Agenda item - Chairs Communications
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The Chair stated the following:
44.1 “Since we last met, significant progress has been made on our plans to improve energy efficiency in the city.
44.2 Work is well underway to develop our Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Energy Strategy.
44.3 The overarching aim of the strategy is to reduce energy consumption (and costs) for residents by future proofing the housing stock. This should also reduce carbon emissions and contribute to improving health & well-being for our tenants.
44.4 The strategy will set out relevant local and national policy andnote the transformation taking place in the energy sector, which includes the increasing digitalisation of services.
44.5 It will outline the current performance of the stock and achievements to date, and will highlight current work and opportunities that officers are delivering or exploringto meet the strategies aim.
44.6 Currently the strategy is being introduced to residents through the Service Improvement Group; tenant representative meetings and focus groups; the intention is to go to Area Panels in early January 2018; with a full report and draft strategy coming to this committee in January.
44.7 Continuing the theme of energy efficiency and helping to tackle fuel poverty, we have been working with partners within the Your Energy Sussex partnership to procure a licensed energy supply partner.
44.8 Through an OJEU compliant procurement process the partnership selected Robin Hood Energy as our delivery partner. Robin Hood Energy are a not-for profit licensed energy company wholly owned by Nottingham City Council.
44.9 Your Energy Sussex, will offer a range of competitive, council-backed energy tariffs to residents with a focus on good customer service, fairness and transparency.
44.10 The aim is that a ‘soft launch’ will take place in December 2017, with a larger launch and specific campaigns taking place in early 2018. A full report will be presented to this committee in January 2018.
44.11 Moving on to increasing the supply of housing in the city, I am pleased to confirm that the DCLG funding of £464,000 for community led housing has now been awarded to Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust.
44.12 The funding will be used to set up a Community Housing ‘Hub’ to take the project forward. This reflects the council’s continued commitment to working with community housing providers as another way of responding to housing need in the city. A pilot self-build co-operative scheme is due to start on site shortly and the council will work with the Hub to identify other opportunities including looking at council land and sites.
44.13 The council will be represented on both the Hub’s Steering Group which oversees activities and an Assessment Panel which will examine specific projects/schemes put forward for funding.
44.14 Key outcomes of the Hub include increasing the amount of community led housing; increase awareness of community housing in general and responding to site opportunities. The Hub will also act as one central point of referral for community housing in the city.
44.15 Following on from creating more homes, I am pleased to update you on a truly successful community event held in Whitehawk which was organised by colleagues in Neighbourhoods Communities and Housing.
44.16 Housing staff joined a wide range of agencies and people from the community across all tenures to engage in the conversation about what they want for their area at the Whitehawk Community Day.
44.17 Housing staff recorded really useful feedback from 76 tenants during the day which will be added to Housing’s contribution to the East Brighton Neighbourhood plan.
44.18 The event allowed conversations with other service providers and will help to maintain connections to ensure we work together more effectively. Attendees included the Trust for Developing Communities HRA- funded Youth Programme working with Housing’s Resident Involvement Team and the Crew Club; Children’s Service and our Work & Learning Team; Southdown Housing’s Floating Mental Health Service and Housing Options Trailblazer Project; Digital Brighton & Hove; SHINE project; Race Hill Orchard, Serendipity, Employment & Enterprise; and many more.
44.19 Activities were provided for the children including face painting and drawing competition with 18 children entering drawings of “what they love most about their homes” and Mears kindly donating the main prize, the Xbox360 which was won by Ruby Taylor, from Whitehawk Way.
44.20 Four groups of residents asked to work with the Resident Involvement Team to make improvements to their estates from Wiston Road, Haybourne Road, Crossbush Road, Whitehawk Way.
44.21 Tenants told us how much they “love their homes and the place they live” with a lasting memory from the event from a little boy who told staff that he loves living in Whitehawk and he loves his home and his friends but could we please build more houses for the homeless people.