The next 10 years

To mark Watford Community Housing’s tenth birthday, we celebrated what we achieved over our first decade. In this final instalment, we consider what the future might hold for our residents, our communities and our organisation.

While we are celebrating the work we’ve done and the ways we’ve changed and grown over our first 10 years, what matters most is that we are focused on what we can achieve in the future. As we continue to mature as an organisation, we believe that we will continue to progress, working with you to improve lives and develop friendlier communities.  

 

Ambitious plans for our homes

Making sure your homes are safe, modern and attractive is one of our key priorities. As such, we’ve got some large-scale plans to improve our current homes, upgrade neighbourhoods and develop new homes.

As an organisation, it’s our goal to have built 1,000 new homes for people who need them by 2020. We’ve already planned, scheduled or completed enough homes to have reached the halfway point on this goal, but we’ve still got a long way to go. Recently, we’ve joined up with two local authorities (Watford Borough Council and Three Rivers District Council) to create joint ventures which will increase our scope and enable us to develop new homes across the wider Herts region. We’re going to be working hard to build homes which are right for everyone in the places where they’re most needed.

We’ve also got some regeneration works lined up, including our redevelopment of the Meriden, which will see the creation of 133 new homes – including a flexi-care scheme for older people – and a new retail parade. We’re working on a redeveloping The Brow, which will provide a new row of shops and a residential complex. We’re working to ensure that these projects will have a positive impact on the local community, giving a new lease of life to the places you love.

We’re also continuing our five-year planned improvement programme with our partner, Keepmoat. Overall, we’re hoping to deliver approximately 900 kitchens, 900 bathrooms, new windows for 300 homes and works to 250 roofs and 330 doors for our tenants! These ambitious plans will make sure our homes are in the best condition for the future, and we hope to see them improve your lives too.

 

Working with residents for a bright future

Engaging with our community areas will remain a huge part of what we do. As we continue to grow as an organisation, we’re going to be working with you to develop how and where we communicate with tenants and working with our partners to put on events and programmes which benefit the wider community.

As one of our first steps, in September we’ll be launching our new service standards. We’ve worked with the Gateway Membership Team, the Board and our staff to compile a document which will outline what you, as residents, can expect from us – and, in turn, what we expect from you. By making sure we’re working together in the right way, and that you are clear about your rights as well as your responsibilities, we can continue to improve your homes and communities.

Your voices, as tenants, influence what we do and how we do it. As we look to develop and regenerate some of our local areas, we’ll ask you to come and join us to discuss the impact on the local community and raise any queries you have specific to your residential area. Our scrutiny panels will also continue their important work, looking at where we can improve and how we can change for the better. Finally, in order to champion equality and diversity in our communities, we’re looking to hold a public forum which will help to ensure that we’re working hard to provide for everyone equally.

We also want our tenants to be able to access information and communicate with us more quickly and more easily. We’re going to be investing in our website, creating a new online self-service portal and working on how we engage with you online, so that you can manage your tenancy even more easily.  However, we know that not everyone is tech-savvy, so we’re also going to be continuing our digital skills training for those who want to get online but aren’t sure how to.

Our hubs will continue to provide a focal point for community activities for everyone. We’re soon going to be running some new programmes for young people in particular, as well as holding a number of events focusing on health and wellbeing in the community. Of course, the 10th birthday party we’re holding at the Meriden on 9th September is the most exciting event we’ve got planned currently, and we’re looking forward to celebrating with you and hosting an event the whole family can enjoy!

 

A new look

You might have noticed that we’ve updated our look, with new branding and a new logo. Our 10th anniversary is a time for celebrating our achievements so far and looking ahead to an exciting future, which means it’s also a great time to update our image. Whilst our vision and priorities remain the same, the work we’re doing and how we do it is very different from when we began, and we’d like the way we look to reflect that.

It’s important that we remain an organisation which you’re proud to be part of, and one element of that is making sure we look respectable, modern and forward-thinking – we want you to be proud to spot our vans or our logo on a building! Our new branding will also help give us the commercial edge we need to attract partners to help us develop new homes, which will enable us to offer you better services and, ultimately, help your money stretch further.

 

We’re growing – but our roots remain the same

You, as our residents, are at the heart of what we do – our vision is still to deliver better homes and friendlier communities together, and your safety and wellbeing will always be our priority. We also  remain firmly rooted in Watford too. Even though we’re reaching out into a wider geographical area to try to build much-needed homes in Hertfordshire, Watford is as much our home as it is yours.

We want to improve the service we offer you, and hope that the changes we make as we grow will have a positive impact on tenants’ lives in the coming years. Although it’s also crucial to us as an organisation that we continue to innovate and improve, it’s the foundations we’re built upon that will ensure we continue to deliver the best for you, our residents.