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Posted on: Thu 25th May 2017 18:34

A crucial part of providing care and support to vulnerable people is making sure those we help are supported to achieve their dreams. Aidan Rugeley, a resident with physical and learning disabilities was able to live out his dream of walking on the glaciers in Iceland, thanks to the expert care of his L&Q Living support workers.

L&Q Living is the supported housing subsidiary of the L&Q group. The subsidiary provides accommodation and support for older people, adults with learning disabilities, with mental health needs and young people across London and the South East. Barnes Court is one of their 6,667 supported units, and provides support to people with learning disabilities.

Aidan’s multiple care needs meant the trip had to be carefully planned around his treatment. The staff at Barnes Court worked with his family, his GP and the staff at Addenbrooke’s hospital  to make sure Aidan’s health needs could be catered for on his once in a lifetime trip.

On Saturday 13 May, with support from Senior Support Worker Barbara Reseigh, adventurous Aidan proudly walked the glaciers, and explored ice caves. Speaking of his life-changing trip, Aidan said “It was the best time of my life and I’d like to thank the staff at Barnes Court for making my dream come true. “

Barbara Reseigh, senior support worker at Barnes Court said “Aidan requires treatment three times a week and we needed to make sure his health wouldn’t be impacted by the trip. We undertook extensive research, risk assessments, spoke with healthcare professionals and most importantly worked with Aidan and his family to make sure the trip would be safe and enjoyable. I’m proud to be able to help Aidan and the residents of Barnes Court achieve extraordinary things.”

The trip has only increased Aidan’s wanderlust and he’s already thinking about his next exciting adventure. “I am looking forward to going back [to Iceland] some time but I’d also like to do more travelling around the world and hope that staff at Barnes court can help me make that happen”

L&Q Living, provides people like Aidan personalised support for an independent life. You can find more information about L&Q Living here

Posted on: Tue 9th May 2017 10:12

There was good news for people in east London who need help to get back into work. A housing association scheme which helps people into employment has just had a huge cash boost from an international law firm eager to support its work.

Routes to Work is a programme run by East Thames, part of the L&Q Group, offering work experience and business mentoring. It helps people into work by partnering with organisations who can offer the chance to gain relevant, on-the-job experience in a role that meets their skills.

East Thames has worked with law firm Trowers & Hamlins for more than 10 years to support the scheme. The City firm sponsors two work placement programmes every year, hosting up to ten Routes to Work participants for two weeks, providing mentoring, training and valuable work experience in a corporate environment.

In the past year the East Thames team has helped 274 people into work – more than one for every working day! It was given a further boost recently when Trowers and Hamlins presented it with a cheque for £2,000 to support its work.

Shehla Kadri, East Thames project co-ordinator for Routes to Work, said: “This fantastic donation will enable us to offer even more to our customers and go that extra mile to have a greater impact. Among the things I would like to do is organise wellbeing and employability sessions for customers to keep them positive. Our aim is to empower, engage and develop them so they can reach their full potential. We are very grateful to Trowers and Hamlins for their support of our work and for this generous donation.”

Anup Vithlani, Head of Graduate Recruitment & Development at Trowers and Hamlins, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide East Thames with this donation and are further excited to hear how this amount will be used to provide a greater impact on the wider community that the organisation is involved with.

We have developed an excellent working relationship with East Thames through the Routes to Work programme. The programme continues to go from strength to strength every year and we look forward to continuing our established involvement in it."

For more information on Routes to Work or any of the courses we offer at East Thames, visit http://www.east-thames.co.uk/ete or call us on 0208 522 2221.

Posted on: Fri 28th April 2017 17:16

East Thames and its parent company, the L&Q Group, have scooped top accolades at the prestigious First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards 2017, which recognised some of the amazing work being undertaken in the affordable home market.

The annual event, held by the First Time Buyer magazine, is a celebration of the lengths that are gone to in order to help aspirational buyers onto the housing ladder. The awards, now in their eighth year, ensure that the best in the business are recognised and rewarded for their hard work.

The awards were presented by TV presenter Nikki Chapman at a gala ceremony held at The Waldorf Hotel in London.

L&Q chief executive, David Montague, said: “These awards are recognition of our commitment to providing quality homes at prices people can afford. We work extremely hard to try and meet the requirements of this important sector and are proud and grateful that our work has been recognised by the readers of First Time Buyer magazine.

“Our shared ownership developments have already helped thousands of first-time buyers and families onto the property ladder and we are very proud of this achievement.”

The awards were:

Winner, Best Large Development: L&Q for Stadium Place, Walthamstow, Quadrant Construction
Winner Best Small Development: East Thames for Foundry Mews, Walthamstow, built by Storm Building Ltd
Winner, Best Show Home:  East Thames for Prospect East, Stratford, built by Hill Partnership Ltd
Highly Commended: East Thames, Best Large Development for Prospect East
Highly Commended: L&Q, Best Affordable Homes Provider

You can read more about the winning awards at www.ftbawards.com.

Posted on: Thu 27th April 2017 16:18
Outstanding achievements by residents in assisted living schemes, not only in overcoming challenges but helping others, were recognised at a gala ceremony held by a housing association this week.
The yearly event is held to recognise the success of vulnerable residents in L&Q Living supported accommodation in making progress in their lives, as well as the work of exceptionally dedicated staff. L&Q Living – which is part of the L&Q Group – provides support to over 6,600 vulnerable and elderly residents across London and the South East, and staff organise the event to celebrate their lives and achievements.
To highlight the amount of hidden talent in the L&Q Living community, the event kicks off with a show before the award ceremony, and this year it tapped into a popular theme, with Newham’s very own Strictly Come Dancing competition finals!
Six residents from L&Q Living assisted schemes took part in the dance contest, having practised for several weeks with professional dancers. The judging panel included Rashmi Becker, a patron of the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association who works with government to promote the wellbeing of people with disabilities and autism. Rashmi was involved throughout with training the dancers.
Rashmi said: “I am an absolutely passionate about dance as a creative form of self-expression and a powerful medium for building connections that give our life meaning. All the contestants did brilliantly, and I’m very proud to have been associated with this event.”
After a stunning dance display by all the contestants, in front of  BBC TV cameras, the winning vote from the audience went to Avril Payne, who lives in a scheme in Bocking, Essex. You can watch the BBC news item on iplayer.
Following the dance final, the event moved on to presentation of the Community Stars awards. Eight categories were open for nominations in the awards, which are presented to L&Q Living residents and support staff for achievements and outstanding work. 
The whole event was compered by Charlie Culshaw, L&Q Director of Care and Support. Charlie said: “Today’s event was a great opportunity for our supported residents to share their talents and for us to celebrate their achievements. I was delighted to see so many residents, their families and partner organisations at this event.”

Winners of Community Stars Awards 2017

Tony Romano was chosen as The Volunteer of the Year for the enthusiastic way he embraced volunteering and the independence and confidence he has gained in support of his recovery.
Tony, 40, has been volunteering for over a year in a Salvation Army bike shop. It helps to add structure to his weekly routine and he has stayed committed. Tony is skilled at fixing things and as well as attending volunteering, he goes to college.
When Tony first moved into an L&Q Living property a couple of years ago, this was his first home in several years that didn’t have staff on site 24/7. Tony has adapted really well, from learning new skills to becoming independent and beginning to manage his financial affairs alone.
After receiving the award, Tony said: “This award reflects the guidance I received in the scheme to take up the volunteering activity, which was the key to my steps to recovery. I am very grateful to all those who helped me and am very proud of this award.”
Most Outstanding Move-on Award went to George Agbapuruonwu. The 35-year-old  has exceeded expectations since moving to a supported living scheme for adults. He has been engaged in positive activities since his move and has even spoken out about the importance of funding projects like the one that he lives in.  He is now enrolled in university and is doing an economics degree whilst continuing to engage in support and his recovery.
Teresa Saunders took home the Good Neighbour Award. A resident at Bluebell Grange, in Manor Park, she was nominated for all she's done for other residents past and present. She cared for Christopher, her brother, when he became terminally ill and helped another resident during his battle with cancer and stroke, allowing  his carer to have some free time. She's also done a great deal for Alice, another resident, when she started to become very ill. She cooked, cleaned, and shopped for her - and did it all in good faith, with no recompense.
Most Positive Role Model this year is Margaret Stones. Her nomination from a neighbour in her home stated: “Margaret is the person you can talk to in the strictest confidence and she always explains everything and answers any questions I may have and is always ready to help out. I can count on her at all times, and have been able to do so since the day I moved here, nine years ago. She does all this whilst she looks after her sick brother – a good example to everyone.”
The winner of The Most Helpful Support Worker Award was Kelsey Cook, who, as her nomination declares, “is our yes girl within the scheme”, and happily takes on any new responsibilities. Kelsey has the tasks of being responsible for the medication in the service, and even though this is a very time consuming and responsible job she never declines helping anyone else. Kelsey is a pleasure to work with and has a great rapport with all the service users within the scheme. Kelsey often picks up shifts, stays on and comes back to the service in emergencies. She provides an outstanding service.
The award for The Citizen of the Year, a member of the public who is nominated for their selfless work in the community went to Glenis Game the daughter of an L&Q Living supported resident. and As well as  looking after her disabled father, Glenis gives her time unstintingly to improve the lives of the other elderly residents living in her father’s scheme.
Award categories also included:
Most Supportive Professional - Donald Hamilton
Most Supportive Business - Motivate East.
Posted on: Thu 13th April 2017 16:45

A group of ten East London students are excited about the hands on training they’ve just received as they step on a career ladder in construction.

They are keen to build on their new skills – and hope to be among the thousands needed for housebuilding in the UK.

The ten successfully completed an 8-week course delivered by East Thames, part of the L&Q group, and the Building Crafts College in Newham, and recently received their awards from the college principal.

The Construct your Career certificate in multi-skills teaches a range of practical vocational skills such as carpentry, plumbing and kitchen fitting. As well as the practical training, the course also teaches health and safety and transferrable skills in employability.

While the industry has traditionally attracted men, this is now changing.  Djanet, part of the group, was quick to dispel the gender myth. She said: “The training has given me skills and confidence so I will definitely go into this career!”

The ceremony took place at the Building Crafts College, in Stratford’s Carpenters Estate. Speaking at the event, Len Conway, Principal of the Building Craft College said: “We’re very proud of our partnership with East Thames and the springboard this provides into careers in construction.  We feel like we’re contributing to the community as well as helping you to further your career.”

Carlo, one of the graduates, spoke on behalf of the group to voice his appreciation of the course and its providers.

He said: “On behalf of all of us, I’d like to say thank you to East Thames and The Building Crafts College. We have learned a lot and have had invaluable support both individually and as a group. The skills we now have will really set us on the path to careers in this important industry.”

Sharna Rolle, Construction Project manager at East Thames said:

“Construct your Career is a brilliant opportunity for everyone who takes part. It’s important to us to provide training that offers real tangible skills that people can use to build their future. This group has worked incredibly hard and we will continue to support them if they need any further advice or help with their career.”

Construct your Career is open to any East Thames resident over 18 who is interested in construction. For more information on Construct your Career or any of the courses we offer at East Thames, visit http://www.east-thames.co.uk/ete or call us on 0208 522 2221.

Posted on: Thu 13th April 2017 16:28

As MPs prepare to return from their Easter recess, Luke Cozens, East Thames policy and research officer, reflects on the issue of supported housing funding that awaits them when they return. 

[W]hy have you decided to change the funding mechanism?” MP, Kevin Hollinrake asked the question I’ve wanted the answer to since day one: if they don’t want to cut funds, if they recognise that supported housing is important, then why so fundamentally change a system that essentially works?

For those who haven’t been asking this question for months, the current system is housing benefit and it pays the rent for most of the roughly 650,000 units of Supported Housing in Great Britain. These units range from sheltered flats for older people, with small adaptations and perhaps an onsite warden, to specialist accommodation for people with complex learning difficulties, incorporating communal facilities, adapted furnishings and assistive technology. Housing Benefits meets this very simply by paying the rent and service charges, for people who need this type of housing. The government want to change that; capping housing benefit at the Local Housing Allowance, which they use for private un-supported housing, and giving Local Authorities a top-up fund to make up the difference.

So why try to fix what ain’t broke? Well, the government wants oversight, value for money, and “to be confident that the people who are in supported housing are in the best quality that they can be”. “We want clarity and transparency” said Work and Pensions Minister Caroline Nokes MP.

What isn’t clear is how a top-up system can provide this. Current proposals are so opaque that several housing developers have stopped building supported housing until they can be confident that future rents will be covered. A better idea would be to keep a national entitlement, but build in considerations for oversight, value for money and quality. This, in fact, is exactly what we suggested to the Government in our response to their consultation in February.

Here’s our idea: keep a national entitlement but tailor it to the housing that is actually being provided. Certain facilities cost more so set out how much the taxpayer is willing to pay for these facilities – need a communal lounge? We’ll pay up to this much. Need a 24/7 warden? We’ll pay up to that much. Then when the Government get the bill they can see exactly what they are paying for. What’s more clear and transparent than that?

The joint inquiry has been asking exactly the right questions. When they get back on Tuesday let’s hope they come up with the right answers, and that the Government listen to them. Then we can continue to give some of the most vulnerable people in our society the home they need to live they life they want to live.  



Posted on: Mon 3rd April 2017 09:05

L&Q is set to meet the needs of growing numbers of older and vulnerable people as it launches its new care and support subsidiary, L&Q Living.

L&Q Living, which launches today, brings together more than 6,600 supported and sheltered housing units from both L&Q and East Thames, following their merger in December last year.

The £47m per annum subsidiary will provide accommodation and support for older people, adults with learning disabilities, with mental health needs and young people across London and the South East.

It aims to build upon the existing services provided individually by both East Thames and L&Q by becoming a sector leader in dementia and autism care, expanding mental health provision and developing a new model of accommodation and support for vulnerable young people, focussing on those who are leaving care or who have complex needs. 

Ambitions for the new subsidiary mirror those across the wider group, with plans for L&Q Living to grow its care and support services over the next five years. 

L&Q Living will assist the wider L&Q Group to consider and address the needs of older and vulnerable residents living elsewhere in the group’s stock. More than 5,000 L&Q residents are aged over 75 and could benefit from tailored services and alternative housing that better meets their changing needs.

Yvonne Arrowsmith, chief executive of East Thames, said:

“We believe that everyone should have a quality home and that extends to people who may need help to live independently. The UK’s population is ageing and the number of vulnerable adults is growing. It’s vital, therefore, that we grow our care and support services, invest in new supported housing and give older and vulnerable people choice.

“The new generation of people turning to supported and sheltered housing have higher housing aspirations than ever before. Through L&Q Living, we will help them access homes that better meet their needs and help them remain independent for longer.”

David Montague, chief executive of the L&Q Group said:

“Through L&Q Living we will combine our social purpose and commercial drive to deliver a new deal for older and vulnerable residents. As a large housing association, with ambitious new development plans, we want to be sure that the homes and neighbourhoods we’re creating are suitable for everyone, even the most vulnerable in our society.

“And we’ll go beyond simply providing the homes. Our supported residents will benefit from the full breadth of our services, including our investment in a new community foundation and academy.”

Posted on: Thu 9th March 2017 17:04

East Thames has welcomed the Budget announcement of an extra £2 billion in social care funding over three years, but warned the government against ‘kicking the social care crisis down the road’.

East Thames has 15,000 homes in London and Essex, and also provides support and housing to nearly 1,000 vulnerable adults across 135 schemes.

Despite its size and experience, local authority funding cuts have meant East Thames has had to hand back some supported housing contracts.

Yvonne Arrowsmith, chief executive of East Thames, part of the L&Q Group, said: ‘We welcome the increased investment in social care and look forward to contributing to the proposals for long-term social funding.

‘The commitment to a Green Paper of ideas is fine, but what is urgently needed is action. The social care crisis is here and now – we see the devastating effects on vulnerable people of underfunded care day in, day out.

‘In order to provide the best-quality service, we are committed to paying our staff a living wage – we pay the London Living Wage in the capital. However, this is becoming more difficult.

‘As a result we have had to hand back some contracts, as the funding is simply not at the level needed to provide the quality of service required.’

Yvonne added: ‘Properly funded social care will enable providers like East Thames to provide the support needed to help vulnerable adults maintain their independence. This in turn reduces the burden on other public services, most notably the NHS.

‘The planned approach to cap housing benefit for supported housing services will restrict our ability to provide these essential services to the people who need them most. This issue must be included in the scope of the social care Green Paper.

‘We pledge to work with the government to quickly move to a sustainable, effective social care model. But we will keep up the pressure for continued action – the government can’t simply kick the social care crisis down the road.’


Posted on: Mon 6th March 2017 11:35

It is no secret that government plans to introduce a cap on supported housing funding risk costing housing providers millions of pounds and will jeopardise existing and future schemes.
At East Thames our research shows the proposed cap would leave an annual funding shortfall of just under £1m across our 135 supported housing schemes in London and the South East.
Along with a host of other supported housing providers, we made the scale of the potential impact abundantly clear in our responses to a recent government consultation on the issue.
While the aggregate impact of the proposed changes to the current system is very important, for me, however, it is at the level of the individual when what is at stake here really hits home.

Personal price

Vera is one of our residents in an extra care scheme in Waltham Forest. She is 89 years old, suffers with dementia and relies on the support our skilled staff are able to provide in order to live a relatively independent life. At present Vera is supported through housing benefit to pay her rent and service charges.
Under the government’s plans, Vera will face a weekly shortfall of £51.70 in housing benefit.
Although the government is proposing to introduce a localised top-up payment, which in theory should cover the shortfall, it will come with additional administrative costs and cannot be guaranteed long-term.
As a result, there is a real risk that Vera could quickly run up arrears totalling thousands of pounds, unless something gives. Ultimately this could lead to people like Vera having to move and it’s likely that this would be a move into residential care at a much greater cost to the tax payer, and more importantly to Vera’s independence. This makes no sense to anyone.

Business cost

In some instances, we will be able to absorb income losses.
But only in a very few. We are not in business to make large profits and run a very tight ship, accordingly.
The likely impact of the proposed government supported housing cap is a much-reduced service and will bring new developments aimed at supporting people in Vera’s situation to a halt.
This clearly is not a desirable outcome for anyone – not us, not the tax payer and certainly not for Vera and the thousands of people like her who are supported  by housing providers across the country.

Action plan

Last year, East Thames merged with L&Q and from April this year we’re creating L&Q Living, a brand new care and support subsidiary providing homes and support to more than 6,600 older and vulnerable adults across London and the South East.
Our aim is to grow the service, extending our support to even more people like Vera. To do this we need sustainable and reliable funding, but we know we also need to offer the tax payer value for money.
We feel there is an alternative approach that would allow the government and housing providers to find a path that can be followed by both parties.
Under our approach, housing providers would remain able to deliver effective services, and the tax payer would receive greater value for money and have greater transparency over costs to ensure this continued to be the case.

A cap that fits

The first point to make is that a cap based on the local private rented sector is not suitable for supported housing, where costs for housing vulnerable and older people are much higher.
A cap specifically for supported housing would ensure funding better meets the needs of supported housing residents and would offer the taxpayer better value for money.
In our view this can best be achieved in one of two ways:
  • One nationally set cap that reflects the higher costs of providing supported housing, such as increased management and maintenance, with bolt on elements for costs such as furniture, communal areas and security measures.
  • Three nationally set caps that reflect the varying costs of different types of supported housing: low level support (e.g. sheltered schemes), medium level support (e.g. supported living schemes), and high level support (e.g. Extra Care schemes or housing for those with complex needs)
Both approaches retain the security of housing benefit as they continue to be demand-led and to expand to meet actual need rather than being part of a fixed top-up pot.
By removing the need for two streams (housing benefit/universal credit plus the top up payments) they also reduce the administrative burden and make the process simpler to understand, helping residents retain their peace of mind.
The advantage of a nationally set cap with a bolt on system is that this enables us to provide a tailored service that meets the specific needs of our client groups.
This is particularly important for more innovative schemes which house residents with multiple needs, such as Beverly Lewis House, our scheme for women with learning disabilities who are fleeing abuse.
It also provides greater transparency to the tax payer, with costs clearly linked to the housing services provided at each scheme. The bolt-ons would be calculated as either a percentage rental increase or a fixed amount for a specific feature, such communal spaces, security etc.
A three-cap system has similar benefits. It enables us to continue to serve high-need residents while ensuring that lower-need accommodation is also cost-efficient.
Both approaches provide greater transparency, enable us to retain funding levels, and deliver savings on administrative costs compared with current proposals.
Importantly, however, it would ensure East Thames and the hundreds of other committed housing providers like us, are able to continue providing essential housing support services.
Vera and thousands like her hope our plea is heard.
First published in Social Housing Magazine on Friday 24 February 2017.
Posted on: Fri 24th February 2017 11:12

We are delighted to announce that East Thames has beaten the competition to take home the top prize in the not for profit and charity category of the inaugural UK Complaint Handling Awards.

After being shortlisted to the final four, East Thames took on Macmillan Cancer Support, ASRA Housing Group and Cirrus at an event in central London on Thursday 23 February. Each organisation delivered a presentation that demonstrated the way that they deal with complaints and the winner was selected by a panel of expert judges from both the public and private sectors.

Our entry described the cultural transformation of East Thames and how this has enabled us to makes changes to the way that we deal with complaints, which have improved both the customer journey and experience.. Our new approach took the focus away from timescales to respond and placed it firmly on resolution agreed with the customer. The changes implemented came from a joint approach between East Thames front line staff and our Housing Scrutiny Panel.  To ensure we delivered something that met our customers’ needs, we surveyed our residents to and incorporated their recommendations into our new way of working.

East Thames worked in partnership with Accelerator training solutions to deliver a comprehensive staff development package accredited by the Institute of Customer Services. Through this partnership 322 East Thames staff have completed customer service training and personally delivered customer service improvements plans.  We also developed a ‘Licenced to Resolve’ training programme to support nominated complaints champions throughout the business.  This training is now available to all East Thames staff.  Since the implementation of the new way of working, customer satisfaction with complaint handling at East Thames has improved significantly and now ranks amongst the best in the public sector. East Thames continues to review the service and is seeing an improvement in customer satisfaction every month.

Avis Rhodes, head of customer services for East Thames said “Customers are at the heart of everything we do and we are thrilled to have our work recognised through the UK Complaints Handling Awards. We’ve invested a lot of time and resource into creating a service that we can be proud of, that benefits both our customers and our staff.”

Posted on: Thu 16th February 2017 11:42

Government plans to introduce a cap on supported housing funding risk costing housing providers millions of pounds and jeopardise existing and future schemes.

East Thames, part of the L&Q Group, has proposed an alternative approach of capping government spending on supported housing that would control costs and allow tenants to pay their rent and service charges.

Yvonne Arrowsmith, chief executive of East Thames, said: ‘We understand the need for the government to ensure value of money in supported housing services. However, the present planned changes will lead to a rental shortfall of almost £1 million a year for us.

‘There is a proposed localised top-up payment which in theory should cover the shortfall, however, it will come with additional administrative costs and cannot be guaranteed long-term.

‘As a result, the current plans to cap supported housing rents at local housing allowance levels places the funding of existing services and the delivery of future schemes at risk.’

In its response to a government consultation, East Thames research shows the proposed cap would leave an annual funding shortfall of £970,000 across 135 supported housing schemes in London and the South East.

The average shortfall would be £48.19 per person per week, but rising to £73 a week for those with learning disabilities.

East Thames has set out two alternative plans to the proposed dual funding approach:

  • One nationally set cap that reflects the higher costs of providing supported housing, such as increased management and maintenance, with bolt on elements for costs such as furniture, communal areas and security measures. 
  • Three nationally set caps that reflect the varying costs of different types of supported housing: low level support (e.g. sheltered schemes), medium level support (e.g. supported living schemes), and high level support (e.g. Extra Care schemes or housing for those with complex needs)

Yvonne said: ‘In our view a nationally set supported housing benefit entitlement with higher caps is the best way to make supported housing work for tenants, commissioners, providers and developers.

‘Crucially this would deliver greater value for money, while ensuring the continued stability of essential housing services relied on by millions of vulnerable people.’

In April, East Thames and L&Q will launch L&Q Living – a dedicated care and support subsidiary, providing supported housing to help more than 6,600 older and vulnerable adults live independently across London and the South East.

Yvonne said: ‘We are committed to working with vulnerable people and improving their independence wherever possible. We hope to expand our service and meet the needs of growing numbers of older and vulnerable people in the UK. But we can only do this with sustainable and reliable funding for existing and future services.’

Posted on: Tue 14th February 2017 12:23

East Thames and L&Q have been shortlisted for an impressive six First Time Buyer Reader's awards at a ceremony at Speaker’s House on Thursday 9 February. The housing associations, which merged in December, have been recognised in categories which celebrate their extensive contributions to development and regeneration in East London.

As well as improving outdated housing stock, the organisations have been applauded for their work transforming disused commercial space into affordable homes. East Thames’ Foundry Mews, shortlisted for Best Small Development, offers 21 affordable homes on a previously disused garage site. L&Q’s Whitechapel Central is shortlisted for Best Urban Regeneration Project, and will see a former Safestore facility transformed into a 564 home development with shops, a gym and public spaces.

Speaking of the awards, East Thames chief executive Yvonne Arrowsmith said, “It’s fantastic to be recognised by the First Time Buyers awards for another year. We take great pride in supplying good quality housing to people getting their first step on the housing ladder. As a merged organisation, we have the resource to continue helping people from all walks of life live in a quality home that they can afford”

East Thames has been shortlisted for:

L&Q has been shortlisted for:

You can vote for East Thames and L&Q here. Voting closes on Monday 10 April, and the results will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday 21 April.