1 Spring 2010 Creating Places Inside this issue: New homes for Newham Youth project continues A step on the property ladder and more...
2 We can face change with confidence.
3 Preparing for change an introduction by David Montague, L&Q Chief Executive At L&Q we are preparing for rising. UK gross mortgage lending is bad news for anyone thinking of change. In a few months time is increasing, but in mid November starting a home of their own, but we will face a general election. the banks raised mortgage rates a time of opportunity for housing Whatever the outcome the and introduced stricter lending associations. Why? Because we future is local, and whoever the criteria due to concerns that this are able to take a long term view chancellor is, public spending year s house-price recovery is not of the housing market and adapt will be reduced. What won t sustainable. In these conditions to changing patterns of housing change is the huge demand it is likely that house builders will demand. We build for rent, for sale for housing across all tenures, place very safe, very short and and everything in between. We but localism alone won t meet very long term bets, but medium borrow long, we retain and reinvest this demand. There are two term risk will be avoided until the our surpluses in our social mission other vital ingredients social market is easier to call. and we deliver locally. But the enterprise and partnership. question is, what do we deliver in Where does this leave us? In a That s where housing a world with little or no grant? market where high earners will associations come in, but what still have access to mortgage At L&Q we have set ourselves kind of economic conditions finance, the most vulnerable will the challenge of moving towards should we be planning for? still have access to cash limited a subsidy free development L&Q is seeing continued signs of social rented housing, and with programme. This might seem optimism amongst homebuyers in a huge and growing hole in like a tall order but now is the London and the South East, driven the middle. We face a chronic time to start that journey. How? by a belief that house prices are undersupply of new homes, which By developing new partnership and housing models with local authorities and house builders, driving efficiency, taking measured Bond issue raises 300 million risks and boosting our investment to support L&Q s growth capability. Everyone at L&Q is Tuesday 19th January 2010 saw L&Q s planned bond issue take working to two simple targets place and raised 300 million to help fund growth over the next maximising resident satisfaction five years. The debt will effectively cost 5.42% and is repayable in and boosting our financial strength, 30 years. not one in favour of the other, but both. If we look after our residents Within one hour the bonds had attracted 1.06 billion of and our bottom line, they will look demand from 46 investors, showing that the bonds were after us, and we can face change 3.5 times oversubscribed. with confidence. The bond issue s success means that L&Q starts 2010 in a very strong financial position. It also shows that investors see L&Q as an attractive proposition and that well-run housing associations can attract strong investment in their own right. Waqar Ahmed, L&Q s Director of Finance, says Good treasury management means spreading your risk and diversifying borrowings. Bonds offer long-term certainty: as a long-term social housing provider this is essential for our business. Our financial strength enables us to face new challenges and respond quickly to opportunities. David Montague, L&Q Chief Executive Read David s blog online at 3
4 New homes for Newham Continuing towards its goals of responsible growth and building mixed, sustainable communities, at the end of 2009 L&Q announced the completion of a 52 million development programme in Newham. In November 2009 L&Q completed a large development on Butchers Road in Canning Town bringing to an end its large scale Canning Town and Custom House regeneration project. Over the past three years L&Q has worked with Higgins Construction to build a total of 217 apartments and 39 houses spread across seven separate sites around the Canning Town and Custom House area. This represents a major element of the London Borough of Newham s regeneration of Canning Town and Custom House. The sites were all previously owned by Newham Council and many of the new properties have been allocated to local residents decanting from other sites in the Canning Town area where further regeneration is planned. The tenure mix is: 42% for social rent (107 homes) 26% for shared ownership (68 homes) 12% for outright sale (30 homes) 11% for the new L&Q rent-to-purchase product UpToYou (28 homes) 9% for intermediate rent (23 homes) The developments include a high number of large family homes: 5 three bed houses 27 four bed houses 7 five bed houses In addition, eight properties are adapted for occupation by wheelchair users. L&Q has worked closely with Newham Council on the design of the various schemes and three separate firms of architects were involved. Simon Baxter, Senior Land and Development Manager at L&Q, said, We have been working with Newham Council and local residents on this project since it was originally tendered in 2000 and we are very proud of the final results. Not only have we created some visually striking blocks of flats here, we have also built a high number of well-designed large family houses. Feedback from residents who have already moved in has been very positive and this scheme is a shining example of L&Q continuing its mission of creating places where people want to live. The total scheme cost is 52 million. Funding for the scheme included a 21.5 million Social Housing Grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), a 4.3 million investment from L&Q and a mix of private investment. Jonathan Martin, Head of Area for East London at the HCA, said: This development will deliver high quality affordable housing and contribute to the wider regeneration of Canning Town, a priority area for Newham. The HCA s funding has enabled the provision of an extensive range of housing options to give local people the widest possible choice. Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said, Canning Town and Custom House is firmly on the road to regeneration and renewal. This mixed communities initiative, offering a range of good quality, affordable housing, is a sign of the great benefits of the area. L&Q s seven sites at Canning Town & Custom House Butchers Road Garages Architects: BPTW Partnership Crediton Road Architects: Sergison Bates Fords Park Road Architects: BPTW Partnership Butchers Road Architects: BPTW Partnership Rogers Road Architects: Jestico & Whiles Tarling Road Architects: BPTW Partnership Vandome Close Architects: Jestico & Whiles 4 Find out more about L&Q s regeneration work at
6 Music project supported by Big Lottery Fund L&Q s South East Neighbourhood Investment team has received Big Lottery funding to enable a community music project on the Horn Park Estate in Greenwich to continue for another three years. The Neighbourhood Investment team s work involves taking an active part in the development of community initiatives and activities. Over the last three years they have been involved in setting up resident associations, played an active part in the Horn Park Community Forum, helped to organise community events, consultations and meetings with young people, and run a motorbike project for young people in the Horn Park area. The music project aims to support a group of young residents through the use of live drumming, vocals, electronic music making, rapping, recording and mixing. L&Q had previously run the project as a pilot, funded through Greenwich Council s Youth Opportunity Funding. The pilot proved to be a great success not only with the young people that took part but also with the wider community on the estate. Due to this success L&Q applied to the Big Lottery Fund to ensure the long term continuation of the project. Mary Rouse, L&Q s Neighbourhood Investment Co-ordinator, explains the project s success: It provides young people from the area with the opportunity to engage in a positive indoor activity on a weekly basis where currently there is no centre-based youth work provision. A large proportion of the young people are not in education, employment or training. This project provides them with an opportunity to develop skills such as project management, communication and interpersonal skills whilst doing something they enjoy. CD s and concerts Up to 30 young people take part in weekly music sessions where they practice percussion, mixing, vocals and recording. They have the opportunity to create CDs of their music and perform at the end of each term to the local community. Through the project a recording studio has been built within the community centre which participants have access to throughout the week outside of the weekly session. Five young people involved in the project will set up a management group to take responsibility for it. This will involve developing policies and the project programme and identifying and applying for further funding to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project. The future for Horn Park The Neighbourhood Investment team is currently looking at how L&Q can assist and support some of the particularly talented young people in gaining arts awards. L&Q continues to work closely with residents, TARU (Transforming Arts Regenerating Understanding) who operate the project, Greenwich Council s Integrated Youth Support Service, the community association that runs the community centre, The Horn Park Forum, and the local police in order to identify opportunities for new projects and to support existing ones. Mary adds, This project sets an example to the local community of what young people are able to do when they can positively channel their energy. Through this project we are able to improve community cohesion and encourage improved behaviour and participation from young people on the estate. The results so far have been extremely positive and we look forward to continuing our work on the Horn Park Estate. 6 Watch a short film about the music project at
7 An example of what young people can do when they can positively channel their energy. 7
8 Now is the time for housing associations to deliver. Sian Jenkins, (pictured left), 50, from Bermondsey is a fashion retail manager. After more than a decade of renting in London Sian knew the time was right to buy a place of her own. Sian was attracted to the unique layout of the apartments at Bermondsey South, an L&Q development in Southwark, and chose a top floor two bedroom penthouse to be her new home. Sian had registered with housingoptions.co.uk and found out about these homes when she received a flyer from L&Q through the post. Sian is really happy in her new home. Sian says: I get emotional just talking about it. The process of buying was hugely simple; there was always someone to ask for advice. I felt there was a light at the end of the tunnel making me more motivated about my life and job. I can relax now and have my friends over for dinner. I feel a huge freedom which is very important to me. 8
9 Getting a step on the property ladder Although shared ownership has gone through various transformations and product names over the years it has actually existed in its fundamental form for nearly 30 years. It all began in the early 1980s as a way of helping people onto the home ownership ladder, enabling them to purchase part of a property and pay rent to a housing association on the rest. Shared ownership is now known as part buy, part rent through the product New Build HomeBuy. As Government appointed Homebuy agents for London, L&Q and Metropolitan Home Ownership (MHO), operate and manage housingoptions.co.uk, the one stop shop for affordable housing in London. As part of this role they are responsible for marketing affordable home ownership products and new initiatives to customers in London. For nearly 30 years shared ownership has proved a popular choice with customers and during the current financial climate it is the only way for many to make the first step onto the housing ladder. Nic Bealey, Director of Strategy, Marketing and Sales at L&Q, explains the reasons behind its popularity, Shared ownership promotes sustainable mixed communities, and social mobility and helps people meet their home ownership aspirations. From an industry perspective shared ownership is excellent value in terms of grant investment and cost efficiencies. Plus as a housing association we have the ability to invest the surplus generated by sales to cross-subsidise more social housing. From the customer s point of view it is not only an affordable product but a flexible one. At L&Q we have seen an increase in the amount of customers who buy extra shares in their property, known as staircasing, when the time is right for them moving into complete home ownership. Moving forward we expect the demand for shared ownership to increase. There is a growing market of customers who have no priority with social rent but cannot afford the higher equity stakes required by shared equity models, particularly as house prices rise again. There is a clear demand within this market for affordable home ownership products and opportunities. Now is the time for housing associations to deliver more for this market. HousingOptions quick facts HousingOptions launched on 1st April 2006 and has been appointed by the Government to continue the service from 1st April 2009 until 31st March 2011 HousingOptions processes on average 3,880 applications from potential homeowners each month HousingOptions manages a database of in excess of 240,000 applications Since 2006 nearly 1.5 million unique users have visited Over 9,800 HousingOptions applicants have moved into a home since 2006 Average monthly HousingOptions enquiries have increased by almost 12% over the last year Over 5,000 Londoners attended the 2009 London -wide HousingOptions show to find out more about affordable home ownership. This was a 500% increase on 2008 attendance For more information visit 9
10 How L&Q is involving its residents Engaging with our residents is central to L&Q s mission of creating places where people want to live and will help us to improve the quality of the services we deliver. Mike Donaldson, L&Q s Director of Resident Services, explains, We recognise and welcome the contribution of our residents in influencing and shaping services. L&Q is committed to ensuring that residents continue to have their say on how we manage their homes and provide services and remain at the heart of what we do. L&Q s resident involvement priorities: Providing a range of opportunities for residents to be involved and consulted, which will lead to service improvement. Empowering our residents to influence decision-making. Providing resources and training to support our residents to become more involved. Ensuring our governance structure strengthens accountability and improves transparency to residents. Increasing resident satisfaction through more involvement and consultation. Promoting resident engagement in our neighbourhood investment activities. Ensuring that residents have equal opportunities to get involved and taking active steps to engage with hard-to-reach and vulnerable residents. Recently L&Q s South Neighbourhood launched a roadshow to increase the profile of resident involvement work in the area. A team of L&Q staff from various departments set up an outdoors vintage style living room in a marquee at three estates to meet with residents. Matt Corbett, L&Q s Neighbourhood Investment Manager for South London, explains, We wanted to do something quirky that might make people stop and talk to us. L&Q staff often visit residents at home we wanted to turn this on its head and invite residents to our L&Q living room, literally on their doorstep. This project is an innovative way to engage residents in the places where they live. It will give us some valuable feedback on how residents view where they live and what services they would like to see. It will also lead to increasing the number of residents involved through our 10 ways to get involved. It will give us information to drive forward services in our local areas and ensure they are meeting residents needs and wants. Feedback from the roadshows has been positive. Lambeth resident John Cameron said, It s been a great opportunity to meet not only L&Q staff but some of my neighbours. We ve talked about ways to keep our estate well maintained and also rounded up some other residents who are interested in a summer project for the children. 10 View a film of L&Q residents talking about resident involvement at
11 10 ways for residents to get involved at L&Q Individual Resident Feedback Residents can give feedback in a number of ways: they can write to us, , call us, register their comments via our website or visit their local office. Mystery Shoppers Residents who volunteer to check and monitor our services. Estate Champions Residents who get involved in carrying out regular estate inspections either on their own or with L&Q staff. Focus Groups One off groups set up to focus on specific issues. Steering Groups Unconstituted groups usually formed in response to issues identified within a specific local area. Surveys & Questionnaires Residents are either randomly selected or targeted to offer feedback on key services. Resident Associations Elected and fully constituted groups reflecting the collective views of their local communities. Resident Panel Residents are consulted and give feedback on policies and procedures, service reviews and new initiatives. L&Q Governance: L&Q Board, Resident Board, Neighbourhood Committees, Forums For residents who would like to take on greater responsibility in shaping and improving our services. Communications Forum Residents can comment on Homelife, our residents magazine. L&Q is committed to ensuring that our residents continue to remain at the heart of what we do. 11
12 Mortgage rescue latest As part of its involvement in the Government s mortgage rescue scheme, L&Q has recently completed the first fast track mortgage rescue case in London. Fast track differs to mainstream mortgage rescue in that the lender works proactively to identify suitable applicants rather than applicants being in great difficulty before they themselves seek help. The case, once passed to a housing association, is completed in 30 days. This first case was a family of four in Bexleyheath, South East London, who due to a loss of income had gone more than 5,000 into mortgage arrears. Their lender identified the family as suitable for mortgage rescue and referred them to the Homes and Communities Agency s mortgage rescue fast track team. David Gannicott, Group Director of L&Q s South Region, said: L&Q is committed to practical action to help those most affected by the current state of the housing market. We are pleased to be a part of a scheme that offers a secure home for people facing the threat of being homeless. For more news from L&Q visit the website Creating Places magazine online Did you know that you can sign up to Creating Places online if you prefer to be ed the magazine? Creating Places has its own dedicated section on the website offering a range of exclusive content from videos to interviews. You can also find all the latest news from L&Q on the website, including business announcements and local news from your area. Visit the news section of the website for more. L&Q Osborn House Osborn Terrace London SE3 9DR Tel: Fax: L&Q is an exempt charity If you have any comments or queries related to this issue please contact the editor, Alice Williams at Design: