Construction begins on £28m Thrybergh housing partnership development

Left to Right: Paul Staley (Managing Director PRS at Wise Living), Councillor Dominic Beck (Cabinet Member for Housing at Rotherham Council), Helen Wright (Project Director at Sanctuary) and Raymond Kinsella (Head of Neighbourhoods for the Yorkshire region at Great Places).

Raymond Kinsella, our Head of Neighbourhoods for the Yorkshire region, recently joined Cabinet Member for Housing Councillor Dominic Beck and partners on site to celebrate the official start of work on a £28million affordable housing development in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

The partnership led by energy and regeneration specialist ENGIE will transform two brownfield sites at Whinney Hill and Chesterhill Avenue, Thrybergh, creating 237 much needed homes for local people.

Great Places Housing Group along with Sanctuary Homes and Wise Living will offer 135 homes for affordable rent, 80 homes for market rent and 11 homes for shared ownership, on land provided by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council for this flagship development.

Raymond said: “We’re thrilled to be delivering a range of new homes on what is a flagship development. It will deliver much-needed affordable homes in Rotherham, all made possible by the power of partnerships. We’ll be working with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Sanctuary and Wise Living to ensure this development becomes fully integrated within this thriving neighbourhood.

“Affordable housing continues to be a key priority for all of the areas we operate in and Great Places remains committed to creating great homes across a wide variety of communities.”

Food Works

Food Works is a citywide organisation, based on the edge of Wybourn on Woodbourn Road, that receives hundreds of tonnes of unused food from businesses and individuals every year. They make sure this food is put to good use, preserving the time and energy that has gone into producing it and so reducing the environmental impact of our food.

Great Places has been supporting local residents through their partnership with Food Works. At the start of the first lockdown, Great Places made a financial donation so Food Works could continue and expand their service to support communities. Their food box service from Unit 5, Woodbourn Road, remained open for any resident to collect for a £1 donation, whilst a new pre-prepared meal delivery service was introduced for residents who were required to self-isolate or were having issues accessing or cooking food. Great Places was able to refer customers and 91 meals were delivered to residents free of charge.

Great Places continues to work with Food Works supporting projects where local residents learn the skills to produce food for their local neighbourhoods. This involves cooking classes in schools and community growing spaces.

Sheffield WASH

Recognising the increased financial pressure the pandemic was going to have on communities, Great Places developed an enhanced partnership with National Energy Action (NEA) early in the first lockdown. NEA are a national charity working to ensure everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is safe and warm in their homes.

Customers struggling to afford to top-up their energy meters can receive - when referred by Great Places - an emergency top-up of £29 for individuals and £49 for families.

For those customers who do not qualify for the emergency meter top-up, there’s still support on offer from the National Energy Action’s ‘Warm and Safe Homes’ (WASH) support service.

Customers are able to speak with NEA Advisors about energy efficiency savings and how to switch to better value for money suppliers. They can also help you access fuel grants and trust fund applications to reduce any existing fuel debt.

“To date I’m happy to say that 26 Great Places customers living in the S2 postcode have accessed this service, with total savings of £3659.91 made” – Felix Dyer, Community and Partnerships Manager at Great Places.

Felix Dyer, Community and Partnerships Manager at Great Places said, “If you feel like you need some extra support, or advice on to access the Warm and Safer Homes support service, please contact your Neighbourhood Services Manager for more information.”

One-year catch ups with new Wybourn customers

The Sheffield Team are now rolling out surveys to new customers that have moved into our Wybourn properties in the last 12 months.

The short survey gives customers a chance to tell their local Neighbourhoods Team how they are settling in, how they feel about their new home and also highlight any issues they may be having where additional support may be available.

Commenting on the launch of the survey our Head of Neighbourhoods for Yorkshire, Raymond Kinsella, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to touch base with our new Wybourn customers one year on to see how they’re getting on. It also gives them the chance to tell us about any particular issues they may be facing and identify additional support our local community services teams may be able to offer.”

Financial support to customers in need during the pandemic

Great Places recently awarded £100 from the financial support fund to Miss Smith, a customer who recently found herself struggling to cover rent, fuel and food costs as a result of financial circumstances changing due to the current climate.

Miss Smith, a mother of two, had a job working in a family run café up until the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately when the virus hit, the small café found themselves in a position unable to make wage payments after closing during lockdown.

Miss Smith was already claiming Universal Credit due to her income level, but despite notifying the relevant authorities there was a significant delay in receiving her payment. This left Miss Smith struggling financially. During these difficult times she had been visiting Food Works for some support and was also able to get financial help from her extended family for a short period of time, but this wasn’t sustainable due to their own financial concerns.

Great Places were able to award £100 to Miss Smith, giving her some financial breathing space enabling her to manage the money carefully – the £100 provided a much-needed bridge until her Universal Credit income payments were increased.

If you need help and support during these times, please speak to your Neighbourhood Services Manager who can advise you on the local services available.

We’re moving

From January 2021, our Sheffield Team will be relocating from the Quadrant, to our new office in Park Hill, the iconic former housing estate close to the city centre.

The new office will be the base for the team and will be home to meeting rooms that will be used for the regional Board, partnership meetings and local customer focus groups.

While customers will be able to make prearranged appointments to meet a member of the team at the new office, customers should continue to access Great Places and Plumlife services through the customer portal, The Hub or your Neighbourhood Services Manager for help with general enquiries.

Manor and Castle Development Trust

Manor and Castle Development Trust (MCDT) has over 20 years’ experience managing community regeneration in the Manor and Castle area.

The Trust supports the community with health and wellbeing, volunteering, partnerships and activities that support children and young people. In terms of employment and skills, MCDT offer a professional support service that’s designed to help anyone who is unemployed get back into the job market. The provision is delivered through a number of job clubs in the local area and is accredited by the Department for Education for delivering high-quality information and advice.

Great Places has worked with the Trust for a number of years to support customers in Wybourn back into employment. We’ve delivered joint projects for recruitment with IKEA when the Tinsley store opened in 2017, as well as the NHS and construction opportunities via Building Block. Our Community Investment Team complete referrals to the Trust’s employability programme and since April, 13 referrals have been made and we’ve helped two customers secure employment.

St Vincent’s Furniture Store

Great Places has established a great partnership with St Vincent’s Furniture Store, a citywide charity that provides good quality, second-hand furniture to residents who are entering or currently living in one of our homes and are struggling to fully furnish the property. The service is free but residents are able to make a small donation towards the delivery cost. Customers who have been referred to the service are provided items by St Vincent’s ranging from beds and tables, to kettles and ironing boards. This means all aspects of home living are covered and helps our customer settle into their home.

Our partnership with St Vincent’s works both ways. Whilst the store helps some of our customers with their home furnishing, St Vincent’s are able to visit vacated Great Places homes and remove any left behind items by former customers. Not only does this mean they can replenish their stock and help another customer in need, but it’s helping the environment as it’s saving another item from landfill.

Barrier Busting Budget helps Sheffield customer

A Sheffield customer is aiming high after Great Places bought him a laptop to help improve his life chances. The 29-year-old man, originally from Eritrea, East Africa, suffers from PTSD as a result of the treatment he received in his home country. He has now been in the UK for over a year.

The gentleman had been taking English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes to improve his language and enable him to find work. Sadly the classes were postponed because of the first lockdown, but he was extremely keen to continue his learning. Great Places enabled him to do this by providing him with a laptop from the Barrier Busting Budget. The customer was overjoyed and has been practising his English ever since.

The young man receives daily worksheets from his tutor and is now able to attend virtual classes to maintain his learning. He can also communicate online with others from the Eritrean community, avoiding social isolation during these challenging times.

The customer has also been provided with ongoing support from a Great Places Employability Coach to improve his chances of finding work in the future.

To discover how you can receive employability help and support, please speak to your Neighbourhood Services Manager, or visit www.greatplaces.org.uk/help-and-advice/employment-and-skills-support.

Sheffield customer scores dream events job

An initial chat with a Neighbourhood Services Manager took customer Jason on a journey from being isolated and low, to confident and securing his dream event hospitality role at Bramall Lane Football Stadium, Sheffield.

After confiding in his Neighbourhood Services Manager, Jason was referred to a Great Places Employability Coach who provided support with his search for a position to suit his needs. Jason had been suffering with depression and anxiety for a number of months, so meeting his coach in a public place was a huge achievement and a great way to take that first step.

Their meetings initially consisted of looking at what Jason didn’t want from a role, as well as looking at his strengths, skills and past experiences for inspiration. As Jason has a keen interest in the arts and media, he managed to secure a number of one-off opportunities to volunteer for events taking place in Sheffield, including Celluloid Screams Horror Festival and Sheffield Doc Fest. Taking part in these events meant Jason was able to interact with people with similar interests, and subsequently his confidence grew and he finally felt paid employment was a realistic option.

He finally secured a role within event hospitality at Bramall Lane Football Stadium. The zero-hours contract worked well for Jason and his mental health, meaning he could take on shifts when he felt up to working and decline on days he wasn’t.

Jason’s confidence has improved since first being referred and he’s feeling hopeful to be at a stage soon to look for a position with consistent hours. His work with the Employability Coach continues. He’s also recently taken on some regular voluntary work at Manor Lodge in Sheffield, helping them with publicity and marketing which is also helping him reduce isolation.

If you’re looking to get into work but aren’t sure where to start, please contact your Neighbourhood Services Manager who can refer you to one of our Employability Coaches.