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Ocean’s wave of Energy Efficiency Works starts

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It’s all go on a programme of works for two families in Ocean Housing homes, as the scaffolding goes up in Foxhole and St Stephens. After installing new heating systems in over 2,000 of our homes over the last 18 years, we are now looking at how we can go one step further with our traditional ‘Cornish unit’ built properties.

Always looking at ways of improving the energy efficiency of our properties, Ocean Housing recently received Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Warm Homes Funding, to support us deliver our energy efficiency works, which will target properties that are difficult to heat.

We plan to insulate and renew the roofs & mansards, install external wall insulation to the ground floor elevations and upgrade the heating systems to 128 of their homes. No mean feat in the two year window we have set ourselves. Working closely with our customers, we hope to cause minimal disruption and ensure no-one need move out during the works.

Steven and Rachel Townsend, who live in one of Ocean Housing’s larger homes in Foxhole with their six children, will benefit from this work and said

We are very excited to be involved with the project and had no hesitation in saying yes when Ocean asked us”.  Works have already started in their home and should be completed by the end of April. “We are looking forward to a warmer home and more economical bills”.

Stephen Channing, Ocean Housing’s Project Manager stated that

Once completed, the difference these works will provide in terms of heating customers homes, the potential reduction in fuel bills and the external appearance of their home, will be very noticeable straight away”.

At present we plan to complete the programme of 128 homes over the next two years, but hope to expand the programme further in the future, if funding becomes available.

Being proud of the work we are doing to improve our customers’ homes, Ocean Housing will be sending out regular updates on the project via our social media channels, so follow us to track its progress.

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Ocean’s new Chair tables plans for Group’s future

On the eve of its 18th birthday, Ocean Housing Group has appointed its new Chair, education and leadership professional Debbie Wilshire, to take over the mantle from Dennis Spilsbury, who retired at the last meeting. Since Ocean took on the management of some 3,500 properties from the then Restormel Housing Trust in 2000, over £110million has been invested into those existing properties, and a further £144million into providing over a thousand new homes.

Ms Wilshire brings a wealth of board level experience to the growing Group of companies, which is headquartered in St Austell and employs over 240 local people across the parent group, construction company Gilbert & Goode and social landlord Ocean Housing. Her career has spanned legal studies, further education and the strategy and delivery of leadership and management, across Cornwall and nationally.

Mark Gardner, Ocean Group’s Chief Executive, welcomed Debbie to the role:

“I have seen first-hand the quality of Debbie’s contributions as Deputy Chair and Board  member and I am delighted at the prospect of working together to deliver the Group’s ambitions and continuing our positive impact on the Cornish economy.”

One of Ms Wilshire’s key priorities will be to take forward the Group’s new Corporate Strategy. This sets out the plans for 2018-2023, which will include 800 new homes of all tenures and an investment of £145million in new and existing homes. In particular, this will focus on improving the energy efficiency of Ocean’s stock and help its customers to keep warmer in winter.

Debbie Wilshire spoke of her passion for Cornwall, on taking up her new post as Ocean Group Chair:

“Cornwall needs housing providers that combine the business acumen to get things done, with the social conscience that cares about the people in each one of its homes. I am really looking forward to working with my very impressive Board colleagues and Ocean’s excellent Executive team. Together we will create innovative and customer-focused developments and services. As well as meeting the ambitions of those in housing need across the county, we will ensure a flowing pipeline of business for our supply chain partners.”

The Ocean Housing Group website includes more information about the plans outlined in this article and how you can get in touch:

www.ocean-group.co.uk.

Ocean Housing Group wins Training Award

Ocean Housing Group was recognised twice over for its track record on the training and development of its staff, and its commitment to apprenticeships at the Excellence in Business Training Awards event hosted by Cornwall College Business Training.

We were winner of the Outstanding Commitment to Training (Large Business) Award and runner up in the Outstanding Commitment to Apprenticeships (Medium/Large Business).

Mark Gardner, Group Chief Executive for Ocean Housing Group said

“It is great to be recognised for all that we’ve managed to achieve this year for learning and development across the whole group business.”

Staff at Ocean have benefited from its desire to be an employer of choice and Ocean has invested in training opportunities to the tune of £400,000 in the last five years.

This has been spent on skills training for staff and on educational qualifications. Ocean has run a number of training events for staff from IT skills to Understanding Mental Health. It has also supported staff to gain qualifications in Housing, Finance and Surveying, from NVQ level 2 and 3 to Degree level qualifications. Many staff have progressed from apprenticeships through to senior management roles.

Frances Turner, Managing Director for Ocean Housing Ltd explained

“We want to provide the support and opportunities for staff to achieve their full potential, by giving them freedom to try things out and do things differently and they are supported in that with the relevant skills and training.”

Ocean has worked in partnership with Cornwall College Business to take advantage of the last of the European funding available to provide Management skills training for its staff, providing CMI Level 3 and 4 qualifications. Ocean has also recently launched its own in house Leadership Programme called LEAP, run by IF Development, to help develop its current and future leaders.

Craig Rowe, Development Manager for Gilbert & Goode Ltd said

“I joined Ocean on a graduate placement scheme in the HR Team, before moving to Development as a Development Officer and have recently been promoted to Development Manager. Ocean has supported me in my professional Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor studies and I have benefited from a lot of in-house training too. I have really been able to build a career here at Ocean.”

Ocean are always keen to hear from anyone interested in joining our team who is innovative, ambitious and brave for the future and you can register your interest and receive alerts for job vacancies on the Ocean Housing Group website.

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Ocean Group Chair retires

This December, we bid a very fond farewell to our Group Chair, Dennis Spilsbury.

There isn’t much Dennis doesn’t know about housing after spending the last 55 years of his career in the industry starting at Plymouth City Council back in 1962. Dennis joined Ocean Housing in 2002 as a Neighbourhood Services Officer. At that time, he was told his time with us was just for a few weeks; little did he realise it would turn into nearly 16 years.

“The best part of the role was getting out and about, meeting and helping residents. No day has ever been the same in my job and that’s why I’ve loved it,” says Dennis.

From Neighbourhood Services, Dennis then joined the Ocean Board back in 2006 and took up the Deputy Group Chair role in 2009 followed by Group Chair in 2011.

Mark Gardner, Ocean Group’s Chief Executive said
“Dennis demonstrates everything that’s good about Ocean Group. His commitment to us and especially the promotion of tenant and resident involvement is second to none. He will be greatly missed.”

Everyone at Ocean Group would like to thank Dennis for his long service and commitment to continually improving the service we provide. We wish him and his wife Gloria, a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Back to School approach is a winner for Ocean

Ocean Housing brought a top national award home to the county this week after clinching the Best Partnership accolade at the Inside Housing Development Awards, at a glittering ceremony in London.

The Pras an Ferla scheme in Camelford, North Cornwall was the product of a creative and determined approach between lead partners Ocean Housing and Cornwall Council, in order to deliver much-needed homes in the market town and additional school places in nearby Indian Queens.

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