Community Investment Strategy

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1 Community Investment Strategy

2 Introduction Sanctuary Group is one of the largest providers of housing and care services in the UK. We are a not-for-profit organisation and reinvest our surplus income into developing services, providing new accommodation, improving our properties and investing in people and communities. This strategy sets out our approach to community investment in order to add value to communities by supporting residents to deliver the changes they want to see in their neighbourhoods. By doing this we can support communities, enhance the lives of local people and help to create places where people want to live and work. What is community investment? Our reasons for investing in communities Community investment refers to the money, time, skills and expertise we invest in developing and supporting communities. It goes beyond our core service provision and recognises that successful neighbourhoods depend on a complex balance of social, economic and environmental conditions. Who will benefit from our investment? Our residents and the communities in which they live are the intended beneficiaries of our investment. We aim to support a wide variety of people from diverse backgrounds and with different personal circumstances. This includes residents who may be harder to reach, including those with disabilities, the elderly, lone parents, young adults, people from minority ethnic backgrounds and those with specialist support needs. Equality is something that we take very seriously and this lies at the core of all our services, including community investment. We like to celebrate diversity within our neighbourhoods by supporting projects and people who have great ideas for bringing the community together. Sanctuary works with a number of different communities, each with its own needs and unique characteristics. They include the geographical communities in the areas where we own housing, as well as the communities of people who live in our care homes, supported housing schemes and student accommodation. Sanctuary works at the heart of communities which makes us well placed to help drive positive change. We believe that we have the skills and resources needed to complement those already present within our diverse neighbourhoods so that, together, we can help make a difference. Community investment is a natural extension of the activities we carry out as part of our core business operations. These include housing management, the delivery of care and support services, partnership working, resident involvement and service improvement. Supporting communities is also one of our core values. Our values Not-for-profit The Group operates under a not-forprofit umbrella, with any surplus being reinvested into the provision of affordable housing, the maintenance of existing properties, and the development of new services for customers. Quality services We aim to provide quality services. We set the highest standards and focus our efforts on achieving them. Supporting communities Our remit is not just restricted to providing and managing accommodation. We aim to support the communities in which we operate by creating opportunities for residents. Long-term We do not run our businesses or provide services for shortterm financial gain. We are providing accommodation and services from birth to old age. Environmentally aware We try to think sustainably. We want to be a responsible business and to limit our impact on the environment. Financially robust Like all organisations we have to live within our means and ensure we are financially strong in the short, medium and longterm. Good governance We aim to ensure that our governance frameworks are transparent, fair and accountable. Good governance and responsible stewardship are key to our success. Resident focused We are committed to providing opportunities for residents to play a key role in shaping the work of the organisation from regional forums through to Group Board. 2 3

3 Joining the dots Our priorities Sanctuary Group is an umbrella organisation for a number of successful business streams. This strategy applies to all parts of our business. We intend to ensure that we are joining the dots between the different parts of our operations so that we deliver value for money and make the most of the opportunities which are presented to us. Affordable housing lies at the heart of our business. We own and manage general rented, retirement living and shared ownership accommodation across England and Scotland, with regional operations based in the communities in which we operate. We supply cost effective facilities management and accommodation services to health workers and students, working with NHS Trusts, universities and colleges. In order to focus our investment and direct our resources to where they are most needed, we have identified five priority areas for funding: Employment, education, skills and training Health and wellbeing Community safety and infrastructure Environment Financial inclusion We provide a range of care services and accommodation, including care homes, home care, and extra care. We help people to remain independent for longer and provide support in secure and comfortable surroundings. We offer a wide range of flexible repairs and property maintenance services to businesses and organisations nationwide. We have a proven track record in delivering a first-class and professional service, with a UK-based customer service centre open 24/7, 365 days a year. Supported Living We deliver support and housing services for people with a variety of needs who require additional assistance because of illness or disability or because they are experiencing a crisis in their lives. This includes accommodation for families, refuges for people fleeing domestic violence, specialist housing for disabled people and Foyer schemes for young people. 4 5

4 Our priorities Employment, education, skills and training We aim to support residents in developing skills and accessing training opportunities in order to enter into, and sustain, employment. Increasing access to pre-employment support. Assisting job seekers to find employment. Supporting skills development and training opportunities. Providing employment and volunteering opportunities. Supporting work placements and work experience. Helping to remove barriers to work. Developing opportunities for self employment. Working with schools to increase educational attainment. Our priorities Health and wellbeing We aim to support residents to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives, with access to the care and support services they need. Providing opportunities for social interaction for those who are lonely or at risk of isolation. Supporting those in recovery from addiction. Helping people to live independent lives. Facilitating access to counselling, peer mentoring or other forms of emotional support. Increasing access to affordable and healthy food. Providing access to local sports facilities and activities. Providing support for those with specialist needs. Hackney STEP Sanctuary has teamed up with social and environmental regeneration charity Groundwork London to help out-of-work Hackney residents into employment. Hackney Skills Training and Employment Programme (STEP) is identifying barriers to employment and helping connect unemployed local residents with job opportunities. Through the project, unemployed people can access mentoring, NVQ qualifications, CV building, basic skills training and interview advice. Football and Fitness Sanctuary s Football and Fitness programme delivers sports and activity sessions for young people in areas where Sanctuary operates. It engages young people in sport by providing wider access to football and fitness activities. The scheme is delivered in conjunction with The Football League Trust and local football clubs and aims to increase young people s participation in sport and help develop their skills and confidence. It also provides access to accredited courses and training. 6 7

5 Our priorities Our priorities Community safety and infrastructure We aim to ensure that our communities are safe places to live and are equipped with the infrastructure they need to shape their aims and aspirations. Developing long-term, resident-led models of community development. Helping community centres to develop financially sustainable models of operation. Supporting community groups to provide essential services. Assisting in the establishment of social enterprises. Facilitating community information sharing and communication. Supporting the provision of projects and activities designed to reduce antisocial behaviour. Celebrating and rewarding community participation and volunteering. Supporting crime reduction initiatives. Addressing digital exclusion. Creating and improving physical spaces for play and interaction. Environment We aim to make our neighbourhoods greener and cleaner places in which to live and to assist our residents to live more sustainable lifestyles. Encouraging the reduction of waste through recycling and reuse. Supporting the better use of outdoor spaces. Assisting communities to reduce their carbon footprint. Facilitating more sustainable transport choices. Helping people to keep places and spaces attractive and well maintained. Supporting projects which promote more sustainable resource use. My Barrowcliff Sanctuary has supported My Barrowcliff, a project which aims to improve the quality of life on the Barrowcliff estate in Scarborough. The initiative brings together a number of organisations who are working with local residents to address their key issues and priorities. A new three-year strategy for the estate s future has been developed by residents and partner organisations and will focus on tackling issues ranging from jobs and training to environment and crime. EARTH, Ely Sanctuary has funded independent horticultural charity, EARTH, to develop a wildlife haven in the High Barns area of Ely. EARTH is an independent charity based in Cambridgeshire which works with people with learning disabilities to provide them with the opportunity to acquire horticultural skills through training and work experience. The funding paid for improvements to the area, as well as the purchase of bird feeders, a nesting box and a webcam so that users of the Larkfield Day Centre can engage more closely with the natural world around them. 8 9

6 Our priorities Financial inclusion We aim to ensure that everyone is able to access the basic financial services products that are needed to participate in a modern society. Helping residents to maximise household income through welfare and benefits advice. Facilitating access to affordable credit and budgeting advice. Supporting programmes aimed at developing financial confidence. Helping to reduce fuel poverty. Facilitating digital inclusion to enable access to online banking and financial services. Helping to sustain those in low paid employment by removing financial barriers. Assisting residents in accessing appropriate debt, banking and financial product advice. Informing our investment In deciding on our five priority areas, we have taken into consideration a number of factors. These include: What our residents have told us, including which issues are important to them. The needs of the communities where we work, based on available socioeconomic data. Our own information, including housing data and resident satisfaction surveys. Where we feel we can make a difference, based on our skills and experience and those of other partner organisations. Our approach Hull Families Project Sanctuary has funded The Hull Families Project, an independent charity which helps families facing difficulty or crisis, to work with residents in Hull to offer financial support and advice. 67 Sanctuary residents are participating in the programme and receiving tailored one-to-one support to help them get their finances back on track. The project aims to provide assistance on a range of issues including budgeting, reducing financial stress and repaying debt. Sanctuary owns and manages around 94,000 units of accommodation across England and Scotland and our aim is to ensure that every resident, wherever they live, can access and benefit from the support we offer. In some places, the properties we own are dispersed over a wide area and we will not be the largest landlord in the neighbourhood. In these communities we work with local partners to ensure that we can support the ideas and aspirations of local people. Where we have concentrated areas of stock, we have an even greater opportunity to invest strategically in neighbourhoods, working with partner organisations to increase our capacity to make a marked difference

7 Success factors We want our community investment to help create successful and sustainable communities. In order to achieve this we have identified a number of success factors: Listening to our residents and communities to find out their needs and aspirations. Continual improvement through a process of reviewing our impact on communities and revising our approach where necessary. Attracting investment from external sources for the communities where it is most needed. Partnership working linking in with specialist organisations to ensure that communities have access to the best expertise. Innovation finding better and more creative ways of working with communities. Empowering enabling communities to shape their own solutions. Legacy thinking long-term and creating enduring and evolving outcomes. Relationship building with communities, local partners and strategic organisations to help deliver better outcomes for our residents. Context being aware at both a local and national level of the policies, priorities and pressures that can affect delivery. Investment Sanctuary has an annual budget for community investment which is set each year by our Group Board. This is used to fund projects and initiatives in the communities where we operate. Within this budget we provide a number of funding opportunities for individuals, groups and organisations. These range from our popular Grand Ideas Fund, which offers up to 1,000 for local projects, to support for larger initiatives through our central community investment fund. We also allocate funding to residents living in certain areas, such as our Cherish Cherwell fund, for people living in Cherwell District in Oxfordshire or Maureen s Gift which is open to residents living in Rochford, Essex. Up-to-date details about current funding opportunities are published on our website: Our aim is to achieve value for money by using our investment to leverage in additional resources. This helps to make our money stretch even further and ensures that projects and programmes become sustainable in the long-term. Our objective is to match our funding by 100% so, for every 1 we invest, we aim to attract a further 1 from external sources. Delivery 12 We want to ensure that we are successful in supporting residents and communities through our community investment strategy. Establishing appropriate structures for delivery is a central part of this. We aim to ensure that the maximum amount of investment is delivered directly to benefit communities, rather than being diverted into management costs or overheads. In order to achieve this, we have established a central community investment team, led by the Group Head of Community Investment and Sustainability. The central community investment team works closely with the Neighbourhoods Director and regional partnership leads to ensure that our national community investment activities are aligned with local priorities. This is achieved through regional action plans which ensure that we are delivering the outcomes which communities want to see. Overall responsibility for ensuring that Sanctuary is delivering its objectives rests with the Group Board. 13

8 Measuring and monitoring Reporting Sanctuary will measure and monitor the success of its community investment strategy to evaluate performance across the short, medium and long-term. We use the London Benchmarking Group (LBG) model (www.lbg-online.net) to evaluate the outputs and impacts of Sanctuary s community investment. Each year, LBG provides independent assurance that we are measuring our investment in line with the model. We believe it s important to be open, transparent and accountable. To this end, we will report on our community investment expenditure annually as part of our corporate reporting processes. Publicity is a key part of informing people about the work that we do and we will provide details of the communities and projects we are funding. This will include information and case studies on our website about the initiatives we are involved with. Inputs Outputs Impacts How? Why? Where? Cash Time In kind Management costs Charitable donations Community investment Commercial initiatives Community benefits Leverage Number of people supported Third party contributions Geographic Business location impacts Business benefits Number of employers engaged Community impacts How beneficiaries lives have improved Improved retention and morale Some of our funding opportunities Grand Ideas Fund Sanctuary s Grand Ideas Fund offers up to 1,000 to groups which need financial support to help deliver activities within their local community. It is designed to support as wide a variety of projects as possible and is open for applications from charities, community groups and voluntary organisations. Moneybox The Moneybox Fund provides grants of up to 500 for the benefit of residents in Sanctuary owned or managed schemes. This includes housing, supported housing, care homes and student accommodation. Applications are invited from individuals, resident groups or scheme managers. What? Cause Evaluation How to apply for funding If you would like more information about how to apply for funding, please get in touch by ing: We will also commission an independent evaluation of our strategy and our key projects to assess the effectiveness of our approach and to inform future community investment activities. Or by writing to us at: Community Investment Team Sanctuary House Chamber Court Castle Street Worcester WR1 3ZQ More details, including funding criteria and the forms you need to apply, are available on our website:

9 This strategy can be translated into other languages, large print and Braille or recorded onto an audio CD. Please contact the Sanctuary Group office below for details. Sanctuary Group Chamber Court Castle Street Worcester WR1 3ZQ Tel: Fax: Sanctuary Group is a trading name of Sanctuary Housing Association, an exempt charity Registered office: Chamber Court, Castle Street, Worcester WR1 3ZQ Registered as a provider of social housing with the Homes and Communities Agency No. L0247 Industrial & Provident Society No R Published: April 2013

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