Ocean Housing celebrated the completion of 24 homes at Coburg Terrace and Wheal Concord Way, Blackwater on Tuesday 24th April. The scheme, built by and developed in partnership with our sister company Gilbert & Goode, provides 12 affordable rent and 4 shared ownership homes for local people, as well as 8 open market properties.
Residents came together to see the development officially opened by Councillor Andrew Mitchell, and enjoyed coffee and cake with neighbours and representatives from Cornwall Council and Ocean Housing.
Completed in October 2017, the scheme proved extremely popular; with all the rented properties allocated immediately and most of the shared ownership and open market homes sold off plan.
Resident, Beata Prudnikow told us
‘We had lived for years in private accommodation and the conditions were poor. The phone call offering us a house was life changing for us all; we absolutely love our new home.’
Ocean Group Chief Executive Mark Gardner said
‘This development is a fantastic example of providing community within a community; one bed flats to four bedroom houses ensure that the sustainable development complements the popular village of Blackwater’.
The Ocean Group is working with Cornwall Council across the county to provide homes that meet the needs and aspirations of Cornish families. Homes are currently being provided from Penzance to Lanreath near Looe, with over 1,000 homes being built in over the next 5 years.
As part of #HousingDay, we invited customers to tell their stories.
We had two real life stories from Jan Faulkner, our customer and Tenant Panel Chair (on right in photo), who gave us an insight into day to day experiences of our services, from a customer’s point of view.
Here is Jan’s 2nd story #RealPeopleTrueStories:
“It always happens when it’s least convenient, and a Friday evening is one of those times.
The hot tap in my kitchen would not turn off and when the flow of hot water suddenly increased I panicked and got wetter.
I rang the emergency number who advised me to turn the water off at the stop-cock, and they would call Ocean staff to report it for me.
About 15 mins later I received a call and they told me that someone would be there to sort the tap out.
Within the hour my tap was isolated and the problem found. Then the water supply restored to the rest of the house. They replaced the tap washer on the following Monday, and things returned to normal.
It may seem like a small problem to many, but when your health impacts on how you cope it is a huge relief when someone takes that problem and resolves it for you. Everyone involved from the call center to the young man who fitted the washer were polite, respectful and kind while helping me during my emergency.
On 18th September, we celebrate #HousingDay on social media to try and raise awareness of the positive impact the Housing Sector has on people’s lives, especially with the latest report that Housing Associations relieve the pressure on the NHS.
Our Ocean Extra team gave us an insight into a regular day, supporting our vulnerable customers:
“Tracy has been dealing with a vulnerable person who lives on his own and is socially isolated because of his mental health condition and appearance. He always greets her with a smile and accepts all her help with real gratitude. That’s because, without her intervention, he would have died of malnutrition.
Yesterday, she was visiting another client when she came across Nigel in the corridor who’s neck had spasmed, literally stopping him in his tracks. Nigel’s disabled partner was unable to help him move. Tracey helped him there and then but also went on to liaise with the NHS to ensure his Parkinson’s medication was adequate.
Jan has assisted with a coffee morning activity at Prince Charles House which brings tenants and people from the community together. During that weekend this group raised £355.17 for Little Harbour Children’s Hospice.”
All in a day’s work. Thanks ladies for your insights.
Ocean Extra also deliver a Lifeline service and have asked their customers recently if they were satisfied with the service. Their feedback was heartwarming. You can click on each one to view it larger.
The start of August saw six fresh faces arriving at St Austell-based Ocean Housing Group Ltd to take up their apprenticeships.
Skills and Employment
Ocean has now supported over 100 local people to complete apprenticeships and gain skills and employment in Cornwall and is looking forward to working in partnership with Cornwall College to train these latest recruits.
Daisy Herdman shared her excitement at gaining an apprenticeship place:
“Carpentry was a trade I had been dreaming about, so it’s a great opportunity and a dream come true!”
All the apprentices will now benefit from an intensive period of induction to help them settle into their new roles.
Mark Gardner, Group Chief Executive spoke of his passion for creating career pathways for local people:
“Ocean wants to be an employer of choice and create training opportunities for people and our apprenticeship programme is a key part of this and is always very competitive to secure a place.”
The apprentices embarking on their new career are:
Apprentice Carpenter for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)
Apprentice Electrician for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)
Apprentice Plumbing & Heating for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)
Apprentice Business Administration for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Customer Services)
Apprentice Business Administration for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Neighbourhood Services)
Apprentice Plumbing & Heating for Gilbert & Goode Ltd
Ocean takes on apprentices each year and anyone interested in an apprenticeship at Ocean, the next applications will open in April 2018, so keep an eye on www.ocean-group.co.uk/apprenticeships.
Today, we’ve been celebrating #HousingDay on social media to try and raise awareness of the positive impact the Housing Sector has on people’s lives.
One of our Customer Accounts Advisors has put into words how she feels about her work:
“People often think of social housing as cheap housing for people who can’t afford the private sector.
What is missing from that is the tremendous amount of support that we offer to people to make their tenancy a success.
One of the aspects I find most satisfying is helping people through their first tenancy or with a fresh start. They may be walking away from abuse or just starting up and it can be terrifying. You don’t get that support in the private sector and seeing tenants grow and become happy in their new home is fantastic.
I am very lucky to meet people before they become Ocean tenants and work with them throughout the first few months of their tenancy helping with things like Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, benefits generally and budgeting.
Giving people the tools to turn their lives around and become independent is immensely satisfying and its lovely to speak to people a few weeks into their tenancy and hear that just having a new home has made all the difference.”
Ocean were looking for a unique way to mark the big occasion – to celebrate the completion of their 1,000th new home in Cornwall for local families – so we invited the school children of Connor Downs Academy to rise to the challenge.
The unique idea chosen was to turn the 1,000th home into a house decorated with pictures of local scenes or people painted by Connor Downs’ children along with prints of some of the world’s best known pictures, including The Mona Lisa.
As part of the official opening, by Ocean’s Group Chairman, Dennis Spilsbury, guests entered the 1,000th home and were greeted by a wonderful sea of art from the local children within the one off ‘Art House’. Continue reading →
The Ocean Housing Development team are delighted to receive an LABC award for ‘Best Housing Development’ in recognition of the high standards and quality of build delivered by the team and construction company, Gilbert & Goode.
This is a highly respected endorsement, further attesting that Ocean’s strategy is paying off – that it is possible to provide quality and affordable homes for the people of Cornwall who have been steadily priced out of the market in the area where they grew up.
When one of our Tenant Panel members, Roy Collison, heard about #HousingDay #ProudTenant, he jotted us an email telling us of his most recent #proudtenant moment.
We’ve published his story below because we felt it just goes to show how the Tenant Involvement team have empowered him to take control and resolve a situation that was affecting his community – rather than walking away and letting someone else deal with it. (Warning – don’t read this if you are eating your lunch!)
Residents, staff and dignitories enjoyed a cuppa and a pasty around the new communal picnic tables and benches at Hawkins Road, Newquay, last week.
Ocean with the help of Hawkins Road’s residents hosted an event to celebrate the installation of the new furniture in their communal area outside the block on Thursday 5th November. A number of residents and their children turned out to thank Ocean for the new improvements to their living area which is part of an ongoing programme of planned improvements to the block.
“The residents here are so pleased with our new benches and picnic tables and we are so grateful to Ocean for providing them. We will really enjoy using them”, beamed Nancy Moody.
“It’s been a lovely afternoon with the local residents and we have enjoyed using the new outdoor furniture whilst drinking tea and eating pasties together”, concluded David.
The residents in the block of flats owe these new welcome additions to Ocean’s ‘Treasure Chest’ fund.
“Ocean’s tenants can apply for funds through our Treasure Chest Scheme to help them host community events, street parties and various projects within their neighbourhood. Hawkins Road’s new furniture is a great example of how Ocean’s Treasure Chest is used by our residents to unite them with others in their community”, added David Renwick, Ocean’s Group Chief Executive
We hope the residents of Hawkins Road will enjoy many more such events, bringing together the community.
With a week to go, the creator of #HousingDay Adrian Capon gives 11 reasons why we need it now more than ever:
#HousingDay is a national 24-hour social media event to celebrate the positive impact of social housing on thousands of tenants and those working in UK housing.
In 2014, it produced thousands of tweets and participants, while reaching millions of people. This year’s event is on 18 November.
1.Like never before housing is a political hot potato
Without a strategic vision for housing across all tenures, we will not solve the housing crisis. A new government ambition to support people into homeownership is welcome. But what about those for whom ownership will only ever be a pipe dream? #HousingDay provides a voice to all.
2. Where will the poor live?
This question keeps appearing in my Twitter feed and, as far as I know, there is no definitive answer. Unless this is satisfied, we should not give up on trying to solve the housing crisis. We need to listen to the needs of under-represented groups – those marginalised for no fault of their own. On #HousingDay we can at least try to do this.
Last year’s #HousingDayresearch carried out with Ipsos Mori painted a picture of a British public favourable towards social housing. By five to one they agreed rather that social housing plays an important role in tackling poverty but many remain oblivious to the types of people who live in our homes. Housing organisations’ wider work in local communities is critically important. This year, as part of the National Housing Federation’s Community Impact Week, we can showcase the valuable work we do in all parts of the country and reach out to a wider audience.
housing day chat banner
5. Finding stories
Like last year, we’re finding stories which can help celebrate, educate and remind the wider public why social housing really does matter. And in some small way chip away at what social housing is all about and tackle perceptions.
6.Putting tenants at the heart of #HousingDay
This year’s focus on #proudtenant is about residents sharing experiences of how their lives have been positively impacted upon. Tenants who have tirelessly volunteered to be more involved in services have already made a positive and potentially life-changing impact to thousands of people.
7.Tenants are people
We should not forget our tenants are people and #HousingDay is about making sure their voices can be heard. Tenants have talents that can be harnessed to help improve services and enhance the lives of other people. We need to have trust in the tenant approach. Tapping into more human authenticity without a corporate gloss is what this should be about.
8. Tenant voices in the spotlight
I don’t believe we give over enough attention to cover the impact of government policies on our tenants. I would urge all housing organisations to be more representative and ensure the views of their own tenants are heard. #HousingDay encourages tenants from a variety of backgrounds to shout about what they do and what they think about services and policies. #HousingDay supportsTPAS who are looking for up to 50 people to find a strong voice.
9.Connecting tenants together
One of social media’s biggest strengths is its unparalleled ways to reach out, to engage in two-way conversations and connect people with each other. My ultimate aim is to create a springboard for further tenant networking and campaigning. The hashtag #HousingDayChat can create a regular conversation to build momentum, trust and consistency. In future, this will be organised by tenants themselves – a networked community.
10. Tenant power
This year tenant power echoes much about what we’re trying to achieve with #HousingDay. It’s also been echoed by blogger Bessy Banks’ #30daysofhousing campaign. On day 6, Bessy wrote:
“Finding our own voice and speaking to others in common is very powerful. There must be some way and necessity to collect and share these voices, to seek out and involve the involved residents in estates and neighbourhoods in cities, towns and villages the nation over. We have so much in common and the ability to share. There are many people doing great work in scrutiny who must have a voice too. I suppose the theme I am seeing is a movement of #tenantpower and a reclaiming of some of the confidence we seem to have lost.”
11. Get involved on 18 November with #HousingDayChat and beyond
I’m urging everyone to get involved on 18 November in whatever way they can. We’re looking out for tenants to participate in a second #HousingDayChat, 8-9pm. This is a great opportunity to tune into what tenants are saying and to ask questions. We can also celebrate some of the day’s highlights and discuss where we can go from here.