Valleys to Coast housing association are leading on the development of an innovative pan-Wales procurement framework designed to deliver benefits to both current and future generations across the country.
This new framework forms part of an almost £20 million, Welsh Government backed, Optimised Retrofit Programme that will see a consortium of housing associations and Councils work on projects that will help upgrade at least 1,000 existing social homes in Wales through a mixture of new energy efficient materials and technologies.
Open to all housing associations, local authorities and public sector bodies, the new framework will maximise opportunities for businesses across Wales to benefit from this investment and ensure that the funding drives the foundational economy and supports Welsh business and employment opportunities.
There will also be much wider and far-reaching benefits for the Welsh economy. As the programme is rolled out across social housing in Wales over the coming years, it is hoped that this will lead to more local jobs, training and apprenticeship opportunities and supply chains as part of a new industry for the Country.
Speaking about the opportunity, David Bolton, Assets Investment Manager at Valleys to Coast, said: “This is a significant investment from the Welsh Government and a big statement in terms of their focus on reducing carbon emissions and helping the economy recover post-covid. We at Valleys to Coast are very proud to have been asked to lead on the procurement network that will support this. The benefits for customers and communities are potentially huge and this is just the start of creating a new retrofit industry in Wales which is really exciting.”
For Valleys to Coast customers in Bridgend, this will mean an initial investment in around a 100 homes that will benefit from energy improvement works that will help reduce their bills as well as improve energy efficiency measures to the homes such as external wall insulation and new windows. The homes to initially benefit from this will be in the North Cornelly and Wildmill areas of Bridgend and will form part of plans for Valleys to Coast to get as many of their homes to an EPC rating of A by 2030.
Talking about the investment, Darrin Davies, Director of Development & Asset Investment, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us and the partners involved in this consortium to play a big role in making Wales greener. We will learn a lot from this in the coming years and it speaks volumes of the strength of the Welsh housing sector that we are able to work together to tackle this issue and ensure that the advantages of this investment are felt locally.”
Full information on the Welsh Government’s Optimised Retrofit Programme can be found on the Welsh Government website.
We are asking customers, tenants and communities across Bridgend to help us explore ways we can understand our purpose at Valleys to Coast.
Our purpose is to provide homes where people feel happy and safe. This describes what we are here to do as an organisation and we are keen to build our understanding of the words ‘safe’ and ‘happy’ which were chosen last year by you, our customers.
For taking part and completing a few short questions we will give you the chance to win one of four £50 high street shopping vouchers, just in time for Christmas this year.
You can answer the questions in our short survey here. It will only take a few minutes and we will use the results to help us to set our priorities to ensure all of our customers feel safe and happy.
Chief Executive, Joanne Oak said: “Your opinion and your ideas mean so much to us and we really want to put customers at the heart of setting our vision for the future. This means we will be coming to you more often over the next 6 months to ask questions and I hope you will embrace this opportunity to have your say and help us keep on track with prioritising the right things for both you and your communities.”
If you live in a community where Valleys to Coast has properties, we want to hear from you too. Please complete the survey and tell us if you are a customer or resident
You can view the current corporate plan here. We will use the information gathered from this survey to inform our re-launched corporate plan, which we will release in April next year.
A new Chief Executive, award-winning eco-homes, and our response to the pandemic; Valleys to Coast reflects on a transformative year.
Reflecting on the last year in our Annual Review, Valleys to Coast has been able to look back on a year that has seen a new Chief Executive join, tenants moving into innovative new homes, helping customers through tough financial times and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic completely changing the way we live and work.
This unprecedented year has been captured in both our financial statements and in a short Annual Review video, featuring the key highlights of the year and Valleys to Coast staff, sharing their experiences of how we have had to adapt our services since lockdown in March.
Financial Statements for 2019/20. (Opens in new window)
More importantly than ever, Valleys to Coast is committed to supporting its customers and colleagues, and has ensured over the last year that it is providing homes where people can feel happy and safe.
Here are the key findings from our Annual Review and Financial Statements:
Valleys to Coast has adapted throughout the pandemic to continue providing support to customers and ensuring they remain able to access services when needed. All customer services, except face-to-face, were successfully moved to home-working and remained available from 9-5.
Our teams have been working hard to ensure that we are providing value for money, our Money Matters and Welsh Water teams have saved approximately £1.26m for customers in the year. We also helped a 99-year-old customer reclaim £5,000 in time for their 100th birthday.
By staying connected with our customers and continuing to provide excellent service, more than 81% reported at the year-end that they were satisfied with services. Valleys to Coast is proud to deliver quality homes and services to our customers, who are at the heart of our organisation.
Building safe and desirable homes
The average time taken to complete repairs in our properties substantially exceeded performance targets, with urgent repairs being completed within 4 and half days, and emergency repairs resolved within 9 hours.
In August, we saw the first Valleys to Coast tenants move into our brand new, low-carbon homes. The ski-lodge style ‘Barnhaus’ properties won the national Grand Designs’ Self-Build on a Shoestring competition for its innovative, eco-friendly design.
By partnering with Pentan Architects and SEER Construction to build these eco-homes, we have been able to make affordable, energy-efficient housing a reality for families in Bridgend.
Darrin Davies, our Director of Development & Asset Investment said:
“Not only do we aim to provide homes that are happy and safe for our tenants but we want them to be good for the environment too. We will use what we have learnt from the design and delivery here to help us to develop the specification of our future homes with the aim of delivering high standards of energy efficiency, low carbon footprints and homes that are cheaper to run.”
With an additional £6.9m invested in carrying out planned repairs and improvements to our housing properties, we are supporting our ambition to create safe and desirable homes for our customers.
A transformative year
Back in February, we appointed a new Chief Executive, welcoming Joanne Oak. Speaking at the Annual General Meeting in September, she said:
“This last year can only be described as unprecedented; a word, I think, many of us have been hearing time again. Valleys to Coast has been on and continues to be on a journey and we’ve been focusing a lot on our core business. Like many other businesses, we’ve been impacted by the pandemic. Despite these challenges, I’m really proud of my colleagues and our teams and how they’ve worked extremely hard to do the best under these difficult circumstances. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their understanding and support.”
During the year, Valleys to Coast also welcomed new appointments to it’s Board and Audit Committee following the retirement of long-serving Chair John Kinder. Joanne Smith has joined us as Vice Chair of the Board, and Sophie Taylor as Audit Committee Chair, bringing with them a wealth of experience and understanding of the housing sector.
We’re looking forward to what the next year will bring, but here at Valleys to Coast, we feel it's as important as ever to make sure that we take the time to celebrate everything we’ve achieved in what has been a challenging year for all of us.
We hope the next year will be another year of building a better Wales, supporting our colleagues, and providing homes where our customers can feel happy and safe.