Established in 2004, The Gateshead Housing Company is an Arms-Length Management Organisation (ALMO) which provides homes and services to over 20,000 tenants and leaseholders on behalf of Gateshead Council. We’re one of the largest housing management organisations in the North East, and as well as providing vital support services to some of the borough’s most vulnerable customers to live safe and independent lives, we’re incredibly ambitious to be the housing provider of first choice for everyone making their home in a thriving Gateshead.
More than a housing company
With an annual turnover of over £50million and a workforce of 800 colleagues, our main focus is providing our customers with a modern, high quality home and exceptional housing services.
It may say “housing company” above our door, but we’re much more than that. Over the past ten years we’ve invested more than £300million in the improvement of Council homes in Gateshead. We’re a major investor in local communities, pumping over £1million into projects and groups over the past decade, which range from training and development programmes to build employability skills to providing local school children with a healthy breakfast, so they’re ready to learn. We contribute directly to the growth of the borough by doing business with local companies to support our services. In addition, we invest around £25million in the improvement and repair of our homes every year and spend a further £20million on the delivery of major capital projects across the public and private sector. We also work closely with Keelman Homes, to access grants and funding to build new homes for rent and sale and bring empty homes back into use. This work is a vital generator of jobs and training opportunities across the borough.
None of this would be possible without the support of Gateshead Council. The closeness of our relationship ensures that, together, we can effectively tackle the challenges facing the residents of Gateshead.
Everything we are and everything we do is defined in our core company values. We pride ourselves on:
- Our passion for creating a great customer experience. We don’t hold back when it comes to providing a standout customer focused service. We’re determined to be the best we can possibly be at what we do.
- Being open and honest with everyone who works for and with our business.
- Being accountable for the decisions we make, the things we do and the services we provide.
- Being fair, inclusive and valuing the differences in people and the richness these differences bring to our offer.
- Our commitment to our colleagues and their development, giving them the space and encouragement to innovate and providing opportunities for them to shape the business.
In 2015 we published our last Business Strategy. In it, we committed to invest in our employees; protect the Housing Revenue Account (HRA)* and invest in homes; support customers to sustain their tenancies and improve homes; and to work in partnership with the Council and other organisations to enhance our offer as a housing company.
Since then we have:
- Focused on our customers’ needs by reshaping our customer-facing teams, delivering homelessness services on behalf of the Council and providing housing support and advice to some of the borough’s most vulnerable people.
- Taken responsibility for the delivery of the repairs and maintenance service. At the same time we also took responsibility for the delivery of large-scale improvement and building services to schools and other commercial buildings in the borough. The move doubled our workforce, adding 400
colleagues to our team and establishing a new property and assets management business in the borough which delivers around £40million of investment every year.
- Recruited 14 new apprentices, which is one of the largest cohorts of apprentices to be employed in the North East region. By doing so, we’ve created opportunities for people of all ages to combine their learning with practical on-the-job experience in plumbing, electrical engineering, joinery and
- Started to roll out the latest technology across the business, making the delivery of our services faster and more seamless. We’ve also made a start on the provision of more online, self-serve
options via our website.
- Found better and more cost-effective ways of delivering our services, achieving around £6 million of efficiency savings for reinvestment in the improvement of services and homes.
- Looked carefully at the homes we’re struggling to let and worked with the Council and the Government to come up with innovative solutions to the problems we’re facing.
- Worked with Keelman Homes to secure grant funding to deliver 40 new and affordable homes and bring 40 empty homes back into use in the borough. The partnership continues to be successful, securing funding from Homes England to build an additional 50 units by 2021 and bring empty homes back into use across the borough.
- Targeted our time and attention on our most vulnerable customers by dedicating the support of our teams and securing funding for a range of projects which has strengthened our supported housing offer. It has also enabled outreach support for victims of domestic abuse, supported refugees and people leaving the armed forces, delivered a home adaptations service on behalf of the Council; developed a taster flat scheme for young people and looked-after children, and supported work with ex-offenders.
- Sharpened our focus on tenancy sustainability. We’ve reintroduced our estate walkabouts, helping us to tackle issues quickly; strengthened our pre-tenancy advice service; introduced new ways to sign up; and we’ve launched new support services dedicated to helping customers to access and sustain their tenancy.
- Started work with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Citizens Advice to deliver housing advice and homeless prevention services. We’ve also secured trusted partner status from the DWP, putting us in a much better position to support customers moving onto new Universal Credit arrangements.
- Scaled up our advice and support services and radically increased our access to customers who may be at risk of the adverse impact of welfare reforms. This has allowed us to maximise the financial chances of our customers and minimise the impact of lost income on the business.
- Delivered a broad range of involvement and engagement programmes to improve health and wellbeing which have included exercise sessions, an intergenerational “get together”, customer training, a community fund, and a partnership with Newcastle Eagles Basketball Team to deliver “hoops for health” in schools across the borough.
*Housing Revenue Account – the account from which all Council housing income is received and spent.