As we start the New Year it’s a time to reflect on the past 12 months and start to look ahead to what this next year will bring; over the last 12 months the Land and Design team have completed many good project and continued to work with many of our long term customers.
The work we recently completed for Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) at Mountside View for example has shown what can be achieved when organisations share the same vision and desire to see improvements, not just to the landscape but also to the lives of those with whom we work and support.
Mountside View has been delivered in its entirety by Groundwork with the support and guidance of RBH, from our initial consultation and design with tenants through to the planning application process and implementation by our NEAT employment programmes. The site has seen the creation of a new car park with disabled parking for the housing association, we have also used a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) that reduces pressure on the existing drainage network. Added to this is the fact that the project has been completed using “learners” in its entirety is also testament to the skills and persistence of our supervisors and managers of the programme to ensure the project is delivered to a quality finish and one that matches the customers’ needs and expectations. When this current NEAT team leave us later this year, they will leave with not only the experience of working on these types of schemes but also with new qualifications that highlight the progress they have made individually along the way, and hopefully will be a credit to their future employers. The training cycle will then begin again with the next cohort of learners coming through in 2015/16.
Our Housing Refurbishment and Vocational training teams are working closely together on the new Housing Refurbishment Traineeship programme we have started to offer, the second cohort joined us this week and will be spending the next 15 weeks with us being supported in work experience on our housing refurbishment programme, and gaining qualifications in Multi trades and functional skills. The first cohort started in January and they are now well on their way to gaining those skills and qualifications. It is always pleasing to see volunteers leave us for a positive progression as they start their career with a new company as a result of spending time with us. Reece’s story is a great example to others.
As I mentioned earlier, this time of year sees our development work come to the fore as we begin to set up projects for the year ahead. This year I have also been leading the development of the Trust business plan, the opportunity has allowed me to support the strategic development of the Trust and to gain an insight into other departments other than my own. The process started back in September 2014 where all managers met to begin the journey and set out the timescales for the development, each manager organises an away day for their team in order for all staff to have the opportunity to influence and feed into the process.
Following the team away days the managers and senior managers develop the business plan, including not just the financial picture, but also the team and quality objectives for the year ahead.
The Trust at this time of year uses the opportunity to ask our customers how they feel about the support we offer, this stakeholder survey feeds into the plan and direction to ensure we continue to meet the customers’ needs.
The final part of the plan is to get it to print. Andy Fowler, our Marketing & Communications Manager, as always has done a fantastic job in turning my pages of words into an easy to read, clear and concise document. 1st draft of the Business Plan was recently presented to the Board and now as the final few changes are made the document should be appearing on the Trust website by the end of March. I would urge anyone to take a look at it, not just to see what we planning to deliver in 2015/16 but to see the way we have helped changed the lives of some of those people we helped in 2014/15 too.