Chief Executive Mike Brown responds to Sajid Javid’s comments to Andrew Marr, that the government should borrow money to fund the demand for 300,000 affordable houses to be built each year.
“Sajid Javid is, I believe, opening up an extremely important debate and I am of course supportive of his intentions to solve the housing shortage. He is the Secretary of State who first publicly announced last year, that the country’s housing supply was in crisis and the market was broken. This proposal for the Government to borrow at the current historic low interest rates to support infrastructure development makes good sense and will certainly help with supply.
“It is a clear recognition that the market economy on its own cannot solve the supply issues in the UK housing market. I would however also urge Mr Javid and his colleagues to commit to long-term and consistent strategic approaches to both funding and land supply. We must, I feel, make such commitments if we genuinely wish to see the issues of housing affordability for our successor generations resolved.”
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and staff at bdht have been treated to a delicious fry-up cooked by their Chief Executive, as part of its ongoing commitment to ensuring employee satisfaction.
bdht, Bromsgrove’s largest provider of affordable housing, is renowned for its excellent staff morale, with the company topping a list of the UK’s Best Workplaces™ earlier this year with a satisfaction score of 98%.
Every other month, as part of its ongoing focus on its workforce, all staff are invited to enjoy a fantastic breakfast, courtesy of Chief Executive Mike Brown, who cooks up sausages, bacon, eggs and all the trimmings.
Mike explains: “Strong staff morale is key for us at bdht and a major focus day-to-day. These team breakfasts are a great chance to sit down with colleagues and chat about things you may not get time to talk about day-to-day – discussions about work are banned!”
Following the success of its recent Digi-Fayre at Bromsgrove Library, bdht is continuing its digital inclusion drive by taking part in the National Get Online Week, ‘Try 1 Thing’ beginning Monday 2nd October.
A national campaign, ‘Try 1 Thing’ is encouraging people of all ages to use the internet. This could be anything from booking a dentist’s appointment to checking bank statements or arranging a supermarket delivery to skyping family or friends.
Rachael Tooth, Driving Futures Officer at bdht, says: “We’re really pleased to be continuing our ongoing digital inclusion initiatives. By being able to use the internet, people can gain access to services, employment opportunities and important information that they would have otherwise missed out on, so we see it as a really great opportunity.”
Get Online Week events:
Starlight Community Centre
As part of its many ongoing digital initiatives, bdht is also providing free IT classes for its over 50s residents in the form of a seven week course. The IT classes are being funded by Councillor Chris Bloore and are free to all who attend. Rachael explains: “With this campaign we are giving our older residents the opportunity to get to grips with computers if they haven’t used them before. It can seem quite daunting at first, but our courses are relaxed and informal and we provide step by step support for residents looking to get online.”
There are also a number of other IT courses of all ability levels across the district as well as one to one support at regular drop-ins at the Starlight Café on Humphrey Avenue, Charford.
For more information, or to book on to the classes, please let a member of the Driving Futures Team know or contact bdht on free phone 0800 0850 160 or by emailing DrivingFuture@bdht.co.uk
With the help of the local community, bdht has raised almost £1,500 at its annual summer fun days, which will go towards furnishing the popular Starlight Café in Charford.
Over 600 people came along to the days, held last month in Sidemoor and Charford, to enjoy the free bouncy castle, face painting, pony rides, tombola and raffle stalls amongst the many activities provided by bdht and their partners.
Ashlea Green, Driving Futures Manager at bdht, said: “We had a fantastic turn out this year and were really pleased to see so many families having so much fun together. Collectively we’ve raised an amazing amount of money and we’re delighted to be able to put this towards some new furniture for the Starlight Café, which was redecorated last year with the help of volunteers from Halfords.
“The café has become really popular, with more than 200 local people visiting each week to join in with classes, courses and social activities, as well as just coming in for the wonderful food we serve, so we’re really keen to ensure that the facilities and equipment meet their needs. Thank you to everyone who came along to the fun days and helped us to raise such valuable funds, and a special thanks to Councillor Chris Bloore who once again supported the events.”
bdht is creating new shared tenancy accommodation specifically designed for local, single people, aged under 35.
Anyone on Housing Benefit who started their tenancy after April 2016 is linked to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) that states under 35s are only entitled to a shared room rate, which is significantly lower than the previous one bedroom accommodation option. As a result, those seeking employment, single and under 35 will face a significant shortfall to meet their rent in April 2019.
Following the ruling, bdht has taken steps to help local people affected, and is currently converting properties into accommodation that two people can share. Tenants will be given their own shared accommodation agreement that includes rent and all bills, and will be required to work with bdht’s Driving Futures team working to support people to enter employment. Once they have sustained permanent employment for six months, then they will be entitled to move to one of bdht’s one bedroom self-contained properties.
The shared properties created under the new initiative come complete with all carpets, flooring and blinds, as well as a set of communal furniture, including white goods.
Bromsgrove District Council have worked in partnership with bdht on the shared tenancy scheme and provided support to ensure the properties are affordable for local residents.
John Whitwam, Head of Housing Solutions at bdht, said: “The LHA ruling limited options for single, young people in need of accommodation and so we are delighted to announce our latest initiative dedicated to serving our local community and helping those affected.”
Anyone, single, under 35 and seeking employment, looking for housing accommodation in Bromsgrove can find out more information and apply for the new shared tenancy initiative at www.homechoiceplus.co.uk.
As part of our commitment to excellent customer service, we can now provide you with more of your information digitally, over the internet. Our new customer portal, mybdht, is available above. Just click ‘I am a Tenant’
If you’re looking for somewhere local to entertain the children this summer holiday, then why not come along to bdht’s family fun days on 16th and 23rd August.
The fun days are held annually and run by bdht staff for the local community to enjoy. On Wednesday 16th August the event will be held at King George Close Recreation Ground, Sidemoor, and on Wednesday 23rd August come along to Charford Recreation Ground, off Lyttleton Avenue. Running from 12-3.30pm, entertainment includes a bouncy castle, face painting, pony rides, tombola and raffle stalls and lots more to keep the whole family entertained.
Ashlea Green, Driving Futures Manager at bdht, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to hold summer fun days each year in the heart of two of our largest communities. We’re hoping to see more people than ever this year enjoying the free bouncy castle, face painting and other activities. There’s always a fantastic atmosphere, lots of fun and laughter and memories to be made.”
bdht is hosting a Digi-Fayre at Bromsgrove Library on Tuesday 8th August to offer free guidance and information to anyone who isn’t familiar with computers or the internet or would like advice and help to find employment.
Everyone is invited to gain confidence in accessing services online, improve their digital skills or seek information about employment at the event, which will run from 10am – 2pm at the Parkside venue.
For those who are familiar with the internet but may be worried about cyber security, the Digi-Fayre will also include two cyber-crime workshops, at 11am and 2pm, which will allow people to get a greater understanding of how to stay safe online.
Rachael Tooth, Driving Futures Officer at bdht, said: “We’re really pleased to launch our second Digi-Fayre. Some people have never used the internet and this means they aren’t getting the same opportunities to access services, gain employment or find important information as regular online users. It can be quite daunting if you haven’t used a computer or the internet before, but we’ve designed workshops that make it really easy to get online.
“We’re also working with some great partners at this event, such as Worcestershire County Council, Libraries and Learning and the Job Centre, who can talk to people about all of services that are available to them online. HoW College, Nova Training and Community Learning will be on hand to talk about the training courses they offer and how to apply, and ABI Ireland will be showing people how to renew or apply for a Blue Badge parking permit online.”
Everyone is invited to come along and see friendly faces from bdht and our partners, all offering a wealth of free information and advice.
Following on from the tragic incident of the fire at Grenfell Tower flats we can confirm that within the bdht stock we do not have any buildings over 18 m in height (3-storeys) that have been externally clad. For those buildings where we have installed external insulation we can confirm that the system is not the same system that was used on the Grenfell flats, nor is it in any way similar. It is a render based system where the insulation product is fixed directly to the wall with a fire resistant mechanical fixing and then coated with an external cement render. It has been approved by building control and meets all of the current building regulations.
As required by the Department of Communities and Local Government we provided full information on Monday, 19th June and received from them confirmation of our nil status.
As a number of queries have been raised in relation to wider issues of fire prevention we believe it is appropriate to update you with bdht’s current practices. Every individual flat is provided with a smoke detector which is designed to ensure early identification of any fire related difficulty. All communal areas have been subject to fire risk assessments (FRA) which have been carried out by an independent third party and have been audited by an external auditor. The purpose of the risk assessment is to ensure that the way in which our communal areas are managed in relation to fire detection and control is in accordance with the required regulations (the Regulatory Reform (safety) Order) RRO. The fire risk assessments, which are carried out on a maximum 3-year frequency, are reviewed annually and if there are any material changes to the building or layout in accordance with the RRO. We can confirm that we are 100% compliant with any recommendation that has arisen from the current fire risk assessment.
Although a technical issue, fire risk management is dealt with through passive and active measures and as a result buildings can be designed differently in respect of the measures that are in place. Therefore you may see things that appear to be different between similar buildings. We can assure you that we have carried out the FRA for every single block of flats but if you have any individual query please do not hesitate to email:
Bromsgrove’s bdht has topped a national list of the UK’s Best Workplaces™. Staff celebrated as they were handed the top accolade in London last night (Wednesday 3rd May) after the Trust was ranked first in the Medium category by Great Place to Work®.
The not-for-profit organisation topped the national list in its category (for companies with 50-499 employees) after 98% of its employees said that the company was a ‘great place to work’. This is only the second year that bdht has entered the annual Best Workplaces™ ranking, which recognises high trust, high engagement workplace cultures, after coming 7th in 2016.
Mike Brown, Chief Executive of bdht said: “We’re number one! I am absolutely delighted and humbled by this recognition. We take pride in our culture and place huge value on employee happiness, welfare and general wellbeing so to be ranked first in our category is a real honour, particularly as employee feedback plays a significant part in the judging process.
“We are passionate about the work that we do with the community and I am pleased to see that each and every employee at bdht embodies this spirit. Fundamentally, when staff are loyal, engaged and happy, they in turn are able to provide the highest level of service to our customers. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their ongoing dedication and commitment.”
The methodology behind the Great Place to Work® list and its success is one of the most rigorous available. It uniquely comprises both an employee survey and an audit into bdht’s organisational management and HR practices. The award celebrates the strength of bdht’s leadership and the range of innovative, creative and effective HR policies that it has formed in its workplace culture.
Tom O’Byrne, Great Place to Work® CEO said: “We are delighted to see bdht at the top of our Best Workplaces™ list this year. It is a validation of the strength of their leadership and their commitment to creating the kind of culture which attracts and retains the best talent and where people have pride in what they do and want to do their best.
“The hallmark of a great workplace like bdht is that their policies and practices are designed around the employee; this employee focus helps attract and retain the talent essential for driving and sustaining competitive performance. It is no coincidence that high trust organisations like bdht also tend to perform better than their peers.”
By topping the UK’s Best Workplaces™, bdht is now automatically entered into the Great Place to Work® 100 Best Places to Work in Europe competition and is up against companies from 19 other European countries. The results will be announced in June.
For more information about bdht please visit bdht.co.uk.