Environmentalists blog – Tpas awards 2017

We’re trying a new style of blog this month! Okay, so it’s not much different, in fact it’s only one syllable different but here’s a special vlog update from our Environmentalists following the Tpas Awards 2017. See if you can spot a special guest appearance at the start of the video!

We took an iPad with us on the day and took some shots of the group – sorry if some of the interviews are a bit quiet!

We also took some lovely photos on the day, too many to share all of them but here’s my personal favourite.
Tpas awards 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure you watch out for our April vlog at the start of May.

James Smith, Engagement Officer

£1.8 million investment into local property maintenance

South Yorkshire Housing Association has extended its contract with building services company J Tomlinson to continue providing stock investment services until 2019.

Over the next two years J Tomlinson will carry out £1.8 million worth of upgrades, programmed repairs and investment work at the housing association’s properties across South Yorkshire.

Carmelle Sampson showing staff from SYHA and Tomlinson around her new kitchen

Carmelle Sampson showing staff from SYHA and Tomlinson around her new kitchen

The new contract includes boiler installations, as well as kitchen and bathroom refits – all of which will be carried out by the J Tomlinson repairs, maintenance and regeneration teams.

SYHA’s investment reflects the organisation’s commitment to developing the standard of their properties and providing customers with a home they are proud to live in. The decision to extend the contract was taken based on excellent feedback over the past year, with work carried out on kitchens and boilers receiving a 99% customer satisfaction score.

Mike Fisher, Senior Property Services Officer at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “We are delighted to have offered a contract extension to J Tomlinson following the successful completion of a programme of works over the past three years.

“Their teams have always acted professionally and represented SYHA brilliantly – we’re pleased that we’re able to use their skills and expertise in these areas to carry out improvement work in our customers’ homes. It’s clear from our customer satisfaction surveys that they are very happy with the quality of the work they carry out.”

Antony Newton, Regeneration Director at J Tomlinson, said: “J Tomlinson has worked on kitchen and bathroom replacements for South Yorkshire Housing Association properties since September 2014 and we are very pleased to have secured a two-year extension to continue the renovation and improvement programme being undertaken by the organisation.

“Our teams have wide experience in refurbishments of this type, and it is always pleasing to receive a contract extension, as it is an endorsement of the work already completed to date. We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with SYHA and to improving residents’ homes by updating and installing new kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems.”

To find out more about our investment in our properties visit our planned works page.

Tender opportunity – designing our new office space

We are embarking on an ambitious plan to transform key elements of our business practices including changing how we use our office space, not just in Wellington Street (our head office) but across our estate (we have small offices in 17 other buildings). Part of our Transform Strategy is to bring our brand to life and communicate SYHA’s purpose and values through our new ways of working and our office space provides a fantastic platform for this.

We have planning permission for changes to our Wellington Street office and have agreed layouts for the interior of the building. But we have yet to develop the detailed design and a look and feel of the interiors and the external works.

The complete refurbishment of our Wellington Street office is planned for 2018/19 but in preparation we intend to introduce new ways of working over the next 12 months. This will include adopting the proposed furniture layout and testing out our storage requirements. We also want to improve our offices outside of Wellington Street so that these can be used more flexibly and help us accommodate some of our Wellington Street based staff whilst the refurbishment takes place.

In parallel we are commissioning architects to advise on the layout of our offices outside Wellington Street. The architects will be expected to work closely with the designer we commission for this piece of work including advising on the robustness and appropriateness of finishes, furniture, fixtures and equipment.

The aims of this commission are therefore to:

  • Articulate SYHA’s brand values.
  • Develop the design language for our office space interiors to project and give physical expression to our brand.
  • Reflect our organisational development offer, supporting spaces for wellbeing, learning, growth and innovation.
  • Use the design thinking to inform the specification for our Wellington Street refurbishment project.
  • Capture the proposals in a design guide that can be used to inform future changes and maintenance and maintain a strong brand identity over time.
  • Engage SYHA employees in the thinking behind the design and brand so that they understand and protect them over time.

Tender for this job

There are two parts to the tender submission:

  • Written response to the brief and evidence of your track record in this area
  • Presentation to the selection panel

The following minimum information will be required for the written submission:

  • Your proposals as to how you would carry out the work requested:
    • How you would work with SYHA and its employees to develop design proposals
    • An example design guide/indication of how you would approach this
    • A critical path timeline with indicative timescales for delivery of key milestones.
  • Up to three examples of relevant projects that you have previously undertaken/pitched
  • Brief CVs of key personnel to be involved in the project
  • Fee quotation outlining the resources you will provide for that fee. NB our maximum budget for this commission is £15,000.

The above shall comprise no more than 10 x A4 sheets in total (or equivalent).

Deadline

One hard copy of the submission is to be sent to arrive no later than 12pm on 26th April 2017 to:

Helen Garside,
Office Space Project Coordinator,
South Yorkshire Housing Association,
43-47 Wellington Street,
Sheffield,
S1 4HF

To help explain what we’re after in more detail we’ve put together a briefing document which also doubles as a quotation form for the job. In the document you’ll find everything you need to know about what we’re looking for, useful background information as well as the timetable for delivering this piece of work. We’ve also put together a document with our initial thoughts on what the job might entail but this is not an exhaustive list.

You might also find copies of our corporate SYHA and LiveWell brand guidance useful when putting together your application.

Contact us

If you’ve got any queries about this tender please email Helen Garside at h.garside@syha.co.uk

Age Better in Sheffield Innovation Fund 2017

Got a genuinely innovative idea to reduce isolation and loneliness in Sheffield?

The Age Better in Sheffield programme is underpinned by a ‘test and learn’ approach, and we’ve created the Innovation Fund to respond to this learning each year. The Innovation Fund invests in inventive and exciting ideas, which try out new ways to reduce isolation and loneliness in Sheffield.

Thank you for your interest in the Age Better in Sheffield Innovation Fund 2017/18 tendering process.  On this page you will find the following documents…

  • The Innovation Fund tender specification – download here.
  • The Annex for the tender specification (the application) – download here.

During the development of the procurement process for the Innovation Fun 2017/18, a number of sessions were held with the sector to understand some of the principles of design thinking and understand the impact that the programme has had so far.  You can find presentations and information from all of the sessions that were held below:

  • Age Better in Sheffield presentation – view here
  • Events Project document – view here
  • Collaboration presentation – view here
  • Introductory presentation – view here
  • The R.A.D idea – view here
  • Storyboard – view here

We’re also asking that all bidders review the evaluation that is applied across all of the Age Better in Sheffield projects as we’ll be asking successful bidders to commit to administering the evaluation.  You can find details of the evaluation here.

We’ll publish any clarification questions that we receive for everyone to review.  An up-to-date log of any clarifications can be found here.

We look forward to receiving your bids.

Environmentalists blog – March 2017

With the weather finally perking up, the Environmentalists came out of their Winter hibernation and held their first litter pick of 2017 on 10th March, and as always there was a great turn out.

The estate was certainly in need of Spring clean after our winter break, and it was great to see everyone working hard and full of enthusiasm. The difference the children made in just one day was unbelievable.

Environmentalists

We were delighted to welcome our latest adult volunteer, Julie Barber to the litter pick. Julie is an SYHA customer and shares Freda’s passion for the environment. She is really interested in recycling and will be a great asset to the team, and the children welcomed her in true Environmentalist’s style. Julie has already committed to helping Bob with recycling runs to the tip and I’ve never seen someone litter picking so hard passionately – I had to confiscate her litter picking grabbers when we’d finished as she just wanted to carry on!

It was really pleasing to see so many mums and dads joining their children to give us a hand. Word about the group must be spreading as we even managed to recruit three new children members to the group just whilst walking round the estate. They’re due to start next week when we’ll also be welcoming back some of our regular members from last year.

Environmentalists fleeces

We’re really looking forward to getting stuck in over the next few months, and it looks like we’ll have over 20 children and around 8 adult volunteers litter picking each week.

Whilst the group has been off for the Winter I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to find new opportunities for the group for 2017. I had a few really productive meetings with Wayne Munro-Smith who is project lead for the Rotherham Love Where You Live team. Wayne seems to be the man who can make all the Environmentalist’s dreams come true. He’s committed to helping us to provide some litter bins and no littering signs on the estate, and we talked about lots of other exciting developments which we’ll be able to tell you about in the next few weeks so watch this space.

Environmentalists litter pick

Finally, we were delighted to find out that we’ve made it through to the final of the T-PAS (Tenant Participation) Awards 2017, and we’ll be taking some of our adult volunteers along to the Hilton Hotel in Manchester on the 7th of April for the awards ceremony. Wish us luck and keep your eyes peeled for a special awards ceremony update!

The next blog that I write will have a slightly different look to our previous ones as we’re going to start doing a vlog (a video blog) so we can show you more of the different things we’re up to. Until then I hope you make the most of the longer days and nicer weather, and if you’d like to get involved with the Environmentalists, or indeed set up your own local group where you live please do just drop me an email at j.smith@syha.co.uk

James Smith

Engagement Officer

Meet our apprentices

This week (6th to 10th March) is National Apprenticeships Week, so we’re celebrating our amazing apprentices and their achievements at SYHA.

Apprenticeships are a great way to gain valuable work place experience whilst working towards a qualification. University or college isn’t for everyone, and the best bit about an apprenticeship is that you’re earning as your learn!

We’ve currently got six apprentices working in areas across our business from IT and Customer Services, to our Home Maintenance Team and Property Services. Apprentices are an important part of our organisation. They bring new ideas, fresh ways of working and enthusiasm to our business.

To make their time with us as rewarding as it can be, they aren’t just making tea, they’re doing real work and gaining practical skills and experience.

Our apprentice programme has been a real success so far, with eight former apprentices now working at SYHA in new roles since finishing their apprenticeship.

We asked our apprentices how working with us has helped develop their career.


Jenni Anderson, Customer Connection Apprentice

Jenni started her apprenticeship with us back in August 2016. She found out about the role via a text we sent to all our tenants advertising the new role.

She was initially planning to get back to college but her mum suggested our Customer Connection Apprentice role for her and she applied – and we’re glad she did!

Jenni has been working with our Customer Service and Customer Engagement teams, and has done lots of work with our Customer Improvement Panel. We asked her how she has found the first six months of her apprenticeship:

“Aside from it really helping build my confidence, I’ve learnt a lot about working in an office environment, social housing and the issues currently facing lower income families in the UK. More practically speaking, I’ve had the opportunity to take an active role in helping plan events for tenants, filming and documenting these events, and getting to know and help tenants on an every day basis. It’s a really varied role, with no two days the same.

“One of my favourite parts so far would have to be helping with the Christmas Carol Concert held by some of the children in one of our neighbourhoods, where they performed for some of our resident groups. The people and the atmosphere are so lovely, and it’s wonderful being secure in the knowledge that we’re contributing to help people better their lives.”


Kane Kehoe, ICT Service Apprentice

Kane started his apprenticeship on 10th October 2016. He has lived in Sheffield his whole life and was studying video game development at Peaks College for a year before deciding it wasn’t for him. He then went from job to job, but none of them were really things he wanted to pursue a long term career in.

He had always been interested in IT and was looking for an apprenticeship to build his skills, gain some experience and get his foot in the door with a company. Sheffield City College forwarded his CV onto us and here he is!

We asked Kane how he is finding life at SYHA so far:

“I’ve only been here around five to six months but I’ve learned so much in my time here. Working in IT there’s a lot to learn every day, not only the technical side of my job but even just dealing with different types of people with different problems. My customer service skills have definitely improved since working here, from interacting with so many different people every day, over the phone and in person.

“If you’re thinking about an apprenticeship definitely go for it, you’ll not regret it. SYHA is a great place to work, the people are friendly, there’s always something that needs to be done, and new things to learn and experience. It’s a place where you can take pride in what you’re doing, no matter what it is.”

“The people I work with in Computer Services on a daily basis are all great people and always willing to lend a helping hand if I’m struggling with something, but also everyone else working here at SYHA, they’re all friendly welcoming people who make working here as enjoyable as it is.

SYHA is by far the best place I’ve worked so far, no day is the same and I’m learning so much all the time, it’s a great place to develop your skills and get some experience in whatever it is you’re interested in.”


Dan Morton, Systems Development Assistant

Dan started his apprenticeship with us back in August 2012 as a Database Systems Apprentice. He found out about the opportunity on the Government’s apprenticeship website, applied and five years later he is still with us!Dan Morton

He started working on database administration, learning new skills and applying the theory learnt whilst studying for a Level 3 Course in IT Uses for Business. After spending a year with us as an apprentice Dan was in the perfect position to apply for a new role that came up in our Computer Services team and got the job thanks to the experience he had built up over the previous year.

Dan’s development didn’t stop there, as part of his new roll he enrolled with University Centre Doncaster to complete a HNC in ‘Computing and Systems Development’. He would attend the course one day a week alongside his current role passing with flying colours once the two year course ended. Dan has already identified his next training goal. He aims to be certified as an Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate in the near future.

We asked Dan what advice he would give to someone thinking about starting an apprenticeship with us:

“Go for it! You’ll be working in a friendly and challenging atmosphere with a pay rate that is very competitive with other apprentice roles. There are always development opportunities to go for and you will be constantly learning new things from people from a variety of backgrounds. I have found having the mix of studying and practical experience to work great for me as it has enabled me to put in to practice the work I have completed at college and university.”

We’re really proud of Dan, and he deservedly received the Sheffield ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award after completing his initial one year apprenticeship.

 


Mollie Slingsby, Customer Liaison Apprentice

Mollie started her apprenticeship in our Customer Services team back in August 2016 after leaving school. She was looking for an apprenticeship but didn’t want to do a conventional college course or A-Levels, and was pointed in the direction of the SYHA apprenticeships through college. Mollie Slingsby

In her role Mollie deals with customers on a daily basis, answering enquiries, dealing with complaints and acting as the first point of contact for the organisation which is a huge responsibility.

We asked Mollie how she found the first six months of her apprenticeship:

“With no past experience working, my role has given me a better, more accurate insight into the work place and helped me to build confidence, which I didn’t have before starting work.

“I would recommend to anybody doing an apprenticeship with SYHA as it is such a nice environment to work in. The people you work with are always so willing to help and provide support as well as making you feel like a valued employee.”

Career Ready – Tafadzwa’s story

We often hear from people applying for roles at SYHA that work experience is hard to come by. That’s why we’re excited to be able support projects like the Career Ready programme at Longley Park Sixth Form College in Sheffield.

Pete and Tafadzwa on their final day together

Pete and Tafadzwa on their final day together

Career Ready supports students who are applying for university or looking to gain practical work experience. Every year we invite a student to come and spend some time with us, and last year we were delighted to welcome 17-year-old Tafadzwa to work with us for four weeks.

We teamed Tafadzwa (or T for short) up with our Neighbourhoods Team Leader, Pete Jepson, who acted as T’s mentor throughout his time with us and shared his vast experience of working in housing.

T was in the process of applying for an architecture course and wanted to learn more about the processes linked to designing buildings. Pete arranged for T to spend time working with our Development Team to find out more about how we build new homes and the role architects play in the process.

To make sure T could document his time with us, Pete also arranged for him to spend time with our Marketing Team who helped T with his personal statement application for university.

He shared some amazing stories with us about his upbringing in Zimbabwe and how at the age of six, he built his first building – a coop to protect his chickens. Since then he has been fascinated with building design. What a fabulous reason to get into architecture!

To round off his time with us, T got stuck in at a garden clearance with our NEAT team, helped organise a basketball tournament for local children with our friends at the Sheffield Sharks, and even came along to our kick start meeting for our WikiHouse pilot.

Since spending time with us, T has also held a short art exhibition at the Bank Street Art Gallery in Sheffield showcasing some of his work.

T getting stuck in with our NEAT team

T getting stuck in with our NEAT team

We asked Tafadzwa about his time with us, he said:

“I’d like to say thank you to Pete, he has been a great mentor and he really took me under his wing. I know so much more about the processes in architecture, but also about a work place environment. 

“What I’ll take away from my experience is that when designing a building, it’s not just a design, you have to think about who is going to live there and what they want.

“I’d recommend the Career Ready programme with South Yorkshire Housing Association to anyone. I didn’t just sit and watch what was going on, I was given lots of opportunities to get involved in exciting new projects.”

T sent in his application to Leeds, Sheffield, Hertfordshire and Nottingham Universities and we’ve got our fingers crossed that he gets in!

Pete said: “I’d like to wish T all the best with his career, he was a great person to work with and hope to see him come back to SYHA as a qualified architect in the future.” 

“The programme is something I love being involved in, and I’m already looking forward to working with a new student this year.”

South Yorkshire Housing Association make Best 100 Companies list

For the second year running, South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) has been named as one of the Sunday Times Best 100 Companies (Not-For-Profit) To Work For.

The housing association, which has 6,000 properties across South Yorkshire and employs over 550 people, placed in 40th place on the list, up 22 places from 62nd last year. SYHA also placed in 20th in a separate Best 25 Housing Associations list, up five places from last year.Best 100 Companies

On top of the listing, the organisation has also maintained our Best 100 Companies 1-star accreditation status which represents outstanding levels of employee engagement.

This is the fourth time SYHA has featured on this list since 2013, with their overall score increasing every year.

The list is compiled based on detailed feedback from staff at every organisation surveyed. The ‘B heard’ survey asks staff for an honest assessment on a range of topics, from what they think about leadership, managers and their team, to rating their wellbeing, personal growth opportunities and how engaged they feel.

South Yorkshire Housing Association was recognised for enabling staff to shape their own training, as well as the various opportunities to develop as an individual.

Tony Stacey, Chief Executive at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “I am delighted that we continue to do so well on staff engagement. We all know that a happy workforce, who believe in where the organisation is going, is essential to provide the best possible services for customers and to grow our business.

“The announcement also comes hot on the heels of our Investors in People Gold award which strengthens our belief that our people see SYHA as a friendly place, driven by strong values and are empowered to do the best work of their lives.”

“The award is a fitting testament to the amazing work being done by staff across the organisation on a daily basis. I’d like to thank each and every one of them for making us one of the best places to work in the country.”

If you’re interesting in working with us at SYHA, why not take a look at our current vacancies by clicking here.

People living in Barnsley need a 26% pay rise to afford to buy a home

The average full-time worker in Barnsley now needs a staggering pay rise of 26% just to afford a mortgage on a typical home in the region, a new report from the National Housing Federation reveals today.

According to the ‘Yorkshire and the Humber Home Truths 2016/17’ report, those earning any less than £29,809 a year are now priced out of buying the average home in the area.

Despite regional house prices being lower than the national average, the combination of low wages, an above-average unemployment rate and job insecurity is resulting in an acute housing crisis in the area.

Local salaries have failed to keep up with house prices, meaning the average home in Barnsley – costing £130,413 – is now over five and a half times the average yearly income of £23,670.

The report also exposes the severe shortfall of new homes in recent years. Between 2011 and 2015, there were over 37,000 too few homes built across Yorkshire and the Humber to keep up with demand, while cities like Sheffield were nearly 7,000 homes short.

The housing association sector is working to end the region’s crisis, completing nearly 1,800 new homes and starting work on over 1,600 more during 2015/16.

Tony Stacey, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “The message is simple – we need to build more homes in our region. Homes that are genuinely affordable and offer different types of tenure, whether that is to buy, rent or shared ownership.

“We’re a relatively small organisation, but we’re doing our bit to help. We’ve got plans to build 1,180 new homes in our region over the next five years, but with the planned Government cuts to the Local Housing Allowance, this will undermine our entire development plan at a time when housing associations are perfectly placed to ramp up supply.

Jo Allen, the National Housing Federation’s External Affairs Manager for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “It is clear that Yorkshire and the Humber is suffering from an acute housing crisis and these truly distressing stats simply reaffirm that fact – we simply must get building more genuinely affordable homes.”

To read the Yorkshire and the Humber Home Truths 2016/17 report in full visit www.housing.org.uk/hometruths.

People living in Doncaster need a 40% pay rise to afford to buy a home

The average full-time worker in Sheffield now needs a staggering pay rise of 40% just to afford a mortgage on a typical home in the region, a new report from the National Housing Federation reveals today.

According to the ‘Yorkshire and the Humber Home Truths 2016/17’ report, those earning any less than £32,500 a year are now priced out of buying the average home in the area.

Despite regional house prices being lower than the national average, the combination of low wages, an above-average unemployment rate and job insecurity is resulting in an acute housing crisis in the area.

Local salaries have failed to keep up with house prices, meaning the average home in Doncaster – costing £142,189 – is now over six times the average yearly income of £23,161.

The report also exposes the severe shortfall of new homes in recent years. Between 2011 and 2015, there were over 37,000 too few homes built across Yorkshire and the Humber to keep up with demand, while cities like Sheffield were nearly 7,000 homes short.

The housing association sector is working to end the region’s crisis, completing nearly 1,800 new homes and starting work on over 1,600 more during 2015/16.

Tony Stacey, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “The message is simple – we need to build more homes in our region. Homes that are genuinely affordable and offer different types of tenure, whether that is to buy, rent or shared ownership.

“We’re a relatively small organisation, but we’re doing our bit to help. We’ve got plans to build 1,180 new homes in our region over the next five years, but with the planned Government cuts to the Local Housing Allowance, this will undermine our entire development plan at a time when housing associations are perfectly placed to ramp up supply.

Jo Allen, the National Housing Federation’s External Affairs Manager for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “It is clear that Yorkshire and the Humber is suffering from an acute housing crisis and these truly distressing stats simply reaffirm that fact – we simply must get building more genuinely affordable homes.”

To read the Yorkshire and the Humber Home Truths 2016/17 report in full visit www.housing.org.uk/hometruths.