bpha joins PlaceShapers

bpha joins PlaceShapers

bpha joins PlaceShapers

bpha joins PlaceShapers

bpha is delighted to announce it has joined the PlaceShapers network of around 100 housing associations.

PlaceShapers is a national network of community-focused housing organisations that help communities to thrive. PlaceShapers is run ‘by members, for members’, collaborating for greater influence.

Richard Hill, Chief Executive of bpha, said: “Placeshaper’s ethos, commitments and activities align strongly with our own. We are rooted in a tight geographical area. We invest in our homes and communities, building strong local partnerships, and improving the long-term prosperity and sustainability of the places where we work.

“We believe PlaceShapers provides a platform for organisations to have a strong collective voice. And most importantly for the voice of customers and those we serve to be represented.”

Matthew Walker, PlaceShapers Chair and Chief Executive of Leeds Federated Housing, said: “PlaceShapers is a national network of place-based landlords who work together to help communities thrive. Members are ambitious for their communities, committed to long-term solutions, united in our purpose, and firmly in it for the long term. With its focus on place, bpha shares this ethos and we are delighted to welcome them.”

Membership is assessed by the PlaceShapers Board of the housing association chief executives, based on:

  • Demonstrating a long-standing commitment to the places it operates and how it strives to improve the social and economic resilience of the communities it works with
  • Putting residents and customers at the centre of what it does and ensures they have real influence on the organisation
  • Being locally focused and works actively with local authorities and local partners to improve and shape places at a strategic and operational level
  • Building homes that respond to local housing needs and providing more than just landlord services because it cares about the people and places where it works.

Find out more about PlaceShapers at www.placeshapers.org.

bpha appoints new Chair

bpha appoints new Chair

bpha is delighted to appoint Jeff Halliwell as its next Chair.

Jeff has extensive Chair, non-executive and executive experience across private, public, and third sector organisations.

His current roles include Chair of the Coal Authority (the public body making a better future for people and the environment in former mining areas), Deputy Chair of Seafish (the public body supporting the UK seafood industry) and a non-executive director of Widgit Ltd (educational software).  Jeff’s previous Chair roles include Cafédirect plc (the pioneer Fairtrade coffee and tea business) and at various NHS and transport sector organisations. He has served as a trustee of Shaw Trust and Homestart Leicester and has been a governor at the Universities of Bedfordshire and Northampton.

Jeff said: “I am delighted to be joining bpha, an organisation dedicated to providing good homes and services for local people. Throughout my selection process I was impressed with bpha’s focus on working with customers and its clear commitment to sustainable homes and places. I very much look forward to working with the Board, Richard Hill (CEO) and the bpha team in helping to deliver this strategy. I would like to thank the current Chair, Dr Paul Leinster, CBE, for his strong leadership at bpha and for helping my transition into the role.”

CEO, Richard Hill said: “We are delighted to welcome Jeff to bpha and we will benefit hugely from his extensive knowledge and experience. Jeff is excellently placed to lead bpha in achieving its purpose and commitments to local people and meeting the ongoing challenges faced by the housing sector. I really look forward to working with Jeff.”

Paul Leinster the current Chair said: “On behalf of the bpha Board I would like to extend a warm welcome to Jeff. Jeff has excellent experience of leading Boards and organisations and I know he will work well with the bpha Board, the Executive Team and everyone within bpha in consolidating and accelerating our contribution and reputation as a caring and effective, customer focused housing provider.’

Jeff will work alongside existing Chair, Paul Leinster, in a handover period from 1 May 2024, commencing full duties as Chair on 1 September 2024.

A child receives their swimming certificate with a smile on their face. A family shot with the two girls smiling happily and waving handheld flags

Making a splash with free swimming for Bedford girls

Making a splash with free swimming for Bedford girls

35 girls aged between five and 12 years have taken part in a week of free swimming lessons, thanks to a partnership between Bedford-based Housing Association, bpha, Be Active and Sport England. The project aims to give local girls who may not have had access to lessons previously, the opportunity to gain some potentially life-saving skills.

30 sessions took place in total last week at Trinity Arts & Leisure. Parents were invited to apply for a place for girls from local schools, including Shackleton Primary School, King’s Oak Primary School and Queen’s Park Lower School.

bpha’s Community Engagement Team was awarded a £10,000 ‘Inspiring Young Lives Project’ grant’ from Sport England through Be Active, an organisation striving for a ‘healthier and happier Bedfordshire’ by promoting physical activity.

Sport England research (academic year 2022/23) shows that:

  • Girls are less active than boys (44% compared with 51%)
  • Activity levels are lowest for children aged seven to nine (compared with 51% for those aged four to six)
  • Children from the least affluent families are least likely to be active (44% compared with 55% from high family affluence)

Rosetta Triolo, Community Engagement Manager, bpha: “We know from Sport England’s research and feedback from Be Active, that mid-primary age girls from less affluent backgrounds may have fewer opportunities to get involved in swimming than other children. This project is changing that. The feedback from those swimming and their guardians has been so positive, and we’ve already been able to confirm a second course for the first week of the summer holidays.”

One young swimmer said: “I felt nervous because I didn’t know what we were going to do but I enjoyed it when I swam halfway across the pool. I feel happy and I think it’s good if everyone knows how to swim!”

Live life your way: Independent Living from bpha

Live life your way: Independent Living from bpha

Did you know that bpha has Independent Living options for people aged 55 and over across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire and Suffolk?

With multiple locations, different care options and both rental and shared ownership apartments to choose from, we appreciate it’s a huge decision.

Our new brochure guides you through what’s available, so you can decide which Independent Living scheme might be right for you. It’s split by region and includes comments from many of our residents and colleagues about life at the schemes, as well as a handy summary of facilities.

If you think one of the schemes could be right for you or a family member, contact the team, who will arrange a visit and work with you to tailor the service to suit your, or their, individual needs.

front cover of the Independent Living brochure showing four images of activities within bpha schemes

Can you make a difference?

Can you make a difference?

Are you passionate about social housing?

Do you have ideas on how bpha can improve?

Then why not join our newly formed Service Improvement Panel?

Tell me more!

The Service Improvement Panel will work with bpha to look at our performance from a customer viewpoint. You will be an influential customer voice to Board and bpha’s committees, helping to make decisions on the services that effect you.’

What’s involved?

To be a panel member you’ll need to commit to the equivalent of two days a month and in return, you’ll receive an optional payment of £3,000 per year in monthly instalments along with training and support.

Who are you looking for?

If you’re a bpha tenant, leaseholder, shared owner, living in general needs or independent living you are eligible to join the panel.

How do I find out more or apply?

We are holding some ‘come and meet the team’ sessions, where you can find out more about the Service Improvement Panel and our other opportunities for you to get involved. These are being held on Tuesday 19 March at Bedford Heights, Manton Lane, Bedford and online on Thursday 21, Monday 25 and Wednesday 27 March.

If you are interested in attending any of these sessions, or if you would like more information about the role, email CustomerVoice@bpha.org.uk or call 0330 100 0272 and ask to speak to the Customer Engagement Team.

A group of women smile and pose for a photo at Kingswell Community Hub

Celebrating women at Kingswell

Take a look at how one of our hubs celebrated International Women’s Day

A group of women smile and pose for a photo at Kingswell Community Hub

On Tuesday 5 March, Kingswell Community Hub hosted a special International Women’s Day event. The turnout was fantastic, the food was plentiful, and everyone had a great time, especially the younger guests!

Our community hubs are a fantastic way of supporting local communities and are open to anyone who wishes to attend. We would love to see you there.

Hub

Address

Times

Kingswell Community hub
Kingsbrook Children’s Centre
Tuesdays, 9am-12noon
Café Connect
Queens Park Community Centre
Alternate Wednesdays (term time), 12.15pm-2.15pm
Trumpington Meadows Community Hub
Trumpington Meadows Community Rooms
Fridays (term time), 11.45am-1.45pm
Diverse group of people looking happy, meeting at a round table

Do you have ideas for how bpha can improve services?

Do you have ideas for how bpha can improve services?

Diverse group of people looking happy, meeting at a round table

We are looking for bpha customers to join our new Service Improvement Panel to challenge, question and tell us what we are doing well and where we can improve.

Whether you are a resident/tenant, shared owner, leaseholder or independent living customer, you will look at our performance from a customer viewpoint, helping us improve all customers experience of bpha. You’ll be an influential customer voice to Board and bpha’s committees, helping to make decisions on the services that effect you.

In return for giving the time equivalent of two days a month, you’ll receive full training and support as well as opting in to receive a payment £3,000 per year paid in monthly payments.

To find out more about this and other ways you can get involved, please contact the Customer Engagement Team by emailing CustomerVoice@bpha.org.uk or call 0330 100 0272.

Cartoon image of a street with houses and flats, above which have the statistics listed below

Your latest feedback: Tenant Satisfaction Measures

Your latest feedback: Tenant Satisfaction Measures

Cartoon image of a street with houses and flats, above which have the statistics listed below


Just to remind you, last year the Regulator for Social Housing introduced the Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSMs). This includes us regularly surveying customers to ensure we know how satisfied you are with the services we provide. We use this information, along with other feedback, to help us review our services. It’s a really important way for us to understand your experiences of bpha and make improvements as a result.

Over the last three months we’ve seen a lower score for satisfaction around our approach to complaint handling. This is disappointing, but we are already aware that this area needs work – that has resulted in our new Service Improvement Team, including a Complaints Resolution Manager and Complaints Resolution Officers.

The team has been in place since April, while those surveyed are asked to tell us about complaints made over the last 12 months. We know this means it will take time for your feedback to improve.

However, we want to understand what’s behind this feedback so that we can change it. Having looked at those who shared their details with the research team, only 27% had logged a complaint with us. If you do find that you want to make a complaint, we’d urge you to log it with us, and make sure you receive a complaint reference number. It can be investigated by your dedicated Complaints Resolution Officer, who will follow a set process to ensure they consider all details and reach an outcome that’s fair for everyone. You can find that information here.

Following the introduction of the Complaints Resolution Team, we have also reviewed our complaints policy in line with the Housing Ombudsman code, which was created to ensure landlords resolve complaints from customers quickly and use the learnings to make improvements. This will be published on our website in the coming weeks. We have also reinstated the complaints satisfaction survey, sent to all complainants once their case is closed, to make us aware of any issues so that we can address them.

IFF Research undertakes the Tenant Satisfaction Measures surveys on our behalf. You may receive a phone call from 0203 148 7645 or get an email from opinions@iffresearch-dm.com.

If you have any questions about Tenant Satisfaction Measures or our published results, please contact us.


five men standing at Linmere site development

bpha announces the start of development of 100 mixed tenure homes

bpha announces the start of development of 100 mixed tenure homes

five men standing at Linmere site development


bpha is excited to have commenced work to develop 100 new homes as part of a new 650-acre urban village being created at Linmere, Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire. The scheme will create 51 homes for affordable rent and 49 for shared ownership comprising a mix of apartments and houses ranging from one bedroom through to three-bedrooms.

Being constructed by The Hill Group, the scheme has been made possible through funding from Homes England and support from Central Bedfordshire Council, the commencement of work was marked officially by The Mayor of Houghton Regis, Cllr Jimmy Carroll on 26 February.

The new Linmere development, is being created over the next 15 years by the Houghton Regis Management Company (HRMC), a consortium comprising developers, Lands Improvement, Aviva Investors, and the Diocese of St Albans.

bpha Chief Executive, Richard Hill said: “We are delighted to have partnered with The Hill Group to bring much needed energy-efficient, affordable housing to the area.

“The new homes will also support our commitment to help develop inclusive communities and provide sustainable homes for now and the future.”

Simon Trice, Managing Director at The Hill Group commented: “We are delighted to commence work on the second phase at Linmere, in partnership with bpha. This exciting milestone will see the delivery of 100 high-quality sustainable homes that will enhance the well-being and lives of many people within the local community for many generations to come.”

An additional 236 homes are set for completion in phase three of the development over the coming years, further solidifying bpha’s commitment to building cohesive neighbourhoods. As part of the development bpha will also deliver three retail units offering locally run shops, in line with Linmere’s 20-minute neighbourhood strategy meaning that residents will never be more than a 20-minute walk or cycle ride away from community facilities, shops, schools and green spaces.

As well as providing affordable homes, this environmentally friendly development will increase biodiversity with open green spaces creating an attractive place to live.

The latest Talk magazine is out now

nt


In this edition you will find more information about your 2024-2025 rent and service changes, and much more, including:

  • A grounds maintenance update
  • XL Bully dogs: what you need to know
  • bpha Respond: an immediate response service for your home
  • Jenny’s story: a bpha customer shares how she worked with bpha’s Money Advice Team to improve her situation
  • How to join our Service Improvement Panel, and what difference you could make.

If your email is registered with us, you should have received a copy of Talk directly – if you haven’t, please email talk@bpha.org.uk so that we can sort that out for you. You can also read it here.