20 January 2023
Hello, hello … and welcome to the P3 Housing blog!
People aren’t always entirely sure exactly what P3 Housing is or how it fits in with the rest of P3. So as the Chief Executive of P3 Housing, I hope to clear it all up in this blog and also introduce you to a few of the people behind it.
P3 Housing is part of the P3 Charity Group. We aren’t actually a charity ourselves, but a registered social landlord. This means we are an independent housing organisation registered with Homes England (the non-departmental public body that funds new affordable housing in England, which replaced the Homes and Communities Agency in 2018) and the Regulator of Social Housing, although we often work with local authorities and private landlords.
We don’t generate profit; we reinvest any surplus back into the homes and communities we work in.
At the moment, we provide more than 350 places to live across Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, Cheshire East and the West Midlands and this number is increasing all the time.
We may be small but we are ambitious; we’ve developed a strong relationship with Homes England and this has allowed us to attract grant funding to provide more move-on homes for people experiencing homelessness.
So far we have purchased 12 properties in Gainsborough and ten in the Forest of Dean. Our current programme includes a total rebuild of the rear chalets at Wellington Road in Wolverhampton. From eight disused chalets that were not fit-for-purpose, we are creating three single self-contained properties that will offer affordable housing for people moving on from temporary accommodation and into work. There’s more about this later in the blog.
As a registered social landlord, we provide places that are affordable and secure, and for people on their journey away from homelessness. Working closely with the Charity who deliver the support we provide properties that range from temporary places to stay with shared space and staff available 24 hours every day to single self contained where people can make the place their home, put down their roots and still have as much support they need to live as independently as possible.
Plus, we actively seek out and value the opinions of the people we work alongside; throughout the year we visit properties to hold conversation cafes. Directors join the property leadership team (me, Hannah Kavanagh and Kerrie Gayes) to meet with the people we work alongside to discuss all things property and maintenance and to gather their views on where they live and the community they live in. Feedback on these events is shared at our regular Board meetings.
Here at P3 Housing we want even more for the people we work alongside than safe, suitable accommodation. We want them to be active and engaged with us, and a real part of how things are done. So we have the Tenants Committee, where people living in P3 homes can meet staff, volunteers and each other, an annual P3 Tenant Survey to get feedback and People Shaping P3, where people can be a part of gathering information, sit on the strategic People’s Board and be involved in recruitment.
As we’re not a charity, we have a Board of Directors instead of trustees. However, we are in the process of registering as a charity and the Directors will all become trustees once this has been completed. In the meantime, you can see our full Board of Directors on the P3 website here (scroll down).
So that’s the P3 Housing Board! Now read on for more from some of our Directors – soon to be trustees.
Chief Executive, P3 Housing
20 January 2023
It’s a real honour to be asked to write a blog about P3 Housing and the great work we are doing!
I have been the Chair of P3 Housing since its inception in 2016 and we have been on quite a journey! We started off with just a handful of properties that were transferred to us from P3 Charity and a lot of hard work went into getting Registered Social Landlord status.
It was worth it, though, because it enabled us to apply for funding for our organisational growth ambitions. And although we’re small, we pack a big punch! We’re making a huge difference to so many people’s lives.
So what are these ambitions? Well, we aim to grow our portfolio of homes by 100 units every year and we’ve become an investment partner with Homes England, the non-departmental public body that funds new affordable housing in England. That’s a very exciting opportunity for us, making it possible for us to grow more quickly. It means we can do the most important thing: provide more accommodation for people experiencing homelessness and getting them off the streets and into safe, warm homes.
We want to provide good quality homes where people can stay and thrive, not just survive. We’ve purchased a number of fabulous new homes over the last year. We’ve also been upgrading the properties we already have and disposing of stock which is no longer fit for purpose.
Our partnership with P3 Charity means we can deliver great support and we’re so glad that we can empower people to find their feet, move into new homes and gain independence. We also support people into work wherever possible.
We on the P3 Housing Board know that these are exceptional times. The challenges you are all facing are immense – in fact, I’ve worked in social housing for almost 40 years and I’ve never experienced times as challenging as these ones. The cost-of-living crisis, high inflation, Government rent caps … it’s all making the operating environment extremely difficult and it’s even worse for the people we work alongside.
So the work we all do is now more important than ever.
On behalf of the Board of P3 Housing I would like to extend our sincere thanks to you all for the great work you are doing. We are all very proud to be part of the P3 family and we wish you all the very best for 2023.
Chair of the P3 Housing Board of Directors
20 January 2023
Hello, I’m John Spriggs-Taylor, one of the Directors of P3 Housing.
I was lucky to work with Mark and Jo many years ago when they built two lovely new nursing homes for long-stay residents of Kingsway Hospital in Derby. (We will all miss Jo Summers, who has tackled so many important issues to get the very best for all our people. It’s too early to say goodbye, but never too early to say thank you to Jo.)
I was a Trustee of P3 before I joined the Housing Board and over the last two decades, I’ve been very fortunate to get to meet and know so many of you. It has been, and continues to be, the most important, instructive and lasting time of my life. Thank you so much for all the amazing work you do every day supporting people to rebuild their lives.
You know, of course, that everyone deserves a warm and safe home and this cold, brutal winter makes that very clear. P3 rightly provides such homes to a very high standard; I recently visited Lauren’s Gate in Wolverhampton and I was so impressed. Huge thanks are due to Sam, Tess, Kerrie, Dorothy, Jo, Hannah and the team who got this property up and running. It will be challenging to continue providing even more homes in 2023, but that’s what we have to do.
I’d like to highlight a few things that I think are important for the future. First, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which is going through Parliament. At around 338 pages, it’s a big read (you can read a synopsis here) but it needs to succeed if we are going to provide the kind of housing we want for even more people. Among other things, the Bill seeks to “drive local growth”, tackle unnecessarily slow home building by developers and give councils more power over the issue.
There’s also health poverty, which is a concern for too many people. There are so many ways poor health can be aggravated: damp, mould, air pollution, overall quality of life. These issues need understanding and solutions need to be offered, not punishment. People we work alongside are often victims of crime, prejudice and, of course, stigma.
We should never underestimate how disabling and demotivating stigma is in ruining lives, as people have to rebuild themselves over and over again in a cloud of judgement and disapproval. You all know about this from the important work you do day after day.
Diversity is important too, as we think more deeply about how we can create proper inclusion, representation and co-production (when services work together with the people who use them). We are working on developing a Tenants’ Forum that will mirror the People’s Board to drive up quality and ensure that the voices of the people living in P3 Housing are at the forefront of everything we do. This will enable us to work towards gaining their representation on the Board of Directors and, I hope, recognise the additional costs that would be incurred by someone who takes on an active leadership role with us while already struggling to budget.
I hope we are all looking for effective co-production in P3 and we need to look at every possible way there is to bring forward more of the many talented people we work alongside, which can only enhance our reach and reputation; not just in terms of leadership, development and service design, but in every area of work you all do so excellently.
Thank you to you all, and I wish you all the very best in 2023.
Director of P3 Housing
20 January 2023
It doesn’t matter if a person doesn’t yet have a place in their own name to call home. Everyone still deserves somewhere safe and secure to live.
That’s why P3 Housing puts so much effort into not only finding properties that can be used for various housing services, but also making sure they are to a high quality. No matter what personal circumstances someone finds themselves in, nobody should ever have to live in substandard conditions.
And that’s exactly what P3 Housing is thinking as it renovates 53 Wellington Road in Wolverhampton. (And 51 and 55! We have acquired more properties along the way to improve the services we will be providing there.)
“Wellington Road is a property in Wolverhampton that is used to provide temporary accommodation as part of the pathway service for people experiencing homelessness,” explained Jo Summers.
The main building, number 53, comprises two parts: the main section and the rear. The plan is to remodel the main area into five studio apartments (work will start on that in March) along with a laundry area and two offices. The rear originally had eight chalet-style rooms in very poor condition, but these are being converted into three self-contained flats.
“We had originally planned to make five flats but now it’s going to be three larger, better ones,” said Operations Maintenance Manager Craig Norton.
“The idea is to bring them up to a more environmentally sustainable and fully insulated standard. Some of the internal walls were single-bricked and had to be removed for stability. The external ones were double, but with no cavity, so very poor quality for insulating a building. Once we’re done we’ll have fully insulated roofs, new floors, walls, windows, doors …
“There’ll be a communal boiler to power all the flats, but individual, anti-tamper thermostats in each one. We need to make sure the heating stays at a certain level to avoid damp. Then we can eliminate excess costs and heat loss and the standard everywhere will just be so much better.
“Today, all first-fix electrics are now in the property and the windows and plaster boards are starting to go in. Hopefully we can start plastering the rooms very soon.
“With older properties like this, you take the top off and you don’t know what’s underneath. We’ve come across a few challenges, but we deal with them and it’s all really coming on.”
This project was delayed by the pandemic but as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining … The government’s lockdown ‘Everyone In’ campaign, which enabled people to exit the streets and access somewhere safe to live was so successful they made further financial resources available for move-on accommodation just like Wellington Road.
So, we applied and P3 Housing were awarded funding with their Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme for the property, as well as further investment for the front part of the building.
Right now, the building has been going on since September.
“It’s a lot of hard work, trying to deal with individual contracts and architects!” Craig adds.
“But the contractors are all doing a great job and it’s really rewarding and fun to see it coming along at pace.”
SHOUT OUTS OF THE WEEK
Hey, you! You with the good news, or the great accomplishment, or the landmark birthday …
Congratulations Julie, for a new opportunity after all your work with Warwickshire Young People. Best of luck in all you do!
Thank you to DOT, who braved the snow and ice to find people and bring them in to warmth and safety.