New Head of Communities moves into bdht
bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, has appointed Surjit Balu as Head of Communities, where he will lead the trust’s Community First and Sheltered Living teams.
Surjit has spent his entire career within the housing sector, having worked with Local Authorities and Housing Associations, and has gained wide and varied experience in a range of associated services including sheltered and supported housing, neighbourhood management, income collection and anti-social behaviour.
In his new role, Surjit will be promoting joint working between bdht and other external agencies operating in and around Bromsgrove to ensure the best possible service for customers. He will also be looking to extend the reach of the trust’s Sheltered Living service to as many people as possible, particularly those not already living in sheltered accommodation, thereby increasing the number of people who can enjoy and benefit from the work and activities of the team.
Surjit said: “I’ve been really impressed with how forward thinking bdht is and I feel it’s a culture I’ll settle into well. I’m looking forward to facing some new challenges as part of this role and progressing some key projects over the next few months.”
Mike Brown, chief executive at bdht said: “We’re really pleased to welcome Surjit to bdht. He brings a wealth of experience with him and is keen to develop our community services and ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers in and around Bromsgrove. A major focus for him will be to reduce social isolation of the elderly through our Sheltered Living service, and work to create sustainable communities through engagement in training, volunteering and employment opportunities.”
bdht’s local mission to help fight a global crisis
bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, has started work on installing energy saving external wall insulation to 148 properties in Sidemoor, as it completes the final phase of a three-year programme to make homes in Bromsgrove more energy efficient and help reduce energy bills.
As part of a government-backed energy efficiency programme, bdht identified its worst performing thermally efficient homes in the town and, along with contractor Bullock Construction, is transforming 11 properties each week over the next three-months with layers of insulation to the external walls to make them more energy efficient. Once all of the work is completed the houses should achieve an energy rating of C which will greatly reduce their emissions.
Mike Brown, Chief Executive at bdht, says: “This local project will have a direct impact on carbon emissions and ultimately on the very real global issue that we are all facing. Not only that, but this type of insulation can significantly reduce energy bills by £500 per home each year.
“We are on a local mission to help fight a global crisis and if everyone does their bit and takes responsibility for their own environmental actions then we can all reduce our carbon footprint.”
It is hoped all work will be completed by the end of July.
bdht honoured at National Housing Heroes awards
bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, is celebrating after one of its staff members scooped a prestigious award at the Inside Housing Housing Heroes Awards 2014 on Monday evening.
Kate Leaning, part of the housing trust’s community repairs team, was nominated by her employers for the Career Development Star award and beat off stiff competition from around the country to be crowned the winner by awards host, and one of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
The Housing Heroes Awards is one of the principal award ceremonies in housing, honouring the best housing providers and the dedication of the staff that work within the sector. Kate is the first female operative in bdht’s community repairs team and has completed rigorous training and qualifications after deciding to retrain for a new career path. She is currently taking a break from studying but hopes to focus further training on environmental technologies, as well as becoming involved with being the responsible person for the electrical test certificates.
Mike Brown, chief executive at bdht, said: “We’re so proud of Kate’s achievements at bdht and are delighted that these have been recognised by a national awards programme. She is a wonderful ambassador for the business, is always striving to do her very best for our customers and is a joy to work with. Well done Kate.”
Martin Hilditch, Acting Editor of Inside Housing, said: “The standard of entries for the Housing Heroes Awards hit new heights this year. All of our entrants can be truly proud of everything that they have achieved in the past 12 months. Housing professionals are carrying out fantastic work to build and sustain communities across the UK. We had more than 200 entries this year and it was incredibly tough whittling that down to a shortlist, quite apart from picking a winner. Huge congratulations to everyone who entered.”
bdht working in harmony
bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, is working in harmony, stretching its vocal chords and bringing music to staff and customers’ ears after forming its first choir – No Skills ReChoired.
The talented 12-strong group was formed after staff members were inspired by BBC Two’s The Choir, picking up tips from the TV show’s choirmaster, Gareth Malone, on breathing and posture before taking the plunge to form their own singing group.
Since then the group, made up of 11 women and one man, have been tirelessly practicing their harmonies during their lunch breaks and took their colleagues by surprise by launching into their own rendition of the Keane and Lilly Allen hit, Somewhere Only We Know, during a staff meeting.
Marie Green, Director of Communities at bdht and one of the driving forces behind No Skills ReChoired, explains: “Not long after forming we decided that, whilst we thought we sounded okay, we should probably be brave and get some ruthless feedback from our colleagues! So we braced ourselves and went for it.
“Everyone was really surprised and very positive which spurred us on to perform two songs at our recent staff conference.”
No Skills ReChoired is now planning to visit some of its sheltered living schemes to perform various songs to the elderly residents. Marie says: “Singing is such a fulfilling and positive experience so for staff to be involved is really inspiring and to be able to share this with our customers will be wonderful.
“We’re ready to hit the Bromsgrove highway and visit customers around the district who are keen to hear us perform. We hope they enjoy it as much as we do and we hope it helps to raise awareness of the very real need for affordable housing in our locality and the need for everyone to be paid a living wage to enable them to have housing choices.”
For further information, or if you would like to hear No Skills ReChoired perform, call Marie Green on 01527 557513 or email email@example.com
bdht revives and re-launches café and community centre in charford
bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, has re-vamped a popular café in Charford, as well as completely renovating the adjacent community centre, formerly known as The Trunk, and both will be opening to the public on Friday 25th April as Starlight Café and Community Centre.
Previously the centre and café were supported by bdht but run privately, however, when The Trunk closed last year, bdht stepped in to save it. Marie Green, Director of Communities at bdht, explains: “The Trunk provided a place for local people to access computers, employment advice and general support, so it was a great loss to the community when it closed. We’re delighted to have been able to take over the running of the centre, as well as the café, to continue to provide these important services in Charford as well as a central place for people to meet locally.”
The Starlight Community Centre will now hold IT classes, a craft club on Wednesday afternoons, Starlight social sessions for adults with learning difficulties on Thursday afternoons, and CAB Gateway advisors will be available on Monday and Tuesday mornings from the middle of May and will offer free, confidential advice.
Marie continues: “We hope the classes and sessions will be popular and the centre can thrive. We are also encouraging other organisations to get in touch if they would like to offer services or run courses from the community centre. The Starlight Café and Community Centre is only able to run with the help of volunteers so if anyone is keen to help in the café or centre, please let us know.”
To celebrate the opening, there will be an Easter fun day this coming Friday 25th April at the Starlight Café and Community Centre, Humphrey Avenue, Charford, where there will be an Easter egg hunt, games, a prize raffle, a name the giant duck competition and colouring and crafts for children to take part in. Come along from 11.00am to join in the fun and see what the new café and community centre has to offer.
For further information, or if you would like to volunteer or offer any community services or courses, please contact Darran on 01527 833886.
Three Housing Heroes nominations for bdht
bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, has been shortlisted for three national awards in 2014’s Inside Housing Housing Heroes Awards programme - Career Development Star for community repairs team member Kate Leaning, IT Team of the Year and Inspirational Leader for chief executive Mike Brown.
The Housing Heroes Awards is one of the principal award ceremonies in housing, honouring the best housing providers and the dedication of the staff that work within the sector.
Graeme Anderson, Director at bdht, said: “We’re so pleased to have been shortlisted in not one, but three categories. Our staff work extremely hard, going above and beyond their daily duties in order to provide an exceptional service to our customers.
"It’s fantastic that our chief executive is also nominated for an award. As the figure-head of the company, he leads from the front and empowers all of our employees to exceed their goals and potential.
Kate Leaning is the first female operative in bdht’s community repairs team and has completed rigorous training and qualifications after deciding to retrain for a new career path. bdht’s young IT Team has excelled over the last 12 months. Having come from non-typical IT backgrounds, they have all embraced both formal and on-the-job-training and, as a result, have successfully introduced brand new systems with minimal disruption.
Award winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony in Manchester on Monday 23rd June 2014, which will be hosted by one of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
92% satisfaction for bdht tenants
bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, has received outstanding feedback from its customers in its latest satisfaction survey, with a massive 92% of tenants saying they are satisfied with the overall service provided by bdht.
The annual survey is sent to all tenants with the aim of gathering as much feedback as possible in order for the company to continually improve its services and this year is no exception, achieving the highest level of scored since bdht was formed ten years ago.
Mike Brown, chief executive at bdht, says: “As the largest provider of affordable housing in the Bromsgrove district, we are an essential and important part of people’s lives and their community, and our services impact them on a daily basis. Therefore it’s essential that we assess these services on an ongoing basis and proactively seek feedback in order to make any necessary improvements.
“We really appreciate so many people responding to the survey and we are delighted that their satisfaction is at an all-time high, but we still want better. We will always strive to achieve 100%.”
In addition, the survey revealed that 89% of tenants are satisfied with the repairs and maintenance service provided by bdht, 86% are satisfied with their neighbourhood and 84% say the rent they pay is good value for the service received.
bdht boosts employee health to achieve county council accolade
bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, is one of the first companies in the county to have achieved well-being accreditation under the ‘Worcestershire Works Well’ initiative for employee health.
The not-for-profit organisation puts staff health and well-being high on its agenda and, after meeting the standards needed for accreditation, it has been awarded level two.
As part of the accreditation process, bdht appointed staff well-being champions who worked with their colleagues to raise awareness and improve workplace health and well-being, using the nine ‘Worcestershire Works Well Standards’ as their focus which include promoting good health, physical activity and healthy eating.
Angie Abraham, bdht’s Human Resources Manager, explains: “As well as ensuring our policies and procedures demonstrate our commitment to the initiative, staff have had the opportunity to participate in a range of activities, such as healthy eating, physical activity and the general promotion of good health.
“We have arranged the provision of healthy breakfasts, set up pilates and zumba fitness activities, organised weekly well-being walks, regular well-being days and participation in Movember and Dry January, to raise funds for charity.
“Our staff and the well-being champions have really enjoyed being a part of this important initiative to make better lifestyle choices with regards to our health and well-being and bdht is delighted to receive this accreditation. Everyone’s keen to continue with their healthy lifestyles.”
Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member for Health and Well-being for Worcestershire County Council, said: “I'm delighted that bdht has reached level two accreditation in the county's employee health scheme, Worcestershire Works Well. It's a great achievement. The company, its health champions and its employees should be proud of what they have accomplished. They are a fantastic example of how workplaces can be made healthier and more productive places to be.
“I would encourage all Worcestershire businesses to follow suit and to join Worcestershire Works Well. Improving the health of employees will make great business return as productivity goes up and sickness absence goes down. Worcestershire Works Well is free to join and I would suggest that all our local businesses follow the good example of bdht and contact the scheme via the website www.worcestershireworkswell.co.uk."
bdht was ranked in fourth place in The Sunday Times Best for Not-for-Profit-Companies to work for earlier this month, as well as being crowned Best for Learning and Development and Best for Wellbeing.
BDHT celebrates triple success in Sunday Times top 100 awards
bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing and one of the town’s biggest employers, was celebrating last night after being ranked in fourth place in The Sunday Times Best for Not for Profit Companies to work for as well as winning two individual awards on the night.
After securing 9th position last year, 2014 has seen a five place leap in the poll that looks at the best companies to work for across the UK. And the celebrations continued when bdht scooped two out of the six special awards up for grabs, being crowned Best for Learning and Development and Best for Wellbeing in its category.
The rankings and awards are decided by The Sunday Times based entirely on employee feedback on areas such as leadership, wellbeing, personal growth and how happy the workforce is. It also identifies how employees contribute to their company’s success and growth, which in turn sets a benchmark for other employers.
The social housing provider has increased its position each year, beginning at 88th in 2011, moving to 44th in 2012, and last year in 9th position, so it is delighted to have leapt into the top five this year. As a not-for-profit organisation, the company doesn’t run a bonus scheme so employee satisfaction isn’t based on financial reward but comes from enjoying the job they do and feeling valued for it, which makes this award even more significant.
Mike Brown, chief executive at bdht, said: “We have improved our position year-on-year and we are extremely pleased to have made it to the top five this year against such high level competition, with over 200 entries received. It is such an achievement to be recognised in this acclaimed national award and we are so proud that our employees rate us so highly. Knowing that this award is based entirely on employee feedback makes it even more special.
"As one of the largest employers in Bromsgrove, providing such an important local service, it’s essential that we give our employees with a secure, positive, professional and empowering place to work. It’s no surprise that when staff are satisfied, results coincide with the business having a great year in regard to good performance. We are currently awaiting the results from our tenant satisfaction survey and we are quietly confident they will be the best ever."
"The best thing for me as a chief executive is that 92% of employees say they are proud to work for bdht, the second highest rating in the awards, with 83% saw themselves as having a positive future, even in these difficult times. And 82% said they felt they could tell their manager when things were going wrong."
"This provides us with excellent foundations to continue our great work and improve as a business to give our employees even more opportunities to develop and learn." The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For lists are compiled based on research from the largest survey of its kind.
bdht tackles youth unemployment head on
The chief executive of a successful Bromsgrove employer is challenging his peers to help tackle youth unemployment in the area.
Mike Brown, Chief Executive from bdht, decided to promote opportunities for young people not in employment, education or training, commonly known as NEETS, after receiving 77 applications for a post in his organisation.
Mike said: “Over the last year, we’ve deliberately looked for NEETs to fill new vacancies within our organisation, with two young people already employed in Customer Services and IT. But when we had so many applications for a newly advertised post, it is clear there’s a wider problem.”
Mike is going to challenge the other business leaders who attend the Bromsgrove Strategic Partnership Group to see how they can help.
“Most people who’ve had a successful career have been given a lucky break or two along the way, and sometimes you just need someone to gamble on you. Our organisation has a strong track record of developing talent, but we’re not unique. There are businesses across Bromsgrove who will make a massive difference to young people’s lives, just by giving them a chance.”
Anyone wishing to chat to Mike about this initiative, can contact him at bdht on 01527 557557.