see and hear her loved ones. I think that the device has actually improved her health and given her a bit of quality of life back; there is a brightness about her”. Due to their success, customers continue to use Carephones to stay in touch with friends, family and other Swan customers. *Name has been changed to protect identity

At the frontline Swan’s Care and Specialist accommodation continued to deliver much needed personal care, support and key worker living services to our customers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The team quickly and continuously implemented measures to keep our customers and staff safe, following ever-evolving government guidelines. As well as ensuring that there were appropriate faceto-face or online services in place to safeguard and support our customers and care for customers in the community.

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Grant funding for Dobsons House Dobsons House is our extra care scheme in Rayleigh, Essex that provides supported housing to customers aged 55 years or over who need at least six hours of personal care a week. The team at Dobsons House obtained a grant to support our residents to see their families safely during lockdown. Outdoor seating, tables and gazebos were purchased to enable our customers to meet with family and friends in the gardens when it was safe to do so.

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Swan Care North Rapid Response Service Swan continued to work alongside Anglian Community Enterprises and North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group to deliver community care and support services to customers living in North Essex. We supported the delivery of a new Urgent Community Response Service (UCRS) as part of a nation-wide project to support a 24/7 rapid response service for people who are at risk of going into hospital or who need additional short-term support on discharge from hospital. Delivered by an integrated multi-agency of North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance partners, the UCRS gives customers a single point of entry to access

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a range of health, social care reablement and voluntary sector interventions, based on individual need. In addition to our contracted services, in 2020/21 we supported Colchester Hospital, helping 100 people to settle back home after being discharged from hospital with Covid-19. Swan also started the Essex County Council ‘Winter Bridging’ contract to assist Colchester and Clacton hospitals and the community teams to support people in their own homes to prevent admission to hospital or to support someone coming home from hospital for up to five days, with 12 adults in the service at any one time.

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NHS key worker living haven The vital, and often life-saving, services delivered by NHS staff and other frontline workers has been brought to the fore this past year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. These workers make a huge difference in our communities day-in, day-out and at Swan, we aim to make their lives a bit easier by providing them with somewhere to feel at home.

housekeeping services. We also eased parking restrictions so NHS staff could isolate stress free.

We have three Key Worker Accommodation Schemes that have been specially developed in partnership with the NHS to provide high-quality, affordable rented housing - from studio flats to shared accommodation and three-bedroom family houses - for NHS key workers and those working in the emergency services and public sector.

“This flat was just perfect for me,” one customer said. “It was reasonably priced and excellently furnished. Great facilities and very, very secure. I will miss living here. I have made lots of fond memories in this flat. I am grateful for the efficiency at which Swan housing responded to my requests, whether it was for repairs or extra amenities.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, this accommodation has been vital for NHS key workers by keeping staff on site, reducing commute time and providing a comfortable home for those wishing to isolate from shielding family members. We quickly adapted how we delivered our services to make sure that NHS residents still received

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The key worker accommodation goes beyond simply being temporary housing; Swan provides excellent customer care to ensure that it becomes a great place to call home.

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Foyers: Connecting Minds project Our Foyers provide a safe, caring place for young people aged 16-25 years of age who need supported housing to live, learn and make the transition to independent adulthood. Last year, two of Swan’s accredited Foyers were selected to take part in the pilot Connecting Minds Programme - an online resource with two staff facilitators and five peer influencers that provided young people with support in developing a personal budget. Heather Court in Romford and Dove Cott House in Laindon joined just two other local accredited foyers on the three-month programme, funded through the National Lottery Community Fund and delivered by a youth-led social enterprise called ‘States of Mind’, with expert support from learning and innovation partner InspireChilli.

Lockdown gardening We encouraged individual gardening sessions for young people living at Swan House Foyer during lockdown to support their wellbeing. Our customers were able to plant potatoes, tomatoes and courgettes along with sunflowers and other colourful plants to make the garden a nice place for the young people to come and sit, away from their flat.

57% 17

of young people in our Foyers accommodation remained in education, employment or training during the Covid-19 pandemic young people successfully moved on after completing our Foyer programmes

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Services Delivered during Covid-19 2020-21 Supported housing

 92

residents connecting with family and friends via Carephone


Christmas dinners delivered to Swan residents (at Dobsons House) and members of the community


Christmas Hampers distributed in our Sheltered Housing units

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calls were made to our supported housing residents


wellness packs shared out to customers in our our supported housing schemes


VE Day celebration packs gifted

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customer care plans compliant during the pandemic



hours of personalised care was delivered at Dobson’s House

telephone wellbeing calls during lockdown periods

 18,226

hours of personalised care delivered at Dobson’s House

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hours delivered on the Urgent Community Response Service


people supported during the night with our Night Sitting Service

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Services Delivered during Covid-19 2020-21 Foyers (young people's supported housing 57%

of young people in our Foyers accommodation remained in education, employment or training during the pandemic



During the Covid-19 pandemic our ‘Keyworker Living Accommodation’ continued to house NHS personnel who were supporting hospitals with their staffing levels


of young people living in our Foyer Housing schemes, successfully moved on after completing our Foyer programmes


families housed and welcomed to Swan


hours per week dedicated to sanitising blocks during the pandemic

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Somewhere to feel at home

Parking restrictions eased so NHS staff could isolate stress free and receive their supporting visitor


short stay bookings accommodated

  3,208

new NHS staff checked in to our accommodation

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Flexibility adapted in housekeeping programmes during lockdown phases, so NHS residents still received specific services


109 - Emergency Covid-19 rooms allocated to hospitals to allow high risk staff to occupy to safeguard vulnerable family members at home

All sites received many special compliments for their support during the pandemic:

“Thank you for all your help this year,” said Chris Randall, Associate Director of Finance – Financial Governance. “Your accommodation and support meant that we could keep nurses and doctors in the hospital to save patients’ lives; so much more to us than just four walls.”

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somewhere to feel at home

Swan HA Pilgrim House Billericay Essex CM12 9XY

NU living Tramway House 3 Tramway Avenue Stratford E15 4PN

Hera Management Services Limited Tramway House 3 Tramway Avenue Stratford E15 4PN

Tel: 0300 303 2500

Tel: 0800 819 9390

Tel: 0345 683 8812




Repairs: 0800 783 2768 or 020 3597 2067 from a mobile (24 hrs a day)

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

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