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We’re Supporting The 16 Days of Action

We’re supporting The 16 Days of Action – otherwise known as The White Ribbon campaign – which takes place globally from 25 November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

As part of our support of the campaign, we’ve announced a new initiative to help tackle domestic abuse, a 16 strong Domestic Abuse Champions group.

Lisa Fairlie, Director of Housing Operations, Neighbourhoods and Operations at Platform Housing Group said: “The theme of this year’s campaign is about domestic abuse in the workplace so it is very fitting that we are announcing the launch of our Domestic Abuse Champions initiative; the group will help support any member of staff who is experiencing or who has experienced domestic abuse. 

We firmly believe that all of our customers and employees should not live in fear of violence or abuse from a partner, former partner or any other member of their household.  As a large provider of affordable housing we have a significant role to play in tackling and preventing domestic abuse.

We currently support customers who are victims of domestic abuse by listening, providing advice, signposting to other specialist agencies, operating safety checks in homes to ensure survivors feel safe as well as dealing directly with perpetrators.

Importantly, 2021 will see Platform become accredited within best practice guidelines as set out by the government backed Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance, a national body that aims to improve the housing sector’s response to domestic abuse. Having established the first accreditation for housing providers, as a member of DAHA, Platform Housing Group will aim to always deal with victims of domestic abuse in a fair, patient and consistent manner. It will also show its commitment to the issue as well as providing ongoing employee training.

Statistics surrounding domestic abuse in the UK make for sobering reading:

  • 1 in 4 women will experience some form of domestic abuse within their lives;

  • A staggering 2 women a week are killed by their partner or former partner;

  • 1 in 4 LGBT relationships is abusive;

  • The average victim will suffer more than 50 incidents before reporting;

  • Worryingly, the number one barrier preventing women from leaving abusive situations is housing.

The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, has reported a 700 per cent increase in calls to its helpline in a single day, while a separate helpline for perpetrators of domestic abuse seeking help to change their behaviour received 25 per cent more calls during the first lockdown; similarly, Women’s Aid reported a 41 per cent increase in the organisation’s live chat service during this period.

Platform Housing Group is part of The Drive Partnership which is made up of Respect, SafeLives and Social Finance. It challenges perpetrators of domestic abuse aiming to fundamentally change perpetrator behaviour to make victims and families safe.

The 16 Days of Action – which is symbolised by a white ribbon - first began at The Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and has gone from strength to strength; since this time, more than 5000 groups in 187 countries have contributed to promoting and supporting the campaign. Large organisations such as the world-renowned Amnesty International and World Health Organisation support and celebrate the 16 Days as well as far more local, grassroots projects.

Lisa concluded : “Domestic abuse impacts upon all communities creating a sense of fear and the potential for reprisals and criminal activity.  It is a serious and widespread crime affecting all members of our society, including children.  Supporting campaigns like this is critical to our work.  Our message is simple, we are here to offer help and support to those suffering domestic abuse.

If you are a Platform Housing Customer that is experiencing domestic abuse, please call 0333 200 7304.

Read We’re Supporting The 16 Days of Action…

Launch of property maintenance recruitment campaign for Lincolnshire

Platform Property Care has launched a recruitment drive to increase its multi skilled workforce in Lincolnshire.

Keen to play its part within both the local economies and communities in which it works, Platform Property Care has identified the county as a growing area for its business.

Marc Mayall, Director of Operations (Property) explained : “This latest recruitment drive is all part of commitment not only to our customers but also to the economic growth of the regions we work in.”

The recruitment campaign – which will run until next April – is focusing on employing electricians and gas engineers to service the Lincolnshire area; successful candidates will receive a host of benefits including their own van.”

Successful candidates receive a career development plan with the chance to gain formal qualifications.  As a committed, strong and resilient employer, the company ensured those who were furloughed earlier in the year received enhance pay. 

Phil Trickett, Contracts Manager based in Louth, Lincolnshire, started his employment with Platform Property Care at the beginning of July; the team carries out all aspects of heating repairs and annual servicing to approximately 11000 properties, from the Lincolnshire east coast to Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

Phil explained : “Being part of the Platform Property Care team rather than a third party contractor is hugely beneficial.  I have a real sense of how all the different departments work hand in hand and can see direct results of the hard work and effort that is put in to make the team as successful and efficient as possible.  I am looking forward to the further expansion of Platform Property Care, what that means for us as a growing business and the potential career opportunities that will follow.”

Read Launch of property maintenance recruitment campaign for Lincolnshire…

Homes due for handover at Leamington Spa development

We’re proud to announce the completion of homes at an ongoing development in Warwickshire.

We will be handing the keys to residents moving into their new homes at the Europa Way site in Leamington Spa later this month.

Work on the 21 hectare site began in January 2019 with completed dates for the 375 homes taking place between now and 2024.

In partnership with Warwick District Council and developer Vistry Partnerships, the agreement includes the building of 185 one, two, three and four bedroom houses, all of which will be offered as affordable, social rent and shared ownership homes for local families and those in housing need.  Importantly, 54 of the affordable shared ownership homes form part of the Homes England Strategic Partnership Programme.

In 2016, we jointly purchased the site with Warwick District Council from Warwickshire County Council.  As part of the development, the local football club will be relocated and an all-purpose stadium developed along with other retail and commercial facilities. 

The scheme – which sees a £19million investment in the affordable homes - has been made possible by grant funding from Homes England.

Those involved in the development include the developer Vistry Partnerships, Warwick District Council and Employer’s Agent Arcadis LLP.

Gerraint Oakley, Executive Director (Growth and Development) said: “This is a sizeable development and one which will provide much needed affordable homes in the area; the partnership working between ourselves, Warwick District Council and Vistry Partnerships will ensure the delivery of the entire scheme for the benefit of the local community.”

Darren Beale, Regional Director for Vistry Partnerships West Midlands said : “This is a huge development opportunity for us – building for the Platform brand whilst also selling under the Linden Homes and brand in Leamington Spa, it represents a significant contribution to the new build local housing market in the area.  We want to build long term business relationships with our partners like Platform Housing Group and are very pleased to be handing over the first of our high quality homes at Europa Way. The development will see a full range of housing built over the next 5 years and, despite the current pandemic, we continue to open our sales outlets on an appointment only basis.  To book an appointment please contact 01926 686712.”

Gerraint concluded: “The new homes will form a high quality and sustainable affordable housing development that meets the needs of local people.  Ensuring people have access to social housing is of vital importance in today’s world.  We look forward to completion of the project and welcoming residents into their new homes.”

To register interest in a home please contact Platform Home Ownership at platformhomeownership.com or by calling 0345 450 3995.

Read Homes due for handover at Leamington Spa development…

COVID-19 Update Business as Usual

Following the latest government lockdown announcement (effective 5th November 2020) it is very much business as usual across Platform Housing Group.

All our day to day services will continue including:

  • Responsive repairs

  • Emergency repairs

  • Gas safety checks and repairs

  • Compliance activities relating to the safety of yourself and your home

  • Home lettings

  • Scheme inspections

  • Planned installation works (Kitchen, Bathroom, Boilers)

If we need to enter your home during lockdown, we will continue to take all social distancing, personal protective equipment precautions and other appropriate safety measures necessary to ensure you and our team are safe. In return we ask that you keep your social distance and think about our visit beforehand to enable works to go ahead safely.

If you would prefer us to not attend your home as planned, please contact us and we will cancel your repair until you are happy to have this completed at a later date.

Your safety is key and now all of us are spending more time at home, servicing your boilers and checking your gas and electrical supplies are more important than ever, so these appointments cannot be cancelled, please let us in to carry out these essential works. If you have any concerns please do get in touch.

All our offices remain closed, and will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The quickest and easiest way to access our services is via our website, or email info@platformhg.com.

The health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable residents remains of the utmost importance to us and our teams will again be working with a number of partners and charities to provide the necessary support where needed. If you are affected by the lockdown and do need any additional help or support please get in touch with us on 0333 200 7304. You can also find rent support and advice on our website at www.platformhg.com/money-advice.

For more information about restrictions, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Gas Servicing Info

Read COVID-19 Update Business as Usual…

Black History Month

Platform Housing Group recently welcomed a top lawyer to discuss stereotypes in the workplace. 

We hosted a virtual event with Jade Linton, an Associate Director and HR Business Partner at Thursfields Solicitors earlier this month to mark Black History Month. 

The event – which was available to all 1400 employees at the housing association – focused on the importance of diversity on the workplace. 

Jade – who was recently recognised in the Reward 300 Index as a leading employment lawyer – regularly champions racial equality and is an ambassador for Project Embrace, a campaign designed to address the lack of representation and stereotypes associated with black people in professional spaces. 

Her talk explored systematic bias in the workplace; following the presentation, Jade was joined by members from the Leadership team including the landlord’s Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Froude for a panel discussion on the topics raised. 

Jade, who is one of just three per cent black lawyers working in England and Wales, said : “More needs to be done to address the barriers to progression faced by minority groups in the UK, as there should be no bar on ambition. 

“How can talented individuals from under represented groups get jobs on merit if the systems which underpin the sectors they wish to work in are not designed with them in mind.” 

Jade’s other recent external speaking appearances included a round table event held by the Law Society of England and Wales where she discussed the barriers faced by black people progressing in the legal sector. 

Jade concluded : “There are many aspects to my identity, but being black and female are aspects which are immediately seen; I was delighted to be able to share how this has impacted on my journey in the legal profession to staff at Platform Housing Group.” 

Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor at Platform Housing Group said : “We were so pleased to welcome Jade and listen to her informative and impassioned account of her own personal journey as well as her views on how to challenge stereotypes within our workplaces.  We would like to thank all those involved in the event as Black History Month draws to a close.” 

Read Black History Month…

We’re supporting Inter Faith Week

Platform Housing Group has pledged its support for an initiative which aims to increase awareness of different faiths. 

We’re encouraging our customers to take part in an online event on November 24th as part of the UK wide Inter Faith Week, which takes place this year from Sunday 8 to Sunday 15 November. To get involved please email Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor at tom.piotrowski@platformhg.com

We would like to hear from people within their communities - from Herefordshire in the West to the Lincolnshire coast in the East, and from the Derbyshire Dales in the North to the Cotswolds in the South – about their stories of friendship and learning from each other, especially during lockdown, including examples of neighbourly help that crossed religious or cultural divides. 

Nina Roberts, from Derbyshire, and a Platform Housing Group customer said: “Strong inter faith relations are healthy and good for mutual understanding, trust and respect. There are many divisions within our society. We must bring down walls of mistrust; by building strong inter faith relations we can start to do this.” 

Those interested in taking part should email diversity@platformhg.com; these will then be shared and celebrated during the week. All those taking part will be in with the chance of winning shopping vouchers. 

Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor at Platform Housing Group said: “As a housing association and social landlord, we have a great commitment to our local communities. Ensuring that our colleagues and customers have a full understanding of different religions and cultures is vital to the success of our work. Better information about religious and cultural backgrounds helps to build greater community cohesion and misspell any myths associated with faith. Events such as next month’s Inter Faith Week will help broaden our understanding and ultimately ensure that we provide the very best service we can.” 

Each year Inter Faith Week starts on Remembrance Sunday; launched in 2009, its aims are to strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels; increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society and increasing understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs. 

For further information please contact Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor on 07805 812708 or email him at tom.piotrowski@platformhg.com

Read We’re supporting Inter Faith Week…

Affordable housing development starts onsite in Worcester

Platform Housing Group has started work on 5 new homes in Tolladine, Worcester. It is our latest development within Worcester, which will offer much needed affordable homes in the area. 

The homes – which are due for completion early next summer – will be made up of 4 two bed houses and 1 one bed bungalow for affordable rent; work commenced onsite earlier in the summer.

The scheme – which is costing £660,000 - has been made possible by grant funding through a Homes England funding programme along with monies from the Recycled Capital Grant Fund, which is raised through the sale of increased shared ownership stakes to occupiers. 

Simon Vick, Development Director (West) at Platform Housing Group said: “This latest development involves the demolition of 26 existing garages to make way for these much needed new homes. Car parking for 8 vehicles will also be included.” 

Prior to the development being granted planning permission in January of this year, the area was an abandoned and run down former garage site which attracted anti social behaviour.

Simon explained : “This new development will not only improve the area, it will also offer high quality and sustainable affordable homes that meets the needs of local people.  We very much look forward to completing the project and welcoming residents into their new homes.” 

Those involved in the new development include the developer Harper Group Construction, DJD Architects, employers agent AFA and funding partner Homes England. 

Michael Harvey, Group Commercial Director of Harper Group Construction, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Platform Housing Group again, to bring much needed housing to the area of Tolladine Road. With Platform Housing Group’s mission to build a better future through investing in affordable homes, we are looking forward to working with the team to produce a high quality development.” 

Simon concluded: “The new homes will form a high quality and sustainable affordable housing development that meets the needs of local people.  Ensuring people have access to social housing is of vital importance in today’s world.  We look forward to completion of the project and welcoming residents into their new homes.” 

To register interest in a home please contact Platform Home Ownership at platformhomeownership.com or by calling 0345 450 3995. 

For further information on the scheme please contact Simon Vick, Development Director (West) at Platform Housing Group on 07879 483382 or email him at Simon.Vick@Platformhg.com

Read Affordable housing development starts onsite in Worcester…

Platform Property Care trials Vericon’s remote boiler technology

Platform Property Care has teamed up with a building management technology company to trial a new remote boiler monitoring and management system. 
 
Platform Property Care - a subsidiary of one of the UK’s largest social landlords, Platform Housing Group – is working with Cheltenham-based Vericon Systems for the next three months to trial the state of the art technology. 
 
The device – which is called BCM:Connect – allows a boiler to be monitored remotely.  In essence, it allows engineers to access the boiler live, pinpointing errors or malfunctions.  Importantly, it works off a cellular network and not a customer’s WiFi, meaning connectivity remains consistent.  The device can report on, predict and rectify a number of common problems remotely, even before a customer is aware of them and ensures that the correct replacement parts can be ordered to fix any issues. 
 
Matt Blackburn, Heating Operations Manager at Platform Property Care explained: “This is the first time that Platform Property Care has trialled such technology and we are looking forward to understanding the benefits for both our customers and our business. It is all part of our ambitious plans to be at the forefront of delivering exceptional maintenance and compliance activities to all our customers and joint venture partners. We look forward to analysing the technology’s functionality over the coming months.” 
 
Liam Rodda, Director of Sales and Marketing at Vericon Systems, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Platform Property Care on this pilot project. Our BCM:Connect device incorporates remote boiler technology and has been specifically designed for housing associations. We look forward to a successful trial.” 
 
Once installed, the device records and sends intelligent performance data to a management portal; here the information can be analysed and used to predict common failures such as low pressure, loss of gas and frozen condensate pipes.  This data ensures clients – such as Platform Property Care – will be able to decide on the best course of action, minimising delays for the customer whilst increasing efficiencies for both planning and operational teams. 
 
Other benefits of the technology include: 
•    It is capable of operating with all major boiler brands; 
•    Boilers can be reset remotely and heating flow temperatures can be altered; 
•    The device has the ability to report environmental concerns such as mould and damp; 
•    BCM:Connect can be installed in under 10 mins with an install App guiding the engineer through the commissioning process. 
 
Platform Housing Group – which owns 46,000 homes in total – completed 1448 homes in 2019/20 (1,598 in 2018/19) at an investment of £258m (£228m in 2018/19).  The Group also built more social rented homes – at a figure of 981 – during the past 2 years in England than any other provider, 523 in 2019/20, almost 33% of the total homes built. Platform Housing Group’s operating area is from Herefordshire in the West to the Lincolnshire coast in the East, and from the Derbyshire Dales in the North to the Cotswolds in the South. 
 
Vericon systems develop technologies to remotely monitor and manage complete housing stock portfolios specifically for social housing providers. In addition to the BCM: Connect, Vericon has a range of other solutions from AutoFill, a device that stops under pressure callouts, to EmeRed that remotely manages all of your emergency light testing and compliance reporting. 
 
For further information on Platform, please contact Matt Blackburn, Heating Operations Manager at Platform Property Care at matthew.blackburn@platformhg.com. For further information on Vericon Systems Liam Rodda, Sales and Marketing Director, can be emailed at liam.rodda@vericonsystems.com. 

Read Platform Property Care trials Vericon’s remote boiler technology…

New Board Member Appointments

Platform Housing Group has welcomed Heena Prajapat, Tony King, John Anderson and Lou Zonato as Non Executive Directors.

 

These latest appointments will further strengthen the Group’s governance by adding to the Board’s existing diverse and robust commercial experience.

 

Heena Prajapat is a senior IT transformation specialist with experience in implementing complex IT strategies within global organisations in more than 40 countries including Rolls Royce, G4S and Babcock International.

 

Heena said : “I am very proud to be joining the Platform Board at such an exciting time; it is really refreshing to see digital representation make an entry at Board level.  Platform Housing Group’s commitment to embrace digital transformation makes me certain of its continued success in our ever changing world.  I look forward to being part of this journey.

 

Tony King – who has also joined the Board – started his career in a credit reference agency in London, moving on to work for a number of international banks in the City.  He joined a large, national association and care operator in 2000 and has had various senior executive roles in the organisation over the last 20 years within treasury and risk as well as development and facility management functions. Tony now focuses on his non executive roles which include trustee of a large pension fund, governor of a further education college and director of a finance company which provides long term finance to UK housing associations.

 

John Anderson has joined the Board as Chair of the Development Committee; with a total of 45 years experience in the development industry, John has spent the last 20 years employed as Regional Chairman of the Berkeley Group, a FTSE 100 housing developer.  During his time there, John was responsible for delivering two of the largest award winning regeneration projects in the country, Kidbrook Village and The Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, both in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

 

John said : “I am excited to be part of a team that is tackling the issues surrounding social housing and helping to make a tangible difference to people’s lives.  The realisation is that we must tackle homelessness and overcrowding and create communities with more genuinely affordable homes.

 

The Group has also welcomed Lou Zonato; Lou, who has spent the majority of his career leading customer service transformation projects, has worked for leading multinational firms such as BT, Talk Talk, EE, Deliveroo and ITV.

 

Lou said : “I’m delighted to be joining the Board at Platform Housing Group at such an important time and look forward to working with the rest of the team to ensure the customer is at the heart of everything we do.

 

Elizabeth Froude, chief executive at Platform Housing Group, said: “Continuous development of our business critical areas is crucial to ensure we meet the needs of our customers, partners and stakeholders. These latest Board appointments will therefore help us to move successfully into the future.

Read New Board Member Appointments…

LABC Award Success

A Warwick property development company is toasting its success in the regional round of a nationwide building excellence awards.

AC Lloyd, whose headquarters are at Tachbrook Park, is the winner of the Best Social or Affordable New Housing Development in the West Midlands region of the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Building Excellence Awards 2020 for its work in phases one, two and three at Station Approach Development in Leamington.

The £22 million project involved AC Lloyd collaborating with Warwick District Council and Platform Housing Group to create two-and-three-bedroom homes and apartments on a site which dates back nearly 400 years near Leamington Spa Station.

Alistair Clark, the managing director of AC Lloyd Homes, said it was the first time AC Lloyd had entered the LABC Awards which recognise a high standard of technical work as well as rewarding the talent of people working within the building industry.

He said: “Thousands of extra visitors will be travelling to Leamington Spa Station when the town hosts the lawn bowls and para bowls during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as well as next year when Coventry is UK City of Culture and the brief was to deliver a landmark development as it is one of the first buildings people will see when arriving in the town.

“The complexity of the site from day one meant this couldn’t have been achieved without regular dialogue and co-operation from Warwick District Council’s building control team and it was a true partnership.

“Our team’s expertise in dealing with such a difficult site through excellent team working, communication and planning ahead was vital.

“From the beginning, there were land ownership issues to resolve and having to deal with a heavily contaminated site meant the pragmatic approach from ourselves, WDC and the Platform Housing Group was vital in overcoming issues which occurred and agreeing jointly on the solutions.

“We believe the Station Approach Development has enhanced the whole neighbourhood because it was previously an eyesore and it has now become the place to live in Leamington because of the high quality of the housing accommodation which is within walking distance of the Parade shopping centre.

“The development was delivered on time and to budget – and winning this accolade is a great way to mark the completion of these phases of the site.”

Phil Rook, Head of Consortium at Warwick Building Control, said: “I have worked with AC Lloyd for almost 30 years on numerous developments and they always build with quality as their main driver.

“As a local developer they have always accommodated and worked with us to provide developments that comply with legislation and that fit into the local environment, and this award is greatly deserved.”

Hazel Doolan, Area Development Manager at Platform Housing Group, said: “This is a very visual development since it is near Leamington Spa Station and in terms of design of the housing, the feedback from residents and near neighbours is that they appreciate the look of the properties which are not alien to the surroundings.

“This has been the first major project I have been involved in with AC Lloyd and I have been impressed by the quality of the development and the extra care they have taken in the little details because residents’ main priority is the finished product since it is their home and we have had no negativity.”

Read LABC Award Success…
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