Last week saw Valleys to Coast take our Annual General Meeting online for the first time in our history
Having to find a new way of hosting the meeting due to the current restrictions in place as a result of the Coronavirus, our Governance and Communications teams worked together to ensure the meeting took place online instead.
Speaking following the meeting, our Chief Executive, Joanne Oak said “I am so pleased that our teams were able to make this happen. Adjusting to new ways of working presents new challenges but we ensured this key meeting took place and are going to take the learning from this into how we might engage with customers more effectively online too.”
Held on Wednesday September 23rd, this year's AGM featured a virtual question and answer session with questions submitted by Valleys to Coast customers via an online form.
We have committed to responding individually to those customer queries via email but we also were able to answer them within the session too.
A full video recording of the Annual General Meeting can be found online via our Youtube Channel and embedded below.
If you would like to skip straight you the Question and Answer session you can do so by skipping to around 15 minutes in.
The Welsh Government has today (Monday 21st September) placed Bridgend and three other Counties under local lockdown from 6pm tomorrow (Tuesday 22nd September) due to the significant rise in coronavirus cases.
This has led to increased restrictions such as the mandatory use of face coverings in all indoor spaces and where social distancing can't be maintained; only being able to meet outdoors for the time being and that people living in the County must work from home unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so.
After reviewing this and the current Government guidance we have decided that it does not affect our current offer of services as all colleagues will be following safe working practices that are in place to prevent the spread of the virus. Having planned for this, we are confident that we can continue with the re-introduction of services such as repairs while adhering to the Welsh Government guidelines around working in your homes.
Our priority is the safety of both our customer and colleagues, we will keep the new measures under regular review and monitor the situation regularly. We will update you immediately with any changes, both by letter and via our social media channels.
Today we issued a letter to our customers that sets out our approach for this and a timeline for these services to resume. This letter emphasises the importance of asking ourselves the same COVID19 questions we will ask customers when making an appointment. This ensures we are only in work visiting your homes if we are symptom free and safe to do so.
If you are due a repair or a visit from us and you or any member of your household exhibit symptoms please let us know as soon as possible so we can make alternate arrangements.
In the meantime, please stay safe and check our website and social channels for any updates to our services
With long-serving Chair John Kinder set to announce his retirement at this year's Annual General Meeting, Valleys to Coast have moved quickly to make two new appointments to both its Board and Audit Committee.
Joanne Smith will come in as Vice Chair of the Board and Sophie Taylor will take up the role of Audit Committee Chair when John retires from both roles in December, with both bringing a wealth of experience from the housing sector and beyond.
Incoming Vice Chair, Joanne Smith has a strong understanding of the housing sector and Valleys to Coast itself, having been involved with the organisation for six years initially as their regulation manager and for the last 4 years as a member of the Board. Jo is currently the Governance and Regulation Manager at Coastal Housing Group.
Sophie Taylor too has significant experience of housing, having started her career at PwC, her first role in Housing saw her join the Finance team at Trivallis before becoming Head of Finance at Cardiff and Vale College in 2017. Sophie’s latest role saw her finding her way back to the sector earlier this year when appointed as Head of Finance and Procurement at Bron Afon Housing Association.
Speaking of her appointment as the Audit Committee Chair, Sophie said: “I am really excited to take this new role. Housing is a sector that I am really passionate about, and becoming a Board member earlier this year has allowed me to broaden my knowledge of the sector and the challenges they are facing. Valleys to Coast is at an exciting time in their corporate journey, with a new Chief Executive and ambitious plans; I hope that my previous audit and assurance experience can help to support them on this journey and provide the robust governance that all organisations will need during these challenging times.”
Reflecting on his forthcoming retirement, John Kinder said: “I have found my six years at Valleys to Coast to be interesting, challenging and enjoyable. I have been pleased to see the development of the organisation from one focussed on refurbishing properties to one which is now concentrating on improving its overall service to customers.
In the future I see Valleys to Coast continuing to build more social housing and helping to reduce homelessness in Bridgend. I hope this along with a focus on improving our core services to customers will see them and others regard us as one of the premier social housing organisations in Wales.”
All at Valleys to Coast are keen to thank John Kinder for his sterling efforts in his six years at the organisation. John’s retirement will be announced as part of this year's Valleys to Coast Annual General meeting which will be held entirely online for the first time on the 23rd September.