July

VPS Garden Advisors

Gardening Tips July

Garden Tips for July

10 Jobs to do this month

Thanks to the Grounds Maintenance team at VPS Grounds Services for this seasonal advice.

Thrive cracks down on anti-social behaviour in South Oxhey

Housing association Thrive Homes has successfully worked with police and the local authority to tackle anti-social behaviour in South Oxhey.

The Hertfordshire-based landlord has evicted a tenant from an address in Muirfield Road following complaints from numerous members of the public about noise disturbance, nuisance behaviour and suspected drug use at the property.

Possession of the property was taken last Wednesday (8th August) after Hertfordshire Police previously secured a Closure Order under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Thrive worked in partnership with Three Rivers District Council and Hertfordshire Police to gather evidence in support of the Closure Order. Once the order was issued by magistrates in March, Thrive sought possession of the property which was granted by the county court.

Keith Gilder, Relationship Management Lead at Thrive Homes, said: “Through close partnership working, we have taken tough action in order to protect residents from the misery caused by such anti-social behaviour.

“Local people have confirmed that the area is now much more peaceful and have spoken of their relief over the successful outcome of this case.

“Although eviction is always a last resort, we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour in our communities and will take the necessary action to maintain our residents’ quality of life.”

He added: “We would urge people to help in the fight against noise nuisance, domestic abuse, suspected drug use and drug dealing. Our teams are working closely with partner agencies to put a permanent stop to these crimes – and this recent eviction plays a significant role in achieving that.”

Councillor Roger Seabourne, Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships at Three Rivers District Council, added: “We have had enough and we won’t tolerate any kind of behaviour that threatens or intimidates our residents.

“This eviction shows that Three Rivers Community Safety Partnership means business, and sends out a strong message about our commitment to protect law-abiding residents from the relentless threats and disturbance caused by drug users. It is vital that all areas of the district are safe and accessible. I am glad to see that local residents are now able to enjoy their homes in peace.”

To report any issues of concern, people should call the non-emergency police number 101. If a crime or anti-social behaviour is in progress, call 999.

August

VPS Garden Advisor

August gardening tips

Garden Tips for August

10 Jobs to do this month

Thanks to the Grounds Maintenance team at VPS Grounds Services for this seasonal advice.

 

Three Rivers District Council Secures Closure Orders

Three Rivers District Council has been successful in securing two Closure Orders at an address in Mill End under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Three Rivers worked in partnership with Hertfordshire Police and Thrive Home to gather evidence in support of the Closure Orders. The Council, Police and Thrive Homes have received numerous complaints from members of the public reporting arguments at the address, suspected drug use and drug dealing, and noise disturbance from visitors.

The Closure Orders were granted at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Friday 10 August 2018 on two properties in Curtis Close, Mill End. No-one is allowed to enter either flat for three months and anyone who breaks the terms of the Closure Orders will face arrest. The Court decided that the tenants would not be allowed to remain in their properties.

Three Rivers urge their residents to help them in the fight against drugs and associated Anti-social Behaviour (ASB). They are working closely with partner agencies to put a permanent stop to these crimes. Securing these Closure Orders is a significant part of helping them achieve that.

Cllr Roger Seabourne, Lead member for Community Safety and Partnerships said: “We very much value our close working relationship with the Police and Thrive Homes. By taking this action to close these addresses, we hope to improve the quality of life for our local community and provide some respite from the behaviour that has caused such misery for neighbours. Three Rivers want local residents to continue to report anything of concern via the non-emergency number 101, or, if a crime or ASB is in progress to dial 999.“

Chief Inspector Nick Lillitou said: “Once again we have worked closely with our partners to take action against those who are causing misery for others living in the local community. I hope this sends a clear message that we do take these matters seriously and will continue to crack down on this kind of behaviour, using all means available to us. I would urge people who are affected by such behaviour to please report it so that action can be taken to provide a long-term solution.”

Keith Gilder, Relationship Management Lead at Thrive Homes added: “Thrive is committed to enabling thriving communities where people enjoy living, so we will take tough action to tackle nuisance behaviour which threatens residents’ quality of life.

Working closely with our partners on this case, we have responded to neighbour complaints and achieved a successful outcome for the benefit of the community so residents can enjoy living in their homes, free from this kind of anti-social disturbance.”

Thrive Homes select GCI to revolutionise their customer experience and deliver agile working

Converged ICT Services Provider GCI has won a substantial contract to support Thrive Homes’ agile working and transformation of the customer experience. Headquartered in Hemel Hempstead, Thrive has a portfolio of around 5,000 homes supported by over 70 remote and office based staff as well as 25 field-based operativesho work across Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.

A company which had already gained nationwide recognition for its dedication to customer service, Thrive outlined the need to keep pace with the changing preferences of the modern customer. They expressed a need to deliver more digital services to provide an omni-channel experience for their customers, as well as offering employees the ability to work remotely whilst ensuring that data was secure.

GCI will implement Skype for Business and GCI’s Cloud Contact Centre, which will enable seamless communication and collaboration between teams, open new channels of communication for customers, improve the quality of existing channels andnsure the highest levels of service across every channel through real-time, automated and historic reporting. GCI will also provide their tailored Skype for Business e-learning and analytics tools – UCversity and UC Analytics – to deliver flexible learning for Thrive’s staff via videos, online training courses and more, as well as providing comprehensive reporting on call quality, employee productivity and ROI.

John Stenton, IT Manager at Thrive Homes, said: “Finding a partner who understood the important role digital communication plays in enabling Thrive to provide secure, affordable housing in an efficient, modern way, was critical. GCI demonstrated this ability throughout the tender process by providing a solution that would allow us to offer new channels of communication to our customers, empower our employees to work remotely and improve service delivery.”

Simon Wilkinson, Public Sector Lead at GCI, added: “Thrive is a people-centric organisation whose key focus is providing much needed, good quality affordable homes across the northern Home Counties. We look forward to partnering with Thrive to implement these Gartner-recognised technologies, which will see more personalised, digital services delivered to its employees and customers.”

PRESS ENQUIRIES TO:

Linda Lowe: 01202 660 660 | Linda.Lowe@gcicom.net

ABOUT GCI

GCI is one of the UK’s leading Converged ICT Service Providers, with offices across the country from Poole on the South Coast to Glasgow. It provides a suite of managed services designed around five integrated technology pillars: Full IT Support, Unified Communications, Cloud, Security & Compliance and Network & Infrastructure.

GCI’s services and solutions are all about influencing positive business outcomes. They are designed to address customer challenges and support organisations on their journey through digital transformation to digital business. GCI provides a consultative service backed by more than 225 technical staff from its 500-strong workforce. Alongside its suite of end-to-end managed services, GCI also aspires to be synonymous with best-in-class Skype for Business Solutions, Contact Centre Solutions and Managed Services.

GCI is ISO 9001, 14001, 20000 and 27001 certified, and has multiple Silver, Gold and Platinum certifications including 8 Gold certifications for Microsoft alone. It is one of a handful of providers to manage its own Level-1 certified PCI DSS platform and is on 9 of 11 Public Sector Frameworks (RM1045).

ABOUT THRIVE HOMES

Thrive Homes is an award-winning Housing Association with a strong track record and ambitious plans for the future. It owns and manages around 5,000 rented and leasehold properties across Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, and prides itself on providing good-quality, affordable homes and services, enabling the development of communities where people enjoy living.

A “leading light” in Housing Innovation, and previously best in Public Sector in the “Top 50 Companies for Customer Service” ​, Thrive was ranked no. 73 in the national Best Companies listing for not-for-profit organisations in 2018.

Transforming our relationship with customers

In her latest blog, Thrive Homes Chief Executive Elspeth Mackenzie discusses the new ‘deal’ set to strengthen relationships and improve communications with customers.

These are exciting times for us at Thrive, as concepts that we have been evolving for a considerable period are starting to become a reality.

One change is our roll-out of the ‘Thrive Deal’, an agreement which clearly sets out our relationship with new customers, outlining their – and our – roles, expectations and responsibilities.

The ‘deal’ we offer is that we provide and keep their home in a safe condition and in return ask customers to respect, value and take care of it. The underlying principle, of course, is that people must take more responsibility for their housing. Our starter one-year tenancies offer an increased level of support to ensure customers understand what it takes to make a success of their tenancy.

This new approach includes us taking an inventory of each property and a record of its condition, so customers sign up to ensuring they maintain the quality of their home.

We will then conduct annual ‘Home Plan’ visits to check the property’s condition, see who is living there, understand how it is being used and identify any necessary repairs. These visits also enable us to pick up on issues, such as hoarding or DIY ‘improvements’, which might impair the accommodation’s long-term safety or that of an entire block of flats.

During the course of our new seven-year fixed term tenancies, the fifth year visit will involve more rigorous scrutiny of the property and will inform our final year conversation with the customer about their changing needs, plans and aspirations for the future – and how we might play a part in those.

These home visits will promote a healthier relationship with our customers, presenting an opportunity to have a more in-depth conversation with them about what it’s like to live there, specific challenges they may face and how we might work with them to overcome those challenges – all within the context of our ‘Thrive Deal’ agreement.

Better communication

This new deal is about us, as a landlord and a business, understanding our customers better, demonstrating that we value them and want their tenancies to work. In addition, it allows us to gather crucial information that could alert us to potentially serious issues.

Our regular one-to-one conversations during the Home Plan visits will enable us to collect anecdotal feedback not currently provided by our existing systems of resident engagement.

So, as well as encouraging a closer relationship with our residents, the Thrive Deal will help us build up a truer, more rounded picture of our homes – and flag up any problems early.

This is particularly pertinent in the post-Grenfell era, when there is a focus on housing providers’ relationship with customers and how we listen to them, thus ensuring we hear what they are saying so their concerns are highlighted and addressed.

The digital shift

As part of the Thrive Deal, we have recently launched our first digital tenancies where customers ‘sign up’ at the new property, share documents and agree to engage with us digitally through the myThrive app that enables customers to pay, check rent balances and report repairs.

I firmly believe we need not shy away from encouraging customers to engage with us in this way – in a world where so many people now conduct their banking, shopping and leisure activities online.

This digital shift is good news for customers too, making it much easier, simpler and more convenient to interact with us at a time to suit them, without the need to worry about transport to our office or the opening hours of our customer service centre.

From a business point of view, we have to be increasingly smart and appropriate in the way we communicate and gather customer insight – and this must include the shift to digitalisation, as we work to bring the housing sector into the 21st century.

June

VPS Garden Advisors

 

Tips for June

Garden Tips for June

10 Jobs to do this month

Thanks to the Grounds Maintenance team at VPS Grounds Services for this seasonal advice.

Drop-in service for people in crisis gets a helping hand in Aylesbury

A drop-in service for Aylesbury people in crisis has been given a helping hand from a local housing association.
Thrive Homes, which owns and manages a number of affordable homes in Aylesbury Vale, has donated £600 from its small grants fund to Aylesbury-based organisation Space.

Space provides support and care to people struggling during difficult times in their lives, such as relationship break-downs, depression, bereavement, unemployment, mental health problems or loneliness.

The Thrive grant will help fund the group’s drop-in sessions, which are run five times a week at various community locations in the area.

For people in need of more intensive support, Space can signpost them to other organisations for help and also offers an affordable one-to-one counselling service.

Project Coordinator Kate Lawton said: “At the drop-in sessions, people can just pop by, have a cup of tea and talk if they want to – there’s no pressure but sometimes people just need someone to listen and be supportive.

“We are very grateful for this grant because, like many other small community organisations, we struggle to find funding for what we do – but it really is a lifeline for so many people who don’t know where to turn in times of crisis.”

Space supported 171 people through 3,251 interactions – drop-in visits, counselling sessions and general support – between April 2017 and February 2018 alone.

Daryl Pereira, Engagement Business Partner at Thrive Homes, said: “Everyone goes through difficult times once in a while and it can make you feel very alone and isolated. But Space offers support and a listening ear in a caring, non-judgemental environment to help people through tough times.”

Thrive’s small grants fund awards sums of around £500 each to good causes in need of support, including charities, organisations and projects within the communities where Thrive operates.

The fund is part of the housing provider’s ‘Thrive GIVE’ initiative which aims to benefit communities and worthy schemes, bringing social value in a variety of ways.

Thrive GIVE (Generating Income for Voluntary Enterprises) includes the ‘Give Grants’ community fund, ‘Give your Time’ staff volunteering programme, ‘Give Support’ scheme which links charities with private sector support and ‘Give a Voice’ campaign to ensure customers have their say.

Furniture recycling charity gets cash boost from Hertfordshire housing association

A furniture recycling charity has been given a cash boost by a Hertfordshire-based housing association.

Thrive Homes has donated £500 from its small grants fund to Fresch (Furniture Recycling Scheme for Hertfordshire), which is based in Welwyn Garden City.

Fresch collects donated furniture and electrical goods to reduce the amount going to landfill, then sells it at an affordable price to people in need such as those on low incomes or women fleeing domestic abuse.

The Thrive grant will help the not-for-profit social enterprise continue running its services across Hertfordshire.

Manager Michael Gadeke said: “All the money we make on selling the furniture enables us to operate, and we try as much as possible to be self-sustaining. But a grant like this is a welcome boost and very much appreciated.”

In 2016/17, Fresch saved 40 tonnes of furniture from going to landfill, received 1,100 donated items which helped 900 customers, and clocked up 8,500 hours of volunteering to provide the service.

Daryl Pereira, Engagement Business Partner at Thrive Homes, said: “We are always keen to build strong links with the communities in which we operate and support local organisations doing great work to improve people’s lives.”

Thrive’s small grants fund awards sums of around £500 each to good causes in need of support, including charities, organisations and projects within the communities where Thrive operates.

The fund is part of the housing provider’s ‘Thrive GIVE’ initiative which aims to benefit communities and worthy schemes, bringing social value in a variety of ways.

Thrive GIVE (Generating Income for Voluntary Enterprises) includes the ‘Give Grants’ community fund, ‘Give your Time’ staff volunteering programme, ‘Give Support’ scheme which links charities with private sector support and ‘Give a Voice’ campaign to ensure customers have their say.

Community charity spreads the word to improve quality of life for Dacorum residents

A community support charity is being helped to spread the word about its work to improve Dacorum residents’ quality of life.

Hertfordshire housing association Thrive Homes has awarded £500 from its small grants fund to Community Action Dacorum, based in Hemel Hempstead.

Community Action Dacorum provides a range of support to the local community, bringing people together to achieve through voluntary service, strengthening communities and enhancing people’s lives.

The charity – which celebrated its 70th anniversary last year – supports voluntary organisations and community groups at the early stages of their development, provides services to help them grow and flourish, and runs various projects that support local individuals, businesses and community groups.

Thrive’s grant will be used to promote the charity’s Support4Dacorum project, which helps community organisations in the borough with matters such as funding advice, governance support, volunteer recruitment and networking.

Community Development Officer Loretta Anderson said: “We are very thankful to Thrive for this contribution to our work, as we are always keen to get the word out to promote what we can do for groups in the voluntary sector.”

Daryl Pereira, Engagement Business Partner at Thrive Homes, said: “Community Action Dacorum runs a multitude of projects and services, aimed at improving communities and making a real difference to people’s lives, so we are pleased to support their latest venture.”

Thrive’s small grants fund awards sums of around £500 each to good causes in need of support, including charities, organisations and projects within the communities where Thrive operates.

The fund is part of the housing provider’s ‘Thrive GIVE’ initiative which aims to benefit communities and worthy schemes, bringing social value in a variety of ways.

Thrive GIVE (Generating Income for Voluntary Enterprises) includes the ‘Give Grants’ community fund, ‘Give your Time’ staff volunteering programme, ‘Give Support’ scheme which links charities with private sector support and ‘Give a Voice’ campaign to ensure customers have their say.