Goal: Engage in community activities
"To invest a minimum of £500k of people and cash resources annually in our local communities measuring the outcomes of community initiatives that demonstrate the best social value return."
This goal complements our prime affordable housing role as a landlord, working with our local authority partners to meet their housing needs. We recognise that it takes more than homes to build successful communities.
During 2015-16 the Community Investment strategy is being fundamentally reviewed to include the role of RHG in a ‘dementia friendly’ society. Each year we aim to start new community development projects that respond to community needs identified with our partners, making best use of our combined resources.
An example of this is the development of the Friends of Jubilee Gardens, a local group established to support the usage of the new pocket park.
The needs are identified as part of our regular liaison meetings, particularly within the Wychavon area where we participate in the strategic and local town partnerships.
The Board approved a new Community Investment and Financial Investment strategy in November 2013 which sets out our priorities for future investment, and how we will measure the impact.
What we have done
1: Provide two positive activities for young people (2012-13)
Rooftop has a very active Young People Service, which specialises in housing and supporting young people in crisis throughout South Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. This project responds to the needs of young people in the wider community. In 2012/13 several themes are being followed for events and activities mainly in Evesham. As of March 2013 this project is complete.
2: Opportunity Vale of Evesham (2010-14)
The Wychavon Strategic Partnership developed an ambitious four-year project, Opportunity Vale of Evesham. The project, which was funded with £420,000 from the first LAA reward grant, provided help to the Vale of Evesham’s hardest pressed communities. The project was targeted at around 1,440 households living in eleven areas in the rural wards of Badsey, Broadway, Harvington and Norton, plus parts of Evesham. Opportunity Vale of Evesham aimed to improve skills and confidence, reduce fuel poverty and improve health within these communities. An end of project evaluation has ben produced that summarises its impact and identifies the key learning that will be the project’s legacy. The next phase – the Rural Community Programme will focus on good practice in service delivery in rural areas. The project will develop a pilot community trust approach to sustainable services.
3: Community projects (2013-14)
In 2013-14 we have invested in a range of community projects including:
- Working with the Friends of Jubilee Gardens to organise activities in the new park. The group which supports community use of the park have raised a further £1,500 towards new play equipment.
- Running a series of walkabouts across our neighbourhoods – with locally agreed action plans to improve local areas. We have 40 residents acting as community voices working with housing officers to tackle local concerns.
- Set up a training fund of £16,000 for young people to help them with funds to support them as they attend college and training.
- Continued to work with the Opportunity Vale of Evesham project on a model for stronger rural communities, looking at the role of volunteers and parish councils locally.
- Invested £25,000 and worked alongside services providing intensive support to families who have complex needs.
- In 2012/13 we spent £27,500 through our Community Fund on local projects and community improvements. In 2013-1 we allocated £24,500 to projects which include providing support to residents with mental health issues; a project to benefit young people who require support with schooling and a local community orchard. In 2014-15 e spent £28,155 on projects including an art therapy project for people with disabilities, local playgrounds, youth centres and uniformed groups and a community shop.
4: Customer Panel Action Plan (2014-15)
The three main areas covered by the plan were:
- Improving services – residents were fully involved in continuous monitoring of the performance of the repairs and maintenance service and also looked at how Rooftop allocates homes
- Neighbourhood and community with the main outcome a review of the neighbourhood walkabout programme
- Improving resident involvement – the Customer Panel improved their reporting to other residents through a regular article in our newsletters and by attending community events.
5: Resident Events (2014-15)
The theme for the Resident Events which were held during 2014–15 was financial and digital Inclusion, investment in local communities and celebration of Rooftop’s 20 years birthday.
6: Customer Panel Action Plan (2015-16)
The three main areas covered by the plan are:
- Improving services
- Neighbourhood and community
- Improving resident involvement
7: Resident Events (2015-16)
The theme for the Resident Events which will be held during 2015–16 are financial and digital inclusion, and investment in local communities.
8: Community investment strategy review
During 2015-16 the Community Investment strategy is being fundamentally reviewed to include the role of RHG in a ‘dementia friendly’ society.
What we are doing
9: Community Investment Activity Plan (2014-17)
This project covers the implementation of the Community Investment Strategy and includes a number of important areas:
- Neighbourhood and community activities
- Volunteering and resident involvement in improving services
- Young people activity
- Health and well-being
- Reducing poverty, financial Inclusion, employment, family support and Welfare Reform, and
- Digital Inclusion.
Some key activities from 2014-15 included:
- Summer events in the villages in south Wychavon. Attendance at the events was co-ordinated with the Community Development Team at Wychavon District Council and we supported by offering a young people’s activity and providing work and money advice and information on how to get online
- Supporting the Friends of Jubilee Gardens group to arrange three events to fund raise and encourage use of the local pocket park. The group raised over £22,000 in 2014-15 to purchase additional equipment for the park
- Chinese New Year event, Chinese Resource Centre, St Oswald’s in February 2015
- We successfully involved volunteers in both improving services for residents and through a programme of community volunteers. In 2014-15 we had 77 volunteers working across Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. They provided a fantastic 5,042 hours of volunteering in local communities
- In 2014-15 we achieved accreditation for our mentoring and befriending project
- We ran a Junior Wardens programme aimed at 8-10 year olds, to support responsible use of the new pirate pocket park in Badsey. The project was successful, and included working with the local fire service and wildlife charity. The project continues and we are planning a family event shortly
- 2014-15 was the second year of the combined work and money advice service, and the third of the employability project which commenced in January 2012. The outcomes from both services provided substantial benefits to residents including 40% of the residents supported successfully entering work
10: Domestic abuse 2015-18
Investigate partnership working to provide support and services to the victims of domestic abuse.
11: Fusion project (2016-19)
Employment initiative based on funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) 2016-18.