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A Year of Challenge and Change

After a year of great challenge and change we are proud to present our Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 March 2021.

You will see we have kept a strong focus on maintaining the strong and stable finances of the organisation, a tight control on costs and the delivery of as many new homes as possible.

All  in all despite many unforeseen changes of direction we have maintained a clear and forward direction of travel. The  report gives insight into a stable but progressive business, which is still protecting its historic financial strength in order to allow it to provide more in the future.

Click the preview image or the following link to download a copy of: 
Financial Statements for Year Ending 31 March 2021 [pdf] 29MB

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Chief Ops Officer joins the judging panel for the prestigious UK Housing Awards

33 years in social housing with a proven track record of successfully managing housing tenures, customer contact and income, is all the evidence you need for a judge.


Marion Duffy, Chief Operations Officer for Platform Housing Group has been invited to join the prestigious expert panel to judge the 2021 UK Housing Awards.

 

The awards are widely recognised as the leading awards in the sector, attracting thousands of the sectors key leaders and highlighting the organisations, individuals and projects that are leading the way in the affordable housing sector.

As a UK Housing Awards 2020 winning organisation, Marion was only too pleased to accept on behalf of Platform Housing Group to be able to offer her expertise and help debate the entries and select the very best of the best.
 

Marion started her career in housing at Coventry City Council as a Lettings Officer which she held for eight years. Wanting to further her career, she took the opportunity to join Waterloo Housing Association as a Housing Officer and from there she’s flown by, taking the opportunities to progress and develop her skills in various roles as a Housing Manager, Development Manager, Director of Housing and now her current role with Platform Housing Group. She has been involved in many key projects over the years but above all Marion is extremely proud of the development of Platform Housings Customer Engagement strategy, ensuring customers have a voice in how services are delivered and the standards they expect.


Marion said: “I’m passionate about housing and customers so I am looking forwarding to hearing about the ways our sector has stepped up over the last year, faced the challenges head on and continued to deliver for those that need it the most. I want to hear about how we have really made a difference to the wellbeing of customers and the communities they live in, with passion and innovation and putting customers at the heart of what they do; how they have made a real difference to people’s lives.

We are a very modest sector and I want to see organisations using the awards as an opportunity to shout about the great work they are doing, and to be proud of the positive and life changing outcomes they are delivering day after day.”

 

The awards ceremony takes place on November 25, 2021 in central London.

Read Chief Ops Officer joins the judging panel for the prestigious UK Housing Awards…

Platform remembers Srebrenica

Platform Housing Group – which has its headquarters in the Midlands – took part in a civic event on Friday 9 July at Worcester’s Guildhall from 11.00am until 11.30am to commemorate 2021 Srebrenica Memorial Week, which ran from Sunday 4 to Sunday 11 July.

This year’s theme is entitled ‘Rebuilding Lives’.

Events during the week were organised by Remembering Srebrenica, a charity that raises awareness about the Bosnian genocide and its relevance for community cohesion, tolerance and challenging prejudice and racism.

The Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Stephen Hodgson, presided over the civic event.

Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Platform Housing Group said: “We have been supporting the Srebrenica Memorial events in Worcester since our study visit to Bosnia organised several years ago by the national charity, Remembering Srebrenica. As one of the UK’s largest social landlords and a significant employer in the region we are aware that it is our responsibility to set the tone in how the local communities are being built and that mutual respect and celebration of diversity is the cornerstone of cohesion.”

Remembering Srebrenica was founded in 2013 and has taken more than 1,450 British citizens to Srebrenica to learn about the genocide through the Lessons from Srebrenica programme which is funded by central government.

Tom continued: “We need this cohesion now as much as ever before considering the abuse that some communities continue to suffer online and in person in their daily lives. Hate, prejudice and racism often starts with seemingly innocuous comments. We must continue to come together to challenge these kinds of attitudes and comments and celebrate diversity as something that enriches us more than divides us.”

Amil Khan, Director of Remembering Srebrenica and a speaker at the event said: “The tragedy of Srebrenica is a contemporary reminder that the struggle against darkness will never end and the need for vigilance will never fade away. It emphasises the importance and relevance in marking Srebrenica Memorial Day here in the UK. Occasions such as this unites communities from different backgrounds to come together and reaffirm our commitment to tackle hatred and prejudice in all forms, whilst strengthening our resolve to ensure that the phrase ‘never again’ is truly meant.”

Platform Housing Group’s Diversity Champions programme focuses on LGBT, religion and belief, disabilities and lifelong conditions like autism, ethnic minorities and other diversity strands. Currently employees volunteer within an area of interest and customers are also encouraged to take part.

For further information, please contact Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Platform Housing Group at Tom.Piotrowski@Platformhg.com.

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Helping to create a hubbub with the Community Chest

A new Community Fridge opened to all in Malvern recently with thanks to Platform Housing Groups Community Chest, the world’s largest Community Fridge Network Hubbub and Co-op.

 

The Fridge was opened by St Mary’s Church, Pickersleigh with support from the environmental charity Hubbub and £1,000 of funding from Platform Housing Groups Community Chest. The Community Chest is an initiative formed by Platform Housing Group to bring about positive changes for Platform communities, enabling charities, clubs and other not- for-profit organisations to apply for funding to help with digital inclusion, health and wellbeing, skills and employability, community cohesion and community safety.

 

The Community Fridge is located at St Mary’s Church, Sherrards Green Road, and is open on Thursday and Friday mornings 9am to 12 midday. It is open to everyone in the community without any need to be referred or having to prove eligibility and enables residents to access fresh food that would have otherwise gone to waste. The surplus food is donated by Co-op from its stores.

 

The Fridge is run by St Mary’s who welcome donations of unopened, packaged foods within their use by date and raw fruit and vegetables, which is then made available to anyone in the community to take. As well as reducing food waste and improving access to food, St Mary’s use the Fridge to strengthen community bonds and empower communities by creating a hub to share skills, cooking classes, community meals and more.

 

Applications for funding from the Community Chest are assessed and allocated with help from Platforms Customer Experience Panel and to date almost £37,000 has seen benefits for 25 community groups and organisations, helping local people improve and enhance their areas and provide much needed help and equipment that has seen a positive impact on their lives.

 

If you are a charity, clubs and other not- for-profit organisation and think the Community Chest could help, visit www.platformhg.com/community-funding and complete the short application form.

Read Helping to create a hubbub with the Community Chest…

Affordable heating system completed in former Birmingham monastery

Platform has installed both a gas main and gas central heating at a former monastery in Birmingham.

The project - at Carmelite Grange in Yardley – has been part funded by National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund as well as Group funds. The total cost of the project was £122,978.00.

The 20 flats were previously heated by storage heaters using 1970s technology; difficult to programme and expensive to run, the heaters did not provide instant heating and hot water.

Affordable Warmth Solutions – or AWS – who administer the fund on behalf of National Grid helped to establish the £150m Warm Homes Fund – or WHF – to support local authorities, registered social landlords and other organisations working in partnership with them to address some of the issues affecting fuel poor households.

The project - which completed in the spring – included the installation of a new gas main and the installation of first time central heating to the properties, resulting in affordable controllable heating.

Kevin Carl, Assistant Asset Management Director (East) said: “We started planning this project 18 months ago; as the building is listed we had to work closely with the planners on the location of the gas meters and flue terminals. We are delighted with the results, which have significantly increased residents' comfort as well as helping to eradicate fuel poverty.”

The new heating systems have moved the energy efficiency of the properties from a Band E to a Band C.

Robert Harrison, a resident at Carmelite Grange, said: “I am really impressed with the central heating installation and the professional standards of all those involved with it.  Platform has gone above and beyond and even talked me through the operations manual at the end.  The whole project has more than exceeded my expectations.”

Councillor Neil Eustace from Yardley East Ward said: “Well done to Platform Housing Group for investing in a new heating system for these flats. The old system was expensive and ineffective.  In future this beautiful Grade II listed former monastery will be warm for all its residents during the winter months.”

For further information please contact Kevin Carl, Assistant Asset Management Director (East) at Platform Housing Group at Kevin.Carl@Platformhg.com.

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Platform shortlisted for management award

Platform Housing Group has been shortlisted for the CIPD People Management Awards for 2021 in the Best Digital/Technology Initiative in HR/L&D category.

The category encouraged submissions from organisations that have understood their end users and their needs to build solutions that have delivered business benefits, met user needs and achieved strategic objectives through the innovative use of technology or digital solutions.

The Group’s entry – entitled Learning in the Flow of Work – described how our Learning and Development team designed learning that supported colleagues moving to a CRM, via MS Office 365 Dynamics. The learning was easily made available in ‘the flow of work’ to enable colleagues to quickly and simply access the learning and bespoke support they needed, when they needed it. This approach removed the need for traditional classroom training delivery which takes people out of their roles to learn and placed learner and customer needs at the heart of the learning design.

Alison Bishop, Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Platform Housing Group said: “This change required upskilling on a new system, new processes and changes to behaviour around customer interaction. Following a review of what needed to be achieved from a learning perspective, the Learning and Development team put forward the concept of ‘learning in the flow of work.’ It has allowed us the opportunity to accelerate our own Learning and Development strategy, underpinned by our values and behaviours, where colleagues own their own learning. We are encouraging self service upskilling by giving learners easy access to the learning material while carrying out their roles, making this process more agile, productive and easier to manage.

“We are therefore thrilled to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award.”

The next stage in the process will require Platform Housing Group to present its entry to a panel of judges; the awards ceremony will take place at The Grosvenor House in London on Tuesday 28 September.

For further information on the scheme please contact Alison Bishop, Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Platform Housing Group on Alison.Bishop@Platformhg.com.

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Supplier and Contract Assurance for services to you

As Platform Housing Group is developing we are starting to work on our Supply Chain Management, within this piece of work will be looking at all contracts and suppliers. 

We will be contacting all our existing suppliers to seek assurance, we will also be asking them for their feedback on how we can improve how we work with them.

Take a look at our Procurement Strategy Brochure.pdf [pdf] 54KB and our Procuement Statement of Intent.pdf [pdf] 148KB

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Energy efficient improvements for Derbyshire homes

Platform Housing Group, one of the UK’s largest social landlords, has improved the energy performance ratings on seven homes in Matlock, Derbyshire.

This is the first time that Platform has undertaken such work in the county.

The project – which began in April - was made possible by Green Homes grant funding under the Local Authority Delivery Scheme (Phase 1B), in a joint bid with Derbyshire Dales District Council.

The total cost of the works was £126,000; it was part funded by Platform Housing Group funds.

The Green Homes Grant is one of the programmes announced by the government as part of the investment in economic recovery from COVID-19.  Delivered through local authorities, the scheme’s primary aim is to improve the energy efficiency of low incomes and low EPC rated homes – those with Band E, F or G.

Each of the seven homes - in the village of Brassington - had solar roof panels installed; previously heated by storage heaters, the new heating systems have moved the energy efficiency of the properties from a Band E to a Band C.

Ann Ashworth, a resident in one of the homes said: “I have lived in my home for three and a half years and I am delighted with the improvements to both the central heating and the hot water. The work was undertaken really efficiently, and I am grateful to Platform Housing Group.”

Kevin Carl, Assistant Asset Management Director (East) said: “We are delighted to be able to announce the upgrade of energy inefficient properties in Matlock and, crucially, the reduction of fuel poverty for these customers. This initiative is a really good opportunity for customers’ homes to be warmer and for them to save money on their heating bills, at no cost to themselves. It also confirms our commitment to creating sustainable homes.”

As part of Platform Housing Group’s commitment to improving energy performance in its properties, it has also pledged extra funds, bringing the total investment amount to almost £1.1million throughout its operating area.

For further information please contact Kevin Carl, Assistant Asset Management Director (East) at Platform Housing Group at Kevin.Carl@Platformhg.com.

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