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Community involvement annual report 2016-2017

The highlights

The last year has been a busy one for the team.  We’ve delivered a wide range of services and projects designed to improve your quality of life and help you to live successfully in your home and community.

This page contains the highlights from our year.  You can read our report in full and see some great pictures of our work here. Community Involvement Annual Report 2016/17

If you’d like to find out more about any of our projects or would like to get involved please contact or call us on 0300 7906 560.

Meet the team

From left to right

  • Mohammed Nasim, Energy Advisor
  • Selena Ellis, Community Involvement Co-ordinator
  • Asha Sendawula, Resident Involvement Officer
  • Clare O’Driscoll, Employment Coach

We deliver services to help you sustain your tenancy and enhance your quality of life

We do this through:

  • Employment advice
  • Energy advice
  • Resident involvement
  • Community projects

Employment and training – how we made a difference

353 one-on-one coaching sessions.

£235,299  – the combined wages now earned by customers who found jobs with our support.

We provide:

  • One-to-one support
  • Advice
  • Guidance
  • Volunteering programmes
  • Job fairs
  • Training

Working in partnership – how we made a difference

We believe it’s vital to build good working relationships with other companies so that can access high quality job, training and volunteering opportunities.  Some of the companies we’ve worked with include Carillion, Learn Direct, Jobcentre Plus, BMET, Midland Alliance and Employment Angels.

Community involvement

Annette unexpectedly came to the end of a job which she had worked for over 20 years. She was very distressed at the prospect of looking for a new job. She wanted to find work as soon as possible but didn’t know where to start looking. Her experience of attending the jobcentre and being asked to prove what she was doing to find work was really getting her down.

We helped Annette with her CV and set up a Universal Job Match account, so that she could save her job searches and her jobcentre advisor could see that she was regularly looking for work. We gave Annette regular step by step job searching support and helped with her job applications. Annette was then able to search for work more confidently and managed to find full time work within three months.

We have also provided one to one sessions for Annette’s two sons who are now in college and working in retail.

Read about other Family Optima customers we have supported in our annual report. Download it here as a PDF.

Energy advice – how we made a difference

563 energy advice visits

A total of £168,255 in savings for customers, that works out as £294 for each household thanks to a visit from our energy advisor.

Mr Zabid was contacted this year to follow up a visit we did in 2015 where we secured a grant to reduce his fuel debt by £1476. We were very pleased to hear that Mr Zabid was still managing his energy payments and was in credit to his provider.

We helped Mr Zabid make further savings by applying for the Winter Fuel Payment saving £200. And we help him to switch providers saving an estimated £800.

Resident involvement – how together, we made a difference

We set up three customer panels looking at issues around people, property and places. If you join one of our panels, you will have your travel expenses paid and you’ll get a £10 gift voucher.

People customer panel – improving and maintaining the quality of lives of people in our homes. 

Customers reviewed documents used by the Tenancy Plus team, and gave their views on WM Housing Group’s Digital Strategy and Customer Excellence Strategy.  They were also consulted about My Account, a secure website for Family Optima customers to check their rent account, order repairs and carry out other day-to-day actions. It’s a lot faster than calling our customer service centre. Why not give it a try?

Places customer panel – improving and maintaining the quality of the area in which we live.

 This panel were involved in:

  • The tendering and selection process for contracts for grounds maintenance, cleaning, void clearing and bulky waste collection.
  • Making positive changes to improve the delivery of our services.
  • Reviewing and developing a new contract monitoring process.
  • Monitoring and awarding the Treasure Chest Fund 2016-17.
  • Reviewing and selecting winners of our gardening competition.

Property customer panel – maintaining the standard and quality of our properties

This panel of customers:

  • Shaped the Optima owned repairs contract and have monitored  it’s performance.
  • Got involved in the open day recruitment for multi-trade engineers.
  • Reviewed a plan for repairs that aims to improve the quality of the service for customers.
  • Were involved with the consultation and monitoring progress of works on various contracts managed by the Assets Team including Benmore.

Community initiatives – how we made a difference 

We aim to inspire you to take pride in where you live and be a part of your community.

Last year we hosted four play days in Birmingham, two pop-up events and a Christmas carol concert.

Customers on our Places panel handed out £5,486  of Community Treasure Chest funding to customers and organisations that want to make a difference in their community.  One project was the Summerfield board game cafe.

The People panel chose this project to fund because of its potential to bring families and members of the community together in a fun way. Here’s what our players had to say.

“We love coming as a family! It’s a great place to try out new games. We have bought many board games as a result of coming to the cafe. One of the main plus points is having a board game expert on hand to help with tricky instructions!”

“I enjoy coming along because it means I learn new games. Everyone is friendly and happy to join in, and it’s great that there is mixed ages there- it wouldn’t be the same if it was just adults.”

“Oliver (age 9) has only been once in the holidays but he loved it. It inspired him to ask for a particular board game for his birthday and now as a family we are playing together more often.”

If you want to find out more about the other projects we funded, you’ll find the details in our annual report

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