Latest news at CGA — articles for March 2019

Welcome to the family

Preston based social landlord, Community Gateway Association (CGA), announced today that it has completed its largest ever stock acquisition from Clarion Housing Group.

CGA has today acquired 306 properties from Clarion Housing Group in Preston, including general needs homes and a supported housing scheme.

This acquisition is part of CGA’s strategy to own 7,000 properties by 2022, which has already seen CGA build and acquire nearly 350 new homes in just three years, and together with the transfer of 124 homes in Preston, Chorley and Blackpool from Regenda Housing Group, a total of 430 homes have been acquired in the last week.

Louise Mattinson, Executive Director of Customers and Communities, said,

“This is CGA’s largest stock acquisition to date and brings us closer to us achieving our aim to own 7,000 properties by 2022.  These properties are in a great area of Preston, adjacent to areas where we already own a number of other properties, which means we can easily deliver our excellent services to our new customers. These are really exciting times for Gateway; we have ambitions to grow, but we will continue to put our tenants at the heart of what we do, and to provide high quality, affordable homes for the people of Preston and surrounding areas.  I’d like to thank the staff and tenants involved in the transfer and welcome all those tenants who join the CGA family from today; I hope they will be very happy in their homes and with CGA as their new local landlord.”

Making Our Website Accessible to All

Did you know that the CGA website has Recite Me? Recite Me is a “text to speech” tool with additional dyslexia friendly options and language translations.  It is designed to meet the needs of our customers who may have Low level Visual impairment, or dyslexia or for whom English isn’t their first language.

Recite Me provides translation to over 100 languages, readers can select dyslexic friendly fonts and adjustable colour schemes, for example dark font on yellow background, and the website can be presented in a text only view.  Customers can also download content via MP3 e.g. listen to later.

When you click the play button the web content is read out to users in a natural voice and readers can select male or female. The content can be read in different languages if selected. 

Thank You to Our Residents!

Last week, the Community Gateway team visited two of their independent living residents, Bill O’Shaughnessy and Patricia Shuttleworth, to say a big thank you for their generous wool donations to the newly created CGA Knitting Club.

The club, set up by CGA employees, Paul Fleming, Suzanne Mansbridge and Paula Lister, has been established as just one of CGA’s initiatives to improve employee’s wellbeing and received a great turn out on their first meeting.

The new group was mentioned to the residents at a community event, which prompted Bill, of Chapelford, to very kindly donate his late wife’s wool. When the team visited – he reminisced about stories of how she would make knitted dolls for the hospital that their daughter worked in and proudly displayed her cross – stiched pictures on his walls.

Bill said:

“I am happy the wool is being used at Community Gateway, my wife loved knitting and I am glad it’s being put to good use”.

Patricia, of Leyburn, also very generously donated some wool and upon visiting her to present her gifts, also donated an extra box of baby clothes for charity. 

PVC Business Support Officer, Kerry Stevens, attended the knitting class and told us how grateful she was of the donations:

 

“Wellbeing at work is so important and businesses are really starting to realise this now. This knitting class is just one step in the right direction - all the teams and I at CGA want to thank Bill and Patricia for helping us, it really reinforces that we are a community”. 

From everyone at CGA, we want to thank both for their generosity, all donations are extremely appreciated.

Together With Tenants

Community Gateway is delighted to announce that it’s working with the National Housing Federation as part of its “Together With Tenants” programme.

Housing associations like us, work really hard to create positive relationships with tenants and residents, while aiming to provide safe, decent and affordable homes. We can’t do our job properly without the input from our tenants and residents, as they let us know where we can make improvements, so we can make changes happen that will benefit and support whole communities as well as individuals.

We also think it’s important for tenants and residents to have a strong collective voice, which is why we support the A Voice for Tenants steering group and its aim to establish a national body for tenants. 

Early Adopter

CGA has agreed to be one of the first organisations to test out the Together with Tenants proposals 4 point plan once it has been refined following consultation.

The “Together With Tenants” draft plan includes 4 proposed actions:

1.    A new requirement in the National Housing Federation Code of Governance for boards to be accountable to their tenants and residents. 

2.    A new Together with Tenants Charter setting out what tenants and residents can expect from their housing association landlord. 

3.    Tenant and resident oversight and scrutiny of the charter, with a report on how their landlord is doing against the charter commitments. 

4.    A closer link with regulation.

We will be sharing experiences, findings and feedback

CGA recognised

A recent report from Shelter ‘A vision for Social Housing’ directly referenced CGA as ‘best practice’ around tenants having a voice in landlord governance and decision making. We are delighted that CGA’s contributions are being recognised.

Have your say

The National Housing Federation wants to know your views. To participate in an online questionnaire or get in touch, visit: www.housing.org.uk or call us on 0800 953 0213 for more information.

 

CGA Scores High at Best Companies 2019

Community Gateway has once again been recognised as one of the best organisations to work for by Best Companies, published in The Times Newspaper.

The national body, which acknowledges corporate excellence in workplace engagement, awarded CGA 16th place at their official awards ceremony held in London on 20th February, for best not-for-profit organisation in the country and we’re delighted for the extra special award around our positive wellbeing at work!

The award, which is regarded as the most searching and extensive research into employee engagement in the country, is determined through a voluntary survey from employees. This means this award is extra special to us, as our own employees have chosen to share their positive views around health and wellbeing, leadership and career progression in order for us to win!

Thank you to all of our colleagues who expressed their opinions – we couldn’t have done it without you!