Please see our Winter Edition of our newsletter below!!
Please see our Winter Edition of our newsletter below!!
BCT Takes Further Steps
BYKER COMMUNITY TRUST TAKES FURTHER STEPS TO DELIVER ITS VISION AND STOCK TRANSFER PROMISES
The Byker Community Trust (BCT) has announced plans to bring housing management services in house; and to enter into a cost sharing partnership with Isos Housing to deliver repairs and maintenance and grounds maintenance services.
The proposal, which could see savings of over £650K per year and significant improvements to the services BCT delivers to its tenants, was agreed in principle at the landlord’s Board meeting on November 5 and further consultation with tenants is now underway.
During 2015, a comprehensive review of services was undertaken by the BCT Board and Chief Executive. As part of that review, the Board explored whether services to tenants could be improved by changing the contractual arrangements put in place when the stock transferred in 2012. The review placed specific emphasis on improvements in quality and cost, value for money and completing the promises it made to tenants at the time of transfer.
An initial proposal was submitted to the BCT Board in April this year and consultation with BCT’s tenants this summer confirmed that their top priority was the repairs and maintenance service.
The outcome of the review is that the BCT will deliver main tenancy and estate services in house and has agreed to become a partner in Isos Complete Support, part of the Isos Group, which will deliver repairs and maintenance and grounds maintenance.
The BCT, which owns 1,800 homes, commercial property and land on the Byker Estate in Newcastle upon Tyne, was created in July 2012 following a stock transfer from Newcastle City Council after tenants on the Estate voted in favour of the transfer to the BCT in a ballot.
Jill Haley, Chief Executive of the BCT, said: “The stock transfer offer to tenants was comprehensive with specific promises relating to investment in the Estate. Work on these promises is ongoing and we have invested £22 million to date. As part of the promises, a commitment was also made to review how services are delivered to ensure that our tenants receive the highest quality service and value for money. The Board and myself have conducted a comprehensive review this year, including holding talks with Isos Housing about how we can work together to achieve our aims.
“The proposed arrangements with Isos Housing addresses both that of the impact of Government imposed rent cuts and the delivery of stock transfer promises, with the next stage focusing on service improvement and tenant preferences. Consultation in the coming months will take this forward.”
Paul Fiddaman, deputy chief executive of Isos Housing, said: “We’re looking forward to working with the BCT. Isos has a great track record for its repairs and maintenance services, and now the quality of our services will benefit the residents of Byker too.
“We already own and manage nearly 17,000 homes across the North East, with 1600 of those in Newcastle, so we have the experience and infrastructure needed to take this project forward.”
The implementation of these changes will commence in July 2016.
Annual Report to Tenants
We are delighted to announce the new Annual Report to Tenants 2015 is now available. This document has been created in partnership with the BCT Tenant Communications Group!
Thanks to Veterans
The YMCA on Dunn Terrace in Byker has had a fresh lick of paint and new flooring laid thanks to the residents living at Avondale House who volunteered to help give the building a new makeover.
The work, which was carried out by the Armed Forces Veterans living on the estate, follows the successful refurbishment of St. Michael’s Church in February this year where they completed a full refurbishment of the church’s entre.
The communal room at the YMCA has been fully redecorated and work benches have been installed for youngsters attending group sessions to undertake projects including computing, arts and crafts and cookery lessons.
The redecoration has brought the building back to life and YMCA youth worker, Brian Young, said: “We are very grateful to the veterans for giving up their time to help us re-decorate the facility. The project has been really important and is a good example of different groups working together on the estate to make it a better place for the local community to use.”
The initiative came about at a recent community event organised by the Byker Community Trust (BCT), which aims to engage and bring the local community and providers together. David Jones, Head of Engagement and Community Development at the BCT, said: “It is reassuring to see groups on the estate working together to improve community facilities. I hope that other groups can learn from the work that has been achieved by the YMCA and the charity, Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ Launchpad, which runs Avondale House.”
David Shaw CBE, Chairman of Trustees at the Armed Forces & Veterans’ Launchpad said: “Launchpad is delighted that Launchpad’s veterans from Avondale House have helped the community by refurbishing the YMCA. Not only does this help the community in which they live, but the veterans get a great sense of satisfaction from being able to make life better for others and to work as a team.”
The veterans will be starting their next volunteer project in July at St. Lawrence’s Primary School on the Byker estate where they will be preparing groundworks for a new metal fence, which will be installed around the school grounds.
The Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ Launchpad is looking for other community projects to get involved with on the Byker estate and has asked for groups to come forward and contact the manager at Avondale House.
New Training Courses!