bdht - building excellent communities with passion and pride

bdht supports Fairtrade Bromsgrove

bdht-staff-enjoying-drinking-Fairtrade-products-at-a-recent-Fairtrade-Friday---ltor-Tina-Poyser,-Ashlea-Green,-Surjit-Balu-and-Shirley-Robinson

Fairtrade Bromsgrove has recruited one of Bromsgrove’s largest employers to support its campaign to give farmers in developing countries a fair deal for their produce.

Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (bdht) now provides a wide range of Fairtrade refreshments to all its staff and visitors. The refreshments include tea and coffee including decaffeinated options and drinking chocolate. bdht also has regular Fairtrade Fridays where staff are encouraged to try the delicious refreshments available, as well as learning more about the work of Fairtrade worldwide.

Mike Brown, bdht’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Fairtrade Bromsgrove and promote the importance of decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in other countries.”

Barbra Hayes from Fairtrade Bromsgrove says: “We were really pleased when bdht agreed to support the work we do. It comes just as we celebrate our first year as a Fairtrade Town and we are finalising plans for our Fairtrade Autumn Fair, which is being held at The Methodist Church on Saturday 25th October 2014 from 10.00am.”

Fun day a huge success for bdht

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bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, hosted a family fun day at Lyttleton Avenue playing fields, Charford, last week (Wednesday 27th August) to bring the community together and raise funds for a local Asperger’s and Autism group.

Almost 400 attended, taking part in fun family activities including a bouncy castle and slide, face painting, tombola, hook a duck, library service, beat the goalie competition and food and ice cream stalls. The police attended with emergency vehicles for children to sit in and explore, and Clent Hills Veterinary Practice set up a mobile surgery offering free health checks for pets.

Stalls were run by bdht staff and other local businesses, including the Blue Cross and Severn Trent Water, with all money raised on the day going towards setting up a social group for young people with Asperger’s and Autism at Starlight Café and Community Centre

Ashlea Green, Sheltered Living Manager at bdht, says: “We’ve had a fantastic day with a great turnout and lots of support from local businesses who have donated products and gift vouchers to sell and offer as raffle prizes. We really appreciate everyone getting involved and coming together to make this a truly successful day for local families.

“In total we’ve raised £500 for our social group which is such a fantastic feat and one we couldn’t have done without everyone’s involvement.”

bdht walkers raise valuable funds for homeless charity

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bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, has raised nearly £2,000 for St Basil’s homeless charity after staff completed a gruelling sponsored walk.

The walk started in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and 16 bdht staff members split into three teams to compete against a further 116 teams, all eager to raise money for this worthy cause.

Two of the teams walked 13 miles whilst the third team walked the full marathon distance of 26.2 miles, completing the course in just under nine hours – a real accomplishment.

Eamon Thompson, New Business Manager at bdht and part of team one, said: “The 16 staff who took part in the walk really enjoyed the challenge of the day, working really well as teams to cross the finish lines together. We’re really pleased to have raised £1,956 between us to help support the increasingly important work of St Basil’s.”

bdht makes a move into Redditch

Gary Fowler and Ms Diamond outside her home in Foxlydiate

bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, is expanding its reach into Redditch after being selected by Bournville Village Trust (BVT) to purchase 42 of its properties in the Woodrow North, Batchley and Matchborough West areas of the town.

As part of its own strategy, BVT decided to release the properties in Redditch in order to focus more locally in Birmingham, but was only willing to sell the chosen units to a landlord that could match its high level of service and offer tenants a locally provided service from a local office. After a competitive process, bdht was selected for having the ability to meet and exceed the expectations of both BVT and its tenants.

Mark Robertson, Managing Director at bdht, explains: “We have been looking to expand our reach beyond Bromsgrove for some time now and had identified Redditch as a priority area due to its proximity to our head office and our staff’s knowledge of the area.

“We’re really pleased to have been chosen by BVT to purchase and manage these homes, particularly as they have such a careful selection process. We’ve now contacted all of the tenants in these properties and in most cases made home visits to ensure that there is a smooth handover and they are happy and reassured that the service levels they are used to will be maintained.”

Annette Homer, Director of Housing and Community Services at BVT, said: “It’s extremely important to us to maintain high service levels for all of our tenants and we were really impressed by the service and commitment offered by bdht. We’re confident that our former tenants will also be impressed.”

bdht’s new properties include 27 flats, houses and bungalows in Woodrow North, four flats and a bungalow in Batchley, ten flats in Matchborough West and a shop in Woodrow.

New Head of Communities moves into bdht

Surjit-Balu

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

Mrs-Smith

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

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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 marie.green@bdht.co.uk

bdht revives and re-launches café and community centre in charford

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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.

92% satisfaction for bdht tenants

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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.



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