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Posted on: Mon 10th July 2017 14:18


A team of hardworking young east London residents are working to dispel the myth that young people are not offering a valuable contribution to society. Refusing to be portrayed as workshy, disengaged and apathetic, 26 year old Barking Resident, Victoria Oladele is taking great strides to portray young people in a positive light with her project the Insyde Talk Show.

The Insyde Talk Show is a platform for young people to voice their opinions. Founded in 2014, they organise and facilitate live panel shows on a range of topics covering anything from young people in tech, to money saving and travelling.

The show recently received a £500 boost from East Thames housing association’s “Community Counts” fund. East Thames is currently working in partnership with Barking and Dagenham to deliver new homes in phase 1 of the Gascoigne Estate Regeneration – Weavers Quarter.

As well as the talk show, the team also work with local social media influencers to put on events, and offer services to benefit the local community. Most recently, they partnered with fitness blogger Just Geen on a project called #fitfromtheinsyde – offering personal training at a fraction of its usual cost. This project was created as a result of young people's concerns about body image and fitness when growing up in inner cities.

Insyde Talk Show founder, Victoria said “The youth voice matters. Our aim at Insyde is to promote young people’s voices in a positive light. We wanted to challenge society’s perceptions of young people whilst also giving young people a platform and a voice. Young people care about community.”

Nicola Brown, Starting Point Co-ordinator, said “East Thames is keen to keep working with people in the area to support positive projects that benefit the residents of Barking, particularly those on the Gascoigne estate.”

To find out how to apply for Community Counts funding, email Nicola.brown@east-thames.co.uk

To find out more about the insyde talk show, follow them on twitter @Insydetalk.

Posted on: Fri 7th July 2017 15:56

A pioneering new £12,025 million Independent Living housing scheme in Saffron Walden moved a step closer to completion with an official ground breaking ceremony held on Thursday 6 July. Cornell Court, which is being built opposite the Tesco superstore on Radwinter Road, adjacent to the Mandeville Place housing development, will be the first of its kind in the Uttlesford district. 

Once complete it will offer 73 stylish, self-contained one and two-bedroom apartments designed to meet local people’s changing needs in later life. Forty apartments will be available for affordable rent and 33 for shared ownership. Each self-contained apartment will feature one or two bedrooms, a modern open plan living, kitchen and dining area and bathroom. Future residents will also benefit from shared facilities including a communal lounge, roof terrace, library, green house and hair salon.

The primary difference between Cornell Court and other, existing assisted living schemes in the area is the added peace of mind offered by 24/7 on-site emergency support from L&Q Living, who will manage the scheme.

Cornell Court is being developed by L&Q living in partnership with Uttlesford District Council, Essex County Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and Keepmoat Regeneration, part of the ENGIE Group. The land for the scheme was transferred to Uttlesford District Council by Countryside Properties, as part of their affordable housing requirement for the wider Mandeville Place development.  

Cornell Court has been supported by over £3.5 million in grant contributions and is part of Essex County Council’s five-year, £27 million countywide investment to create upto 1,800 new Independent Living homes for older people with care needs. The scheme has been named after Daphne Cornell, former mayor of Saffron Walden, to reflect her contribution as town and district councillor and lifelong involvement in local charity work.

Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Health & Adult Social Care, Essex County Council, said:“We are committed to helping people maintain their independence in later life. Cornell Court will help more people in Uttlesford to have the quality of life they want, in a safe and pleasant environment.”

Cllr Julie Redfern, Cabinet Member for Housing, Uttlesford District Council, said: “Uttlesford’s Housing Team works in partnership to deliver the best for our residents. This, the first Independent Living facility in the district, is one of those partnerships. I am so pleased that this project is underway and will be available to help some of our more mature residents live happy and independent lives for as long as possible. It is wonderful to see projects that form part of our housing strategy come to fruition. It is especially nice to see it named after someone who has done so much for the residents of Saffron Walden.”

Charlie Culshaw, Director, L&Q Living, said: “Our mission at L&Q Living is to deliver personalised support for an independent life. The UK has an ageing population and there is a growing need for this type of housing. We’re developing the scheme so that as people’s needs change, we can adapt the service we offer them, which means they won’t have to move later on in life. We’re delighted to be able to bring the first scheme of its kind to the area.”

Andy Baker, Divisional Director for Keepmoat Regeneration’s London and Southern Region, said: “Keepmoat Regeneration is committed to providing innovative solutions to help clients meet the needs of their residents, as well as creating strong links with local suppliers and build meaningful relationships with the communities in which we work. We design homes for older people with longevity and accessibility in mind to ensure that our accommodation adapts easily with people’s changing needs as they grow older, preventing a move later in life.”

Cornell Court is expected to welcome the first residents through its doors in September 2018. To be eligible for an affordable rent apartment individuals must be a resident in Uttlesford, aged 55+ and require at least six hours a week of care. To find out more visit www.independentessex.co.uk or ring 0345 6037630. To register interest in a shared ownership apartment visit http://eastmandevilleplace.co.uk/

Posted on: Fri 23rd June 2017 17:34

The health and safety of our residents has always been the top priority at East Thames. In the wake of the tragic incident at Grenfell Tower, we are taking immediate action to review our fire safety procedures.

All our fire risk assessments are currently up to date. We visit sheltered housing schemes and tower blocks over six storeys high once a year to review fire safety. However we are now taking another look at what we can do to ensure the safety of our residents.

We are carrying out additional safety reviews of all blocks over six storeys. And, while the circumstances behind the fire are still unclear, we are taking the additional precaution of surveying the cladding on these blocks. Where we find any materials that pose a fire risk, these will be removed and replaced as soon as possible. If these materials pose an immediate risk to our residents, we will move them to suitable alternative accommodation until we can resolve the problem.

We are prioritising risk assessments for older and vulnerable residents, as well as those living in high rise blocks. We will consider all possible methods of mitigating fire risk - cost will not, and never has been, a barrier to providing the most appropriate solution. We will seek to replicate new build fire safety standards, such as sprinkler systems, in our existing blocks. Where practical constraints mean this is not possible, we will develop a bespoke fire safety strategy and communicate this clearly to our residents. We have also taken the decision to provide smoke alarms to all residents who need one.  

This work is an immediate priority for East Thames and we have set aside the necessary staffing and budgetary resources to deliver solutions quickly.

Further fire safety advice from the London Fire Brigade can be found here http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/Documents/FSITH_leaflet.pdf

Any residents with specific questions about their properties should contact us via customerservices@east-thames.co.uk and we will be happy to look into these.

Posted on: Tue 20th June 2017 16:48

Social enterprises, community groups and charities gathered on the evening of Thursday 15 June for the 9th annual Starting Point awards to reflect on a year of good work and reward those altruistic groups who had gone the extra mile to service their community.

Starting Point was set up by East Thames housing association (Part of the L&Q Group) in 2007. Based in Pickering Road in Barking it is a unique, purpose built facility that helps community groups, charities and social enterprises get off the ground with office space, business training and a range of support services.

Four awards were presented. For the second year running Troan LTD; a community organisation set up to help alleviate poverty and tackle disadvantage, came away with an award. Their hard work saw them advance from the Ones to Watch in 2016 to the Most Improved this year. The group are so dedicated to helping communities in London that they weren’t able to collect their trophy in person as they were busy volunteering. 

Volunteer of the year was awarded to Cassie Hull, who has been helping the Organisation of the Year, Future M.O.L.D.S Communities with their mission to support young people who are neither in employment nor education. Speaking of their win, Sarah Robertson, managing director for Future M.O.L.D.S Communities said “Winning this award has helped us to recognise the achievements of our small but effective team.  It was fabulous that the people we serve took the time to vote for us which makes it even more special.  We would like to thank Starting Point for their continued support and look forward to next year’s awards!”

This year’s One to Watch award was given to Inspire Women, Men and Children, a charity set up to help people improve the quality of their lives.

And the celebration doesn’t stop there. Each of the winners will go forward to The Pride of L&Q Awards, which celebrates residents who go above and beyond to give back to their community.

Speaking of the hardworking groups, Nicola Brown, Starting Point co-ordinator said “We’re not just about providing facilities, we’re about community. In order to succeed these groups really work together and bounce ideas off each other. It’s great to see how each of these independent businesses lift each other up and take time out of their own projects to help others improve. I’m excited to see what they go on to achieve in the coming year!”

For more information on Starting Point, what they do, and what they can do for you, visit: http://www.starting-point.org.uk/

Full list of award winners


One To Watch – Inspire Women, Men and Children
Most Improved – Troan
Organisation Of The Year – Future M.O.L.D.S Communities (FMC)
Volunteer Of The Year – Cassie Hull (FMC)


One To Watch – All Women’s Network
Most Improved – The Insyde Talk Show
Organisation Of The Year – Help Handz
Volunteer Of The Year – Suntharamoorthy Ponnampalam

Posted on: Mon 19th June 2017 12:13

A previously unused space has been transformed into a welcoming lounge for job seeking families thanks to a partnership from East Thames and Higgins Construction.

The office, located in Sylvian Road, Ilford, will be used by East Thames housing association to deliver employment and skills advice and training. Parents will be welcome to bring their children along to meetings, meaning childcare need not be a barrier to those wanting to seek help.

The space was decorated by a group of learners completing East Thames construction skills course Construct your Career. As well as giving them the necessary experience working in a trade, the project enabled them to give back to the community.

The space was completed by a generous furniture donation from Higgins Construction, a construction company which focuses on building communities. Higgins Construction and East Thames partner on major development and regeneration projects in London, including the Ocean Estate in Tower Hamlets.

Nicola Brown, an employment and enterprise co-ordinator for East Thames said “We’re so grateful to everyone who has helped us make this project a reality. We offer employment support from dedicated local hubs because it’s important to bring our services direct to the communities that need them. We hope opening this space will benefit people in Ilford wanting to move into work.”

Jeff Joseph, Community Investment Manager for Higgins Construction comments, “We are extremely committed to working with and rebuilding local communities and are delighted to have been able to donate the furniture to East Thames. The furniture was being used at a regeneration project in Hackney which is coming to an end so we couldn’t think of any better use for it.”

East Thames offers a range of employment and enterprise opportunities and training from several locations across East London. For more information on how East Thames can help you get back into work, improve your CV or start a business visit www.east-thames.co.uk/ete call 0208 522 2221 or email ete@east-thames.co.uk

Posted on: Wed 14th June 2017 11:58

The thoughts of everyone at East Thames are with those affected by the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in West London today. 

As part of the L&Q Group, we have been in contact with officials from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea this morning, and will offer whatever support we can.

We wish to reassure residents that East Thames has robust measures in place to ensure the safety of all our properties, and we work closely with fire authorities to ensure these measures are regularly tested and we remain fully compliant  with the law.

Further fire safety advice from the London Fire Brigade can be found here www.london-fire.gov.uk/Documents/FSITH_leaflet.pdf

Any residents with specific questions about their properties should contact us via customerservices@east-thames.co.uk and we will be happy to look into these.

Posted on: Wed 7th June 2017 11:39

One in ten people in London are housed by a housing association.  At the L&Q group, we strongly believe that everyone should have a quality home they can afford.

For single mum like Maria, social housing provides the security she needs to raise her son, Michael, in the community she grew up in.  

“I’ve been on the waiting list for eleven and a half years. I’ve been living with my parents – I split up with my son’s dad after he was born. I used to share my room with Michael, but as he’s got older I let him have the room to himself. You’ve got to do the best for your kids.”

Maria and Michael were stuck living in an overcrowded house with her parents and younger brother. With no spare rooms, Maria was had no choice but to sleep in the living room.

“I slept on the sofa for three and a half years. I work nights so I’d come home and sleep in Michael’s bed before he got home from school. I had no space for myself - all my clothes were in bags.”

Determined to improve the situation for both herself and her son, Maria continued to register her interest in properties via the choice based-lettings “bidding” system, which allows people on the housing waiting list to nominate themselves for a suitable property.

“I had almost given up but in April an East Thames house came up on this street. I really wanted to stay local because I’ve lived on this estate my whole life. A little while after I bid I got a call from Melinda at East Thames, she was really nice. She said I needed to come in with all my details as I had been allocated the property. I have been so lucky, our new house is only 14 doors down from my mum’s house!”

Now settled in their new home, the mum and son duo have the best of both worlds. They’ve got their own space and still get to see the family every day.

We want to give more people like Maria and Michael a home. The L&Q Group is committed to working with partners to enable the delivery of 100,000 new homes.

Posted on: Wed 7th June 2017 09:45

Housing associations play a crucial part in providing affordable housing options for people from all walks of life. One of these options is Shared Ownership. Shared ownership is designed for first-time buyers who are able to raise a mortgage but are unable to afford the full cost of home ownership. Buyers purchase a share in the new home, normally 25% to 75% of the total property value, and subsidised rent is then paid on the remaining share.

Luke and Kelly Hayes bought a three bedroom house from East Thames, part of the L&Q Group. The new development was made up entirely of affordable homes, with six shared ownership properties and one affordable rent home.

Each of these Chingford properties, part of a development known as ‘Mayfield’, benefit from a private garden and parking space and were available to people who already worked or lived in Waltham Forest – providing local first time buyers and young families with the opportunity to step onto the property ladder.

Luke and Kelly have two daughters, Megan (13) and Grace (8), who now have their own bedrooms and a garden to enjoy. New owner Luke said, “Renting a house in this area worked out more expensive than purchasing this home through shared ownership, it was a no-brainer for us. We were both born half a mile down the road but house prices in the area are just too high, this house was the perfect option for us.”

Kelly added, “The children have loads of space to run around and our private roof terrace is my little haven away from it all.”

The biggest benefit of shared ownership is that customers can, in the future, buy further shares and eventually own 100% of their property.

At the L&Q  group we are committed to tackling the housing crisis and believe everyone deserves a quality home they can afford.  In the three years since April 2014, L&Q has invested £1.4bn in building 6,606 new homes across London and the South East.

 55% (3,360) of these homes were affordable and were available either for low cost home ownership or for sub market rent.

Posted on: Tue 6th June 2017 12:02
Cash-strapped families who need help with buying furniture will be cheering after a housing association scheme received a donation of new household items. 
East Thames helps the local community through projects such as Starting Point which provides support to local people starting their own businesses and Reclaim at the Lane, which provides  high quality, low cost furniture, homewares and white goods. 
Staff at Reclaim at the Lane were delighted when East Thames development partner Higgins Construction donated an array of items, ranging from bedroom furniture and soft furnishings to vases and ornaments. 
Corrine Hutcheson, enterprise co-ordinator, said: “Many families are feeling the pinch, and we can help people with low cost goods donated by residents and businesses; so we are always very grateful for the support  we receive. This donation of lovely furniture will certainly help some of the local families. In the past year we have helped approximately 200 households with essentials and the finishing touches to make their home complete.” 
Jeff Joseph, Community Investment Manager for Higgins Construction comments, “We are extremely committed to working with and rebuilding local communities and are delighted to have been able to donate the furniture to East Thames. The furniture was being used at a regeneration project in Hackney which is coming to an end so we couldn’t think of any better use for it.”
Anyone can use the service, and residents in receipt of benefits may be eligible for further discounted prices on the products available.
For more information on Reclaim at the Lane or to see what they currently have on offer, visit the website at http://reclaimatthelane.co.uk/
Posted on: Tue 30th May 2017 13:33
Hasna, 37, has dreamt of being an air hostess for as long as she can remember. But when a lack of confidence and personal problems became a barrier to achieving her goal, East Thames was able to help.  
When she moved to east London from Manchester she found it difficult to even contact potential employers. Hasna took the first step to getting help, by attending a local job fair.  
“I was struggling with unemployment and homelessness and had been trying to get into work without success. I went to a job fair and met the East Thames employment team. Everyone was very friendly and compassionate and I felt they could help me.”
Hasna received support from East Thames in a range of areas. She was helped with her CV, received mentoring and undertook work experience to get herself up to scratch. Eventually, she was able to gain paid work, and also volunteered with the visually and hearing impaired. However, she still had her eye on her dream job. 
“I kept applying [with airlines] – eventually I got an email to say I would be on the next training course. Finally!”
Now, Hasna’s off to a flying start, her lifelong dream has been realised, and this month, she started work as an air hostess for British Airways. 
“Oh my god my job is amazing. I have been flying for two weeks and I have already been to Frankfurt, Ibiza, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Florence, Berlin – it’s been grand”
Speaking of Hasna’s progress, Shehla Kadri, East Thames employment project co-ordinator said “We were able to connect Hasna to opportunities but more importantly, she needed someone there to say “we believe in you, you can do it, we’ll help you do it.” We always had faith that with the right support Hasna would go on to achieve great things.”
Hasna, now brimming with confidence, cherishes the support she received from the team and would recommend anyone struggling with employment get in touch as soon as they can. 
“I remember when I first came in I couldn’t even find the words to write an email. We can be in a dark place at times when looking for jobs or housing but the support is there. We need places to go to build confidence. I would push anyone to do the same as I did to get help from East Thames”
Ambitious Hasna isn’t finished, and plans to keep developing in her role. “It’s intense, there’s so many things to remember and a lot of training. But I love learning. I see the female pilots and I think “maybe that could be me!” But not yet! I’m enjoying what I’m doing right now.”
If you need help getting into employment contact us today on 0208 522 2221, ete@east-thames.co.uk or visit www.east-thames.co.uk/ete 


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.