Supporting our communities
Community Investment and Social Value Programme
Following a six-month discovery period, working with the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust (HACT) and talking to our customers, colleagues and Group Board, this year saw us develop a clear Community Investment strategy.
Our Community Investment activities will focus on initiatives, projects and funding that will help us work with partners to provide increased social value and enhance our communities.
This year also saw us launch our Customer Wellbeing Hub to help us deliver on our commitment to enhance our customers' health and wellbeing and economic resilience.
The facility supports customers with issues such as domestic abuse or their mental health, as well as financial support and benefit entitlement. Our Improving Lives Hardship Fund also provides practical one-off support to help alleviate the stress caused by financial hardship.
Our Coronavirus response
The Coronavirus pandemic has shone a bright light on the inequality that exists in society and this has been at the forefront of our mind during our response to this unprecedented crisis. With a resilient and agile team, we remain well-placed to meet these challenges.
The pandemic has changed the way which we work, for now and in the future, and as we continue to respond to the challenges posed by Coronavirus, we're doing all that we can to keep our colleagues and customers safe and up to date.
Taking every precaution to keep people safe, our Procurement Team ensured essential supplies of food and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were maintained at a critical time.
A compassionate and committed service
We also recruited extra colleagues and introduced new technology to ensure we continued to provide a compassionate and committed service to some of our most vulnerable customers
This has included helping hotels to accommodate rough sleepers and providing smart phones to children in care services so they can stay connected with friends and loved ones
We've also teamed up with schools as part of a letter writing project to elderly residents, donated a total of £10,000 to domestic abuse and food bank charities, hand-delivered food parcels to customers at our schemes and launched a new Customer Heroes scheme to reward those who've gone above and beyond
Everything we have achieved during this crisis will help us to return stronger as we seize the opportunity to work in a more agile way, travelling less and making better use of technology.
Within days of lockdown, our operational customer-facing teams stood down normal service and it was all hands on deck. Collectively, we understood that wellbeing, hardship and isolation were our priority areas to tackle, armed with a clear focus on food, fuel, medication and social inclusion.
Charmaine Simei, Director of Community Investment, said: “Within days of lockdown, our operational customer facing teams stood down normal service and it was all hands on deck.
“Collectively, we understood that wellbeing, hardship and isolation were our priority areas to tackle, armed with a clear focus on food, fuel, medication and social inclusion.
“Whilst some of the societal scars left by the pandemic may last longer than the virus itself, there has been an explosion of energy, compassion, collaboration and innovation, which as a sector we have a continued role and responsibility to help harness, support and foster."