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Platform Housing Group Establishes £1bn EMTN Programme

Platform Housing Group has established a £1bn multi-currency, ESG enabled, Euro Medium Term Note – or EMTN – programme, supported by NatWest Markets acting as Sole Arranger.

Funding from the programme will be used to develop affordable housing across the Midlands and to improve the energy efficiency of its existing homes. The programme has been established to allow future issuances to be both in foreign currency and sustainability linked. 

The programme demonstrates Platform’s commitment to fund raising through the debt capital markets following its £350m bond issued in July at a record breaking yield of 1.71%. 

Elizabeth Froude, Chief Executive at Platform Housing Group said: “We are delighted to have established an EMTN programme which will play a key part in our Treasury Strategy for the coming years. The program signals that Platform is committed to fund raising from the capital markets and its A+ ratings demonstrate we remain a sound investment. It will help us access the funding that we need to invest in our homes and our communities as we continue to help alleviate the Midlands housing shortage and provide enhanced life prospects for more people.”

Platform Housing Group – which owns 46,000 homes in total – completed 1,448 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.

NatWest Markets acted as Sole Arranger on the Programme Establishment, with Addelshaw Goddard LLP appointed as legal counsel to the joint dealers and Devonshires Solicitors LLP appointed as legal counsel to Platform Housing Group.

George Flynn, Debt & Financing Solutions at NatWest Markets commented: “We are delighted to have supported Platform as sole arranger in the establishment of its £1bn EMTN programme. This follows on from our support during its inaugural £350m Public Bond executed in 2020 and provides a flexible and versatile framework to maximise Platform’s funding agility. This will provide swift access to the capital markets for funding to support Platform’s core social purpose to expand the availability of affordable homes across the Midlands.”

For further information please contact Ben Colyer, Corporate Treasury Director at Platform Housing Group on 07918 16099 or email him at ben.colyer@platformhg.com.

Read Platform Housing Group Establishes £1bn EMTN Programme…

Active campaign sees participants covering almost 1000 miles

A recent initiative to encourage wellbeing has seen participants clock up almost 1000 miles.

Organised by Platform Housing Group, the ‘Be Active: How Far Can We Go’ project involved both colleagues and customers who were challenged to walk, run, cycle and swim.

Chris Colley, Community Officer at Platform Housing Group explained: “Encouraging activity during a pandemic is no easy task; that’s why we decided to launch an initiative to travel from our most northern office in Louth, Lincolnshire to our most southern one in Worcester. However, this total - 182.76 miles - was soon surpassed. It was then that we decided to try and travel the distance from John O’Groats to Land’s End.  And we did it!”

Over a week, 39 participants totalled more than 980 miles.

The project was sponsored by three of the Group’s contractors, Travis Perkins Managed Services, DJD Architects and Anthony Collins Solicitors; they awarded sports watches to three randomly selected participants.

One of the winners, Paul Barber, a Platform Housing Group customer, walked 16 miles, even though he uses crutches.

Paul said: “I was delighted to get involved with this project and get out and about. I am thrilled with the watch. Thanks to Platform Housing Group for organising it.”

For further information please contact Chris Colley, Community Officer at Platform Housing Group on 01905 670271 or email him at chris.colley@platformhg.com.

Read Active campaign sees participants covering almost 1000 miles…

Laptops donated to local schools

Two Worcester schools are celebrating after receiving a grant to purchase laptops.

Carnforth School in Warndon and Hollymount School in Tolladine have been awarded a total grant of £10,500 from Platform Housing Group; the money has been used to purchase 33 laptops.

The schools successfully applied for the grant through our Platform Community Chest, with a customer panel approving the application; Platform customers, charities, clubs and other not-for-profit organisations can apply for funding to bring about positive changes for Platform communities.

The laptops – which are helping to support children accessing remote learning during the pandemic – are currently on loan to families, will return to school when children are back and continue to have a positive impact on the education of pupils.

School children at both the schools – part of the Black Pear Trust, which also includes St George’s Church of England Primary School – have suffered from digital deprivation for many years, which has led to inequality of provision. Grants such as these help to narrow this inequality.

Emma Pritchard, Chief Executive Officer at the Black Pear Trust said: “Platform Housing continues to be very supportive of both Hollymount and Carnforth schools and we would like to send heartfelt thanks for their generosity. We are incredibly fortunate to have been given this money that will ensure children who have little or no access to digital devices, are now able to take part fully in their learning.  During school closure, both schools have developed a system of blended learning, including both paper based and digital resources, as well as daily opportunities for children to join live learning sessions.”

Paul Edwards, Community Officer at Platform Housing Group said: “Giving back to our communities is a vital part of the work we do and we are absolutely delighted to be able to provide funds to help make a positive difference.”

For further information please contact Paul Edwards, Community Officer at Platform Housing Group on 01905 670270 or email him at paul.edwards@platformhg.com.

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New homes now ready in Herefordshire

A new housing development in Herefordshire has welcomed its first residents.

Richard and Kay Robinson – who lived in Spain for 14 years – have moved into their brand new home in Colwall.

Originally from Birmingham, the couple decided to move back to the UK to be closer to family and friends.  Having lived in a beautiful village in Spain, they were keen to replicate this back in the UK.

Richard explained: “Colwall is an absolute gem with everything so close by including a butchers, a GP surgery, a fabulous Thai restaurant as well as the local train station, a post office and a pharmacy.”

The development at Chevenham Close comprises of 18 new homes, including 10 for shared ownership and 8 for affordable rent.  It has enhanced an already stunning area close to the Malvern Hills.

Colwall is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty and therefore a detailed design approach was undertaken with both Herefordshire planning and conservation teams. This has resulted in a development which is very much in keeping with the local area and has been well received by both local residents and the local parish council.

The £2 million development was supported by grant funding from Homes England and started on site in September 2019.

Richard continued: “We bought a ground floor apartment from Platform Housing Group and this has turned out to be an excellent decision; we are very very happy in Chevenham Close.  Everything is modern with lots of windows and natural light.  As with all new builds, we have had a couple of teething problems but the response has been excellent.  We thoroughly recommend the area and the homes; people can buy with confidence from Platform.”

Michelle Payne, Sales Consultant West at Platform Housing Group said: “We are so pleased to welcome Mr and Mrs Robinson into their new home in such an idyllic area. All the properties have been fitted out to a high standard and are well positioned for all local amenities. The surrounding area is absolutely stunning too.”

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).

Platform Housing Group’s operating area is from Gloucestershire in the West to the Lincolnshire coast in the East, and from the Derbyshire Dales in the North to the Cotswolds in the South.

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

For further information on the scheme please contact Michelle Payne, Sales Consultant West on 01684 579437 or email sales@platformhg.com.

Read New homes now ready in Herefordshire…

New homes available in Lincoln

Skylark Homes – a building company, based in Dunholme, near Lincoln - has handed over the homes on Monks Road to Platform Housing Group.

The development – which is on the land of a former pub, the Manvers Arms, which closed in 2006 – began in March 2020 and, despite the country grinding to a halt due to the pandemic, completed four weeks ahead of schedule and were handed over earlier this month.

Funded by a combination of a Homes England grant and Platform funds, all of the nine homes – three 1 bedroom homes and six 2 bedroom homes - are for affordable rent.

At a total cost of £1.25million, those involved in the project also included employer’s agent John Peberdy Partnership and architects practice Lincs Design Consultancy.

Kerry Cade, Project Manager at Platform Housing Group said: “We are delighted to have finalised this latest housing development; the new homes will offer high quality affordable homes to rent , within walking distance of Lincoln city centre.  Importantly, the site utilises a brownfield site that was both empty and overgrown for a number of years.  We look forward to welcoming customers to these new homes shortly.”

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 Kerry Cade, Project Manager at Platform Housing Group on 0333 200 7304 or email her at Kerry.Cade@Platformhg.com.

Read New homes available in Lincoln…

Platform Property Care achieves ISO certifications

Platform Property Care has been awarded ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 by Direct Assessment Services, a UKAS accredited certification body.

The audit - which took place earlier this year – covered approximately 26,000 properties in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Birmingham and Lincolnshire.

The ISO 9001 standard offers a quality management system – QMS – model for obtaining and meeting customer requirements and enhancing its satisfaction.  The intent of an ISO 14001 environmental management system – EMS – is to develop a systematic management approach to the environmental concerns of the organisation.  ISO 45001 is the world’s international standard for occupational health and safety, issued to protect employees and visitors from work related accidents and diseases.

Mark Lane, QESH Manager at Platform Property Care said: “It’s a true measure of a great team effort to achieve these internationally recognised standards in areas of rapid growth and demonstrates an ongoing commitment to all stakeholders and external regulators in relation to health, safety, environmental and quality compliance.  For our many customers, it also gives reassurance that all our work will be undertaken safely with attention to detail and that we will consider the environment at all times. It places the customer at the very heart of what we do.”

The audit – which took place over a five day period – involved more than 25 interviews with senior managers, lead engineers, service managers and trades people and nine site inspections to observe safety working practices and environmental compliance.

Preparation for the audit began more than 18 months ago and involved compiling appropriate policies, procedures and systems as well as delivering a robust internal training programme surrounding these.

Mark concluded: “These standards give assurance to the Board and the wider Platform Housing Group business, that Property Platform Care is a sector leading organisation.  External audits give a completely impartial measure of a business and we are justifiably proud of our achievements.  Our thanks and congratulations go to all those involved.”

For further information please contact Mark Lane, QESH Manager at Platform Property Care on 01684 579398 or email him at mark.lane@platformhg.com.

Read Platform Property Care achieves ISO certifications…

Welcome to Gary Bell and Nathan Barson

Platform Housing Group has welcomed Gary Bell as Transformation Director and Nathan Barson as Procurement Director.

These latest appointments will further strengthen the Group’s management structure by adding to its existing diverse and robust experience.

Gary has spent his entire career working in the public sector, starting off in local government; he then progressed to working for three large IT companies in their consulting divisions as well as working for a national regulator. He has joined Platform Housing Group from A2Dominion Housing Group in London.

This new role for the Group will focus on the transformation of services to achieve enhanced outcomes for customers and stakeholders.

Gary said: “I’m delighted to join Platform Housing Group; the combination of my transformation skills with my housing experience, will, I hope, bring about positive and continuous change.”

Elizabeth Froude, Chief Executive at Platform Housing Group said: “Gary’s transformation skills will help us bring greater alignment as we continue on our business change journey.  This will maximise the impact and efficiency of our change programme, enabling us to deliver on our strategy of improving services for our customers, ensuring alignment of all areas of the business and delivering on our objective of building a truly modern housing association.”

Nathan – who lives in Leicestershire – joined the Group from the Cabinet office where he supported the national programme on PPE to help the fight against Covid-19; previous to this, Nathan worked for some years for one of the UK’s leading construction and infrastructure companies, Kier Group.

Nathan said: “I’m looking forward to continuing to raise the profile of procurement within the Group, with the aim to build a world class procurement function.  Procurement, when done well, can be a real catalyst for change.  We will move beyond simple cost reduction to adding real strategic value to the organisation.  I’m delighted to be appointed to the newly created role of Procurement Director; the opportunity to apply my knowledge and experience into an organisation with such a fundamental social needs at its core is truly appealing."

Rosemary Farrar, Chief Finance Officer 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.  Nathan’s appointment will help us to move successfully into the future and we would like to welcome him to the Group.”

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.

Read Welcome to Gary Bell and Nathan Barson…

Holocaust Memorial Day

Platform Housing Group marked Holocaust Memorial Day at the end of last month by supporting an event to commemorate it.

Representatives from Platform Housing Group – which has its headquarters in the Midlands – attended a virtual event on Wednesday 27 January - hosted by Worcestershire’s Inter Faith Forum YouTube channel - that aimed to raise awareness of conditions that lead to community division.

Holocaust Memorial Day is marked each year; each year a different theme is used to highlight the importance of the effect of past genocides on society today.  This year’s theme is Be the Light in the Darkness.

Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor at Platform Housing Group said: “As a housing association we stand firmly by our commitment to challenge hatred and intolerance in all forms.  We understand that whilst our main focus is on providing homes, we also help build communities, promote dialogue and ensure people from different backgrounds get on with each other.”

This year’s event was marked locally in Worcester by a commemoration ceremony and official addresses from the Mayor of Worcester and other community and religious leaders. The event was organised by Worcestershire Interfaith Forum with support from Platform Housing Group and Worcester City Council.

The ceremony also welcomed keynote speaker Petr Torak OBE; born in the Czech Republic and from a Roma background, in 1999, he and his parents sought asylum in the UK, after suffering violent political and racist attacks. His police work – he became a police officer in 2008 – centred on Czech and Slovak Roma people, the issues they face regarding their migration to the UK.  In 2015, Torak was awarded an MBE for services to the Roma community.  Petr’s keynote speech centred on Roma genocide in World War II and the lessons we can learn today.

Petr said: “Those wasted lives that were extinguished only because of their ethnic background or skin colour, must be the pillars of our determination to fight against any form of discrimination or hatred.  Let’s be the light in the darkness!”

Yvonne Stollard, Chair of Worcestershire Interfaith Forum said : “Jewish and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities share a history of persecution and hostility suffered over many centuries in Europe, and both were targeted by the Nazis.  Let us be the light in the darkness by challenging the negative stereotypes and discriminatory language that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people continue to face today.  Let us work together to make ours a more inclusive and just society.”

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust – or HMDT – is the charity that promotes and supports Holocaust Memorial Day or HMD. 27 January is the day set aside to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the millions of people killed in Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 27 January also marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

To mark this year’s commemorations Platform Housing Group is inviting customers to enter a competition focusing on the theme ‘Be the Light in the Darkness’.  Submissions are invited in 3 categories; poetry, art (photographs of art works) and photography.  Entries should be sent to diversity@platformhg.com; the top 3 submissions in each category will receive book vouchers.  The deadline is Friday 12 March.

Tom concluded: “Tragic events of history like genocides remind us about some of the darkest moments that humanity has gone through.  A lot of this darkness persists in our world today and the current global pandemic is just another example of this. We want to encourage hope and invite glimmers of light to dispel at least some of that darkness.”

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

Read Holocaust Memorial Day…
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