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Current news

Posted on: Thu 16th February 2017 10:42

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 11:23

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.  

Posted on: Wed 8th February 2017 12:28

 

We’re pleased to announce that East Thames has been shortlisted for its outstanding approach to digital inclusion in the UK Housing Awards.

Organised by Inside Housing in association with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), The UK Housing Awards are widely recognised as the leading awards in the sector and serve to highlight the organisations, individuals and projects that are leading the way in affordable housing.

Last year East Thames was highly commended for its sales and marketing approach in the 'Best Marketing Campaign' category and was shortlisted for the Best Small Development category for Mayfield in Waltham Forest. 

East Thames has been nominated for its work with Alcove to provide older residents with on assistive technology devices . Not only has the introduction of this technology reduced the cost of the service for local authority partners,  but has also helped our older residents maintain their independence and stay in their homes longer. 

The technology works by installing small, discreet sensor devices in the home, which allows for care workers and family members to receive alerts on their phones if something out of the ordinary occurs. The sensors can be used to:

  • Check if people are taking their medication.
  • Ensure people are eating and drinking enough.
  • Send help quickly if people fall. 
  • Ensure rooms are not too cold or hot.
  • Monitor staff attendance and support.

Other devices include lights that switch on automatically to prevent people from falling and devices that automatically switch off on a timer to prevent fires. 

As part of the initiative, residents have been given new smart watches, meaning they can call for help at the press of a button. The smart watches send medication and other reminders. Tablets have also been provided,, featuring photograph icons of family members, so that residents can easily make contact with loved ones. . 

Since introducing this technology, we have:

  • prevented a number of serious injuries for many of our older residents 
  • passed significant savings on to our local authority partners
  • upskilled staff to use digital tools 
Posted on: Thu 2nd February 2017 16:02

On Friday 27 January, Newham, Barking and Dagenham employers came together to offer opportunities to local residents, at a Jobs and homes show hosted by East Thames housing association.  

The event which was organised in partnership with Jobcentre plus, aimed to help local residents, who may be affected by  the roll out of Universal Credit, to make the move into work.

The attendees were able to speak to a range of local employers, including the NHS, Hotel care, Mitie and KFC, some of which had vacancies available on the day.  Local services were on hand to offer advice, such as Newham Workplace – Newham’s employment and advice service, Jobcentre Plus, Newham Moneyworks – the council’s money advice service and East Thames’ own housing team.

The borough relationships manager for Jobcentre plus, said “Employment and housing are not separate issues, one significantly impacts the other, so holding an event that helps with both housing and employment seemed like an ideal setup”.

Jonas Kattah attended the event after being referred by Winsor Park Employment Hub, East Thames’ employment service in Beckton. He said; “It’s been a good event, lots of stalls and people to talk to about career opportunities. I’ve found a few companies I’m really interested in and have information on them now. I’m very happy and excited for what could come of today. I’m really glad I came! ”

John Bryson, Employment and Enterprise Manager for East Thames, said ‘It is our aim to help as many of our residents to secure suitable employment as possible.  Through events like this we gain closer relationships with local employers, make the link between our unemployed residents and prospective employers, and raise awareness amongst local employers of the potential pool of talent living in our homes’.

East Thames offers employment and enterprise support to any residents in the boroughs in which they work. If you need support with job applications, your CV, starting a business or interview skills contact East Thames on ete@east-thames.co.uk, 0208 522 2221 or visit www.east-thames.co.uk/ete .

For information on jobcentre plus events and support visit: Stratford.Customerservice@Dwp.Gsi.Gov.Uk

Posted on: Thu 19th January 2017 16:46

If you’ve received services from East Thames recently you may have received a text message afterwards asking you to rate our performance.

We’re working hard to improve our services to you, and we’d love to hear what your thoughts are, good or bad. By telling us what you really think, you’ll be at the heart of any service improvements we make.

Our text message surveys are quick and secure, and if you raise an issue as a result of the survey we’ll call you back within two working days to find out more and let you know what we’re doing to fix it.

If you receive a text message survey from us, please do take a few minutes to reply.

If you’ve got any questions about how we use this information please email customerservices@east-thames.co.uk

Posted on: Tue 17th January 2017 12:47

Residents from three leading housing associations struck up a song at the Theatre Royal Stratford East on Sunday 15 January as their community choir project was brought to an uplifting finale.

Fifteen residents from Genesis, East Thames and L&Q performed songs including Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” and a new composition following three months of taster sessions and rehearsals led by soul singer Byron Gold.  Their performance as House Harmony was part of a sell-out evening concert of the Stratford East Singers, a renowned local singing group which Byron leads.

The community choir project set out to give residents of all backgrounds and ages the chance to meet new people and enjoy participating in the arts.  It was funded by the Genesis Community Foundation, the housing association’s grant-giving arm which supports projects across its area of operation.

The Stratford East Singers are a singing group that formed in 2011.  In September 2015 they made it to the final of the BBC 2 series “The Naked Choir”, presented by choirmaster Gareth Malone.

Debbie, an East Thames resident who took part in the choir said "it was a fantastic opportunity.  I really, really enjoyed it.  I’ve gained confidence and new friends."

Lauren Picton, Volunteer Programme Manager at Genesis, said: House Harmony’s performance was amazing and exceeded expectations.  All of the choir members put so much hard work in and they should be really proud of what they have achieved in a short space of time.  Projects like this one are fantastic at bringing communities together to have fun while building confidence and new skills.”

Deborah Lamb, Resident Involvement Manager, commenting on behalf of the newly merged L&Q and East Thames organisations, said: “Byron and the Stratford East Singers have done a fantastic job coaching our residents who really impressed everyone with their polished final performance. Well done to everyone who took part and contributed to this celebration of our diverse local community.”

Posted on: Fri 23rd December 2016 12:20
 
On Tuesday 13 December Maple Court, one of our Sheltered Housing Schemes, held a Christmas party to remember.  
 
The event involved residents from other schemes and people from the local community, It was held not only to celebrate the festive month of December but to connect local residents in order to reduce loneliness and prevent isolation.
 
The event was organised in partnership with Maple Court - an East Thames Sheltered Housing Scheme, Newham’s Adult Social Care service and Beckton & Royal Docks Community Neighbourhood.  
 
Christmas time can be a lonely time for those without close friends and family, so with the aid of Newham council's  Lets Get The Party Started grant and donations from residents and local restaurants, Maple Court were able to put on a party with food, drink, decorations and even an Elvis impersonator!
 
Information on local activities and events were also available and a raffle encouraged residents to mingle. The event raised a lot of smiles and many residents danced the day away to their favourite Elvis classics. The impersonator was such a hit that residents have requested him for future events.
 
Margaret, one of the residents attending the event, said “It’s lovely to have a gathering like this and meet new people. Events like this don’t happen every day, it’s been really enjoyable”.
 
Charlie Culshaw, Director of Care and support, was thrilled with the event saying “It’s great to see our residents having fun and celebrating the Christmas period together  it can often be a lonely time for residents but event’s such as these really create a festive buss throughout the schemes and encourage residents to socialise more”.
 
Events such as these are key in creating an enjoyable environment for our residents and help maintain their wellbeing. Find out more about our care and support services here.
 
Posted on: Wed 21st December 2016 13:55

Call us to report a repair over the Christmas period:

 

Day

Service

Friday 23 December

Normal service 8am - 5pm

Christmas Eve

Emergencies only

Christmas Day

Emergencies only

Boxing Day

Emergencies only

Tuesday 27 December

Emergencies only

Wednesday 28 December

Normal Service

Thursday 29 December

Normal Service

Friday 30 December

Normal Service

New Year's Eve

Emergencies only

New Year's Day

Emergencies only

Monday 2 January

Emergencies only

Tuesday 3 January

Service resumes as normal

Between the 24th and 2nd we will only be undertaking emergency repairs, but you will be able to report any repairs on the days we are operating normal opening hours. Day-to-day repairs will be completed when the festive period is over. If you have an emergency repair you can always call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0300 303 7333 and select option 1. You can read more about our repairs service here

 

Contact us about anything else in your home:

 

Day

Service

Friday 23 December

8am – 3pm

Christmas Eve

Closed

Christmas Day

Closed

Boxing Day

Closed

Tuesday 27 December

Closed

Wednesday 28 December

8am - 5pm

Thursday 29 December

8am - 5pm

Friday 30 December

8am - 3pm

New Year's Eve

Closed

New Year's Day

Closed

Monday 2 January

Closed

Tuesday 3 January

Service resumes as normal

You can find all of our contact information here

Posted on: Mon 19th December 2016 14:53

                                         

Job seeker, Urszula Boudib received an early Christmas present this year, when she was recognised for her hard work by completing our Introduction to Healthcare programme and going on to secure a Healthcare Assistant role with Royal London Hospital.

In November, Urszula was awarded her qualification at the NHS Awards ceremony at the Stratford Town Hall, along with three other East Thames candidates who have completed the same programme through the Winsor Park Employment Hub.

In 2015, Urszula was doing care work for agencies but always dreamed of working for the NHS. One day, when she was reading Street by Street, our resident magazine, she spotted an opportunity to take an Introduction to Healthcare course, which is run in partnership with East Thames and the Bart’s Health NHS Trust, to recruit admin and healthcare workers for East-end hospitals. She contacted the East Thames’ employment team at Winsor Park Employment Hub and asked how she could apply for the course.  Our Winsor Park employment team encouraged and supported Urszula to apply and take the course. She completed the course in 2015.

The training offers essential employability skills such as how to write a job application, interviewing for jobs, and a general understanding of NHS values, policy & procedure. After completing her course, Urszula went on to apply for jobs with the support of our employment team. After some persistence, Urszula landed a healthcare assistant role at Royal London Hospital. Our employment team provided letters of recommendation and helped her with references. Urszula started her job in October 2016 and is really enjoying her role.

Three other participants, Dinshu Joy Sashi, Christopher Perido, and Anila Muralilal, were also recognised for their success and hard work in completing our healthcare course at the NHS Awards ceremony at Stratford Town Hall.  

Urszula said ‘I received a huge level of support from a magnificent and expert team - Andrea, John and Shakir. They have been ready to help me at any time during the training and much longer after I completed the course. Their professional knowledge helped me feel confident in my interview.  I would like to say thank you to them for everything, how they helped, supported and encouraged me in every step of my way to get into employment in the NHS’.

John Woods, Job Broker, and Andrea Isip, Project Officer, at Winsor Park employment hub have supported Urszula and 114 others through this course over the last two years. They have said; ‘Like many of our residents Urszula faced barriers to getting the role she wanted, but with our help she was able to overcome them. Our services can often provide the missing link and match the right people to the right roles.”

If you would also like to take part in one of our courses or register for employment, please email John Woods at John.woods@east-thames.co.uk or call the hub on 0207 511 5946

Posted on: Tue 6th December 2016 16:18

To coincide with the completion of their merger, L&Q and East Thames have today unveiled the new brand for their merged organisation.

The organisation will be called L&Q, with East Thames forming a wholly owned subsidiary. L&Q Living will be the Group’s new care and support arm.

David Montague, Chief Executive of L&Q, said: “Together we will combine our social purpose and commercial drive to create homes and neighbourhoods we can be proud of. Our vision is that everyone should have a quality home that they can afford.

“We believe we can make this vision a reality by working with like-minded partners to deliver 100,000 new homes, with half of these being genuinely affordable to people on average and lower incomes.

"This is a new chapter for both organisations. We have chosen a bold new brand that reflects our ambition, our determination and the impact we will have on the housing crisis.”

In addition to building new homes, the new Group will invest £250 million in community programmes and £5 million in a new academy to develop talented, qualified staff, and to provide residents with skills and employment opportunities.

L&Q Living, the care and support subsidiary will provide personalised support to help more than 6,600 older and vulnerable adults live independently.

Yvonne Arrowsmith, Chief Executive of East Thames, said: “At the heart of L&Q and East Thames there has always been a belief that homes really matter, to everyone, regardless of their circumstances.

“With the birth of our new organisation, we have the opportunity to make this a reality for many more people, including those who need support to live independently. To achieve this, we rely, as ever, on the passion of our people, our inclusive and collaborative approach and our tireless commitment to the wellbeing of all our customers.

"This is a defining moment for us and for the market we serve. One that will enable us to make a difference to many lives, now and for years to come."

Posted on: Tue 6th December 2016 16:11

L&Q and East Thames housing associations have today announced the completion of their merger, and a successful £2.6 billion refinancing package to help support delivery of their ambitious strategic objectives.

Benefits of newly merged entity

  • The combined organisation owns and manages over 90,000 homes across the UK, worth an estimated £22 billion
  • The newly merged organisation will improve its financial strength and, working with like-minded partners, set a vision to deliver 100,000 new homes with half being genuinely affordable to people on average and lower incomes
  • The ten-year financial plan allows for:

o   £15 billion gross capital expenditure in building new homes

o   £250 million community investment fund to improve the life chances of those who live in the organisation’s homes and communities and to promote independence among residents

o   £5 million per annum for a new training academy to develop talented, qualified staff, and to provide residents with skills and employment opportunities

  • The merged organisation plans to create a new 6,600 home specialist care and support subsidiary with an annual turnover of £47 million to provide a dedicated offer to older and vulnerable adults
  • Continued commitment to 50% affordable housing through shared ownership and rent, reflecting the organisation’s belief that everyone should have a quality home that they can afford. The organisation will combine social purpose and commercial drive, investing all profits back into creating homes and neighbourhoods people can be proud of
  • Maximising capacity and building financial resilience to future markets and economic risk through a focus on cash efficiencies and delivering improved value for money
  • Pursuing significant opportunities for growth, including:

o   accelerated development throughout London and the South East, including along the Thames Gateway corridor, which has been identified as a long term national priority for growth

o   strengthening existing relationships and forging new partnerships with like-minded organisations – primarily within the South East but looking to expand to new regions where appropriate, e.g. Trafford Housing Trust in the North West

o   development of strategic land initiatives

  • Targeting an improvement in key financial metrics,  delivering £38 million efficiency savings per annum by March 2019, combining the best from both organisations’ operating model, sharing core central services and greater investment in technology
  • Focused on achieving top quartile customer satisfaction and staff engagement:

o   Customers will be at the heart of the new organisation. One of the top priorities will be to provide excellent, local, responsive services

o   Investing in the organisation’s people, and providing long term career development opportunities as a recognised employer of choice

Refinancing

L&Q has, on completion, successfully negotiated a £2.6 billion refinance package supported by key relationships with its banks. The benefits will include:

  • A capital structure that supports the business objective that delivers a lower long-term cost of capital
  • An improved liquidity coverage ratio that provides resilience against future market and economic conditions

David Montague, Group Chief Executive, commented:

“We have built a strong track record over the last 50 years and believe the opportunities ahead for the sector have never been greater. 

“The current Government talks about increasing housing of all tenures, not just home-ownership, and is focussed on long-term targets that stretch beyond the next election. With long-term planning we can make long-term commitments, and we share the Government’s determination and ambition to deliver a step change in housing.

“We are delighted with the merger with East Thames. We have the ambition and the capacity to build quality homes, fit for the future, across multiple tenures at a greater scale than ever before.  We want to continue to work with like-minded organisations and have the skills and financial strength to make a difference. I would like to thank our staff for their continued hard work and focus, and our residents for their views and feedback during the process. This is an exciting moment and I look forward to working with our new colleagues and residents to deliver our plans.”

Yvonne Arrowsmith, East Thames Chief Executive, commented:

“Our strong relationships in East London and Essex will help the merged entity accelerate growth in the South East over the next ten years. We believe that everyone should have a quality home they can afford. This merger will allow us to combine our social purpose and commercial drive to create homes and neighbourhoods we can be proud of and to provide even greater support to some of the most vulnerable members of society.”

Overview

The new organisation will be named L&Q. East Thames Limited forms a wholly owned subsidiary of L&Q.

Prior to merger completion, the two organisations had a development pipeline of 43,000 homes. From today, the new organisation will improve its financial strength and, working with like-minded partners, set a vision to deliver 100,000 new homes with half being genuinely affordable to people on average and lower incomes.

Both L&Q and East Thames already have a strong presence and track record in the South East. In particular, both organisations see East London and Essex as particularly strong growth areas in the future. Current long term sizeable projects in this region include Barking Riverside, Purfleet, Beaulieu, Weavers Quarter and the Ocean Estate.

Since the intention to merge was announced on 5 April 2016, a partnership has been established with Trafford Housing Trust based in Greater Manchester. Further geographical expansion will be pursued where appropriate as the new merged entity looks to develop more partnerships.

The merged entity is a significant and active operator in the land market, with £800 million invested in 103 sites and a pipeline which trebled in the last year to 43,370 units.

Refinancing

Shortly after the merger announcement on 5 April 2016, discussions began with relationship banks with the objective of procuring a debt package that will support the objectives of the combined group. The new group is pleased to announce today that it has secured £2.6 billion of committed bank facilities.

The organisation’s reputation, combined asset base and credit strength has enabled it to secure greater flexibility and scale in its refinancing than would have previously been possible as two standalone organisations. The refinancing package combined with the strength of the balance sheet will enable the new organisation to deliver its planned programme of growth and positions it well for the future.

Management

The Board and Executive team have substantial experience across the public and private sectors. Representing both L&Q and East Thames, these individuals share the same culture, values and ambition for the future, whilst bringing complementary skill sets to the Board.  Aubrey Adams will be Group Chairman; David Montague, Group Chief Executive; Yvonne Arrowsmith, East Thames Chief Executive and Waqar Ahmed, Group Director of Finance. For the full list of exec team and board visit: www.lqgroup.org.uk/services-for-residents/about-landq/our-people/

Care and support

East Thames has over 25 years’ experience as a registered provider of care and support services including floating and outreach support, supported living, short breaks and registered care homes. The merged organisation plans to create a new 6,600 home specialist care and support subsidiary, providing personalised support so residents can achieve independence. As a combined organisation, this service will form a new wholly owned subsidiary, called L&Q Living, which will expand its services to meet the growing demand for supported living in the UK so that more vulnerable people can benefit from its expertise and the trusted service it provides.

Resident feedback

Throughout the process, L&Q and East Thames have taken feedback from more than 2,700 residents. They have shared their priorities for the newly merged organisation to target. The results of the consultation can be found at www.lqgroup.org.uk/services-for-residents/contact-us/faqs/landq-merger-faq/

Posted on: Wed 30th November 2016 17:48

 

We have some fantastic news, East Thames bagged the full £12k funding from Tesco’s ‘bags of help’ initiative in order to create a dementia friendly garden.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork for its Bags of Help funding initiative, which awards grants to local outdoor community projects. The grants range from £8,000 to £12,000 and is all raised from the 5p bag levy.

East Thames was successfully shortlisted for one of the three grants after recomending its dementia friendly garden project. Six million votes were cast in stores up and down the UK and shoppers clearly loved our project as East Thames received the most votes and the maximum grant amount of £12,000!

With this funding boost we can now start work on bringing the dementia friendly garden to life. We currently have a small outdoor space for our elderly residents at Verdon Roe Court, one of our schemes for older people in Waltham Forest, but aim to make it more accessible and inviting by implementing features that would make dementia-friendly. People with dementia often get confused, feel frustrated and often scared, but with this additional funding we’ll be able to hire specialist dementia designers to help make the most of the garden and suggest ways in which the garden could stimulate the senses – such as herbs and flowers for aromatherapy and creative ways to attract wildlife.

Residents at the scheme will be able to use the garden to get in touch with nature, take part in gardening, socialise and relax in a calming environment. It will be a community hub for residents and those in the local community who may be vulnerable and lonely, providing an opportunity to take part in outdoor activity that encourages social interaction and self-expression.

Charlie Culshaw, East Thames’ director of care and support, said: “The funding will create a wonderful dementia-friendly garden that will provide a safe and therapeutic environment for people with dementia and their families to enjoy. The benefits that aromatherapy, cognitive stimulation and keeping active have on dementia are well known and the garden will provide all of these.”

Groundwork’s national chief executive, Graham Duxbury, added:  “It’s projects like these that really help to capture the public’s imagination by illustrating what can be achieved when communities are given the support and the encouragement they need to create better places where they live.”