News & Events

We are delighted to announce that with effect from 1 June 2020, South Western Housing Society and Tamar Housing will be known as the Willow Tree Housing Partnership. The two associations have formed a partnership that is governed by one board and executive team, which will generate efficiencies within the businesses to build resilience going forward. The Partnership will also share staff in order to deliver more effective services to our tenants and residents wherever possible going forward.

 

Over the course of the next weeks and months, Willow Tree will be tracking the progress of its joint endeavour and will seek to build evidence that the benefits of working in partnership can be measured against the key drivers set by the Board, which are: to create capacity for growth, to build business resilience, to maintain and improve customer satisfaction, and to deliver efficiency savings where it is reasonable and appropriate to do so.

 

The two organisations continue to retain their legal identities so tenants and residents will see no change to their contractual agreements. Likewise we will continue to use our registered names for contract and payment purposes, although from now our logo and all of our branding will be in the name of Willow Tree.

 

Donna Johnson, CEO of WTHP said ‘as our partnership grows and matures, we will keep you informed of any new ways of working and look forward to continuing to support all of our stakeholders to flourish alongside us.’

 

Andre Angelinetta. Chair of the Board also confirmed, ‘I believe that this is a great opportunity for the pooling of strengths from both organisations and together Willow Tree will be a strong partnership which will cope well with the future challenges. It will also provide increased opportunities for staff and greater efficiencies together with more housing.’

 

Please visit https://www.willowtreehousing.org.uk

HomesAtTheHeart campaign second week

This week the #HomesAtTheHeart campaign's second week of action is highlighting why homes are at the heart of making ends meet, and how investment in social housing helps people to have a decent and secure home that they can afford.

Willow Tree Housing provides a mix of tenures to help people access housing including social rent, affordable rent, Rentplus and shared ownership. At our Brent Knoll in Somerset site we even have our first outright sale homes under construction.

We have provided over 300 new homes in the last 5 years and have sustainable growth plans for even more homes!

The Coronavirus lockdown has been difficult for everyone, with space being even more important for people; whether that is for a home office space, or simply having enough room for the whole family to be inside, without feeling on top of each other. Our own build developments are built to the Nationally Described Space Standards, as a minimum, to try and ensure our homes as big enough for real family life.The campaign is calling for an ambitious plan for building 90,000 homes for social rent, matched by investment, to make sure many more people have the homes they need.

That's why Willow Tree Housing is supporting #HomesAtTheHeart and calling on the Government to make a once-in-a-lifetime investment in social housing and to put social homes at the heart of the plan for social and economic recovery following the Coronavirus crisis https://www.housing.org.uk/HomesAtTheHeart

During January, our Asset Manager – Neil Buckland, attended at the two-day National Housing Maintenance Forum Conference which was held in Birmingham. The conference covered many aspects relating to asset management including technical issues, sustainability, building contracts and other legal matters. The conference provided good networking opportunities with delegates in similar roles to Neil, also an exhibition enabling him to have discussions with product manufacturers. Neil is pictured here with Jonathan Case (right) of our consultants RAND Associates who carry out the periodic energy rating assessment calculation of the Society’s property stock, and provide some of our staff with training on Schedule of Rates for repair works.

SWHS staff have donated money collected from their weekly 'dress down days to 'In Charley’s Memory', a local Charity who do fantastic work raising awareness of mental health particularly in young people. 

Dawn Kirby SWHS Maintenance Officer, Alex Smith SWHSHousing Assistant and Daisy-Grace Westbrook, SWHS Business Support Assistant presented the cheque to Dawn Carey, Operations Manager for the Charity.

On the 6th and 7th November SWHS Operations Director, Martin Carney attended the National Smaller Housing Federations Conference at the Olympia in London. The event had been extended to two days from the normal one day following its success last year and has been moved to accommodate the ever increasing interest in the conference to the Olympia Conference Centre.

 

The event was a success although due to the forth coming General Election a number of key note speakers were unable to attend which was a little bit disappointing but understandable.

South Western Housing Society’s vision is to deliver more, in all aspects of housing, and for people who are not able to access the general market.

 

As part of this commitment, the staff team came together to plan and organise a ‘Giving Back’ day at the Weston Super Mare Night Assessment Centre (NAC); a project that delivers vital support to people who are street homeless.  

 

The Society have previously chosen the (NAC) as its charity to donate monies collected from its “dress down day”. This year the Society, with support from our contractor partners; Jones Building Group, Dale Building Maintenance, E G Carter & Co and Gregor Heating, upgraded the existing shower room, installed new shelving, provided lockable cupboards and painted the sleeping area. These works were completed in time for the NAC’s first birthday.

 

Liona, an NAC staff member fed back a ‘thank you so much for the shower!!!! What a difference it made to our clients last night! I think we will have to allocate times from now on as it was difficult getting them out last night! Thank you so much, I and the clients really do appreciate everything you have done.’

 

https://www.facebook.com/somersetlive/videos/1181060568758211/

 

On the 30th January our Operations Manager and Housing Assistant welcomed potential applications for our Wedmore Development to Wedmore Village Hall Open Event. The Operations Manager said 'we met lots of members of the local community and interest in the Wedmore Development was high, we have taken contact details for all and will be in touch once we have firm date for properties to be let'.

 

 

The Society, following a tender process, instructed for planned works to be carried out by G. Roles Fencing, for the replacement of fencing and garden gates at our properties in Stoke Fleming, Devon.

The works have improved the appearance of the housing scheme and has been complimented upon by a number of our tenants.

South Western Housing Society recently held their 75th Anniversary celebrations at the Bridgwater & Albion RFC. Monies raised through the raffle that took place on the day were donated back to the Rugby Club, a not for profit organisation, to help towards the upkeep of their premises. SWHS Corporate Services Manager, presented the cheque to Niki Taylor, Bridgwater & Albion RFC Admin & Events Coordinator.

The Society held its anniversary party on 10 July, celebrating 75 years of building affordable housing throughout the South West. It was a true celebration of the power of working in partnership for the benefit of others and was attended by tenants, partners and colleagues who have contributed to the successful running of the organisation since it first built homes for people made homeless as a result of the Second World War.

Councillor Gill Slocombe gave a moving testament to her father, who came to the Society as a Clerk of Works, moving into one of the newly built affordable homes on the Co-Op estate in Bridgwater more than 50 years ago. He helped to shape the quality and design of new homes, which led to Cllr Slocombe devoting herself to public service for the benefit of others.

The Society held a drop in session on Thursday 27th June at the Denbury Village Hall between 2.30pm and 7.30pm to provide information to applicants, possible new Society tenants and shared owners. SWHS staff members attended, along with Alan Fox, Managing Director of Rural Homes Limited. Also at the event were Tammy Hayes the Housing Solutions Lead at Teignbridge District Council and  Mary Ridgway the Housing Enabling Officer from Teignbridge District Council,  with  four Parish Councillors attending during the afternoon/evening.

 

The event was a great success with over fifteen households attending and the next day the applicants registered on Devon CBL.

 

A second event will be held on Thursday 14th November 2019, 2.30pm – 7.30pm at the Village Hall.

Steve Austen (Housing Officer) and Angela Derry (Business Support Administrator) travelled to Lapford, Devon to present a cheque to Lapford AFC as a contribution towards their new football kit. The club have two teams in the Devon and Exeter League and are proud to be celebrating their 100th year.

 

Pictured, Steve Austen is seen presenting a cheque for £250 to Nick Tucker, Club Chairman with Club Physiotherapist Rob Tancock