24 August 2016
Moving house is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do. Now imagine being involved in more than 900 house moves in just four years.
That’s been the task of a dedicated team of Relocation Support Officers at Nottingham City Homes (NCH). From initial visits with tenants and leaseholders, to helping each household find a new home, providing support and guidance on the logistics of moving - as well personal support to those feeling the impact of their move - the team has worked tirelessly to ensure everyone who has been moved is happy and settled in their new home.
Hundreds of homes are being built by NCH and Nottingham City Council as part of Building a Better Nottingham – and a demolition programme has been running in tandem as old properties are knocked down and replaced with new homes. Tower blocks in Lenton and Radford, flats in the Meadows and Strelley, and a number of disused garage sites have been demolished to make way for brand new, energy efficient homes.
The Relocation Support Team has moved people who are vulnerable and is some cases had lived in their homes for more than 45 years. The team completed the programme this summer, and have been over-whelmed with thank you cards and messages of praise for a job well done.
Paul Stanley, Head of Lettings and Housing Options at NCH, said: “Moving house is one of the most difficult and stressful things you can do. Before we even started this programme, we were very aware how hard a process this would be for the tenants, and our team was determined to do whatever it could to support them.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved. We had to increase the size of the team from two people to seven during the most intense periods, but despite the incredible demands we put on them, they delivered the job to an excellent standard, which is been clear in all the compliments they’ve had from happy tenants.”
The team carried out around 900 rehoming cases in a programme that included:
- Visiting 900 different homes - many of them multiple times
- Completing and registering over 900 rehousing applications
- Making offers of new homes to 900 tenants (in some cases on multiple occasions)
- Signing up 900 tenancy agreements
- Offering help and advice with rents and benefits for 900 people
- Organising new carpets and utilities for 900 new homes
- Helping organise 900 mail redirections
- Organising 900 disconnections and reconnections of appliances.
It wasn’t just the one team that made this programme possible. Paul continued: “We can’t just congratulate our team on its own - a programme like this takes a huge effort and there were numerous areas across NCH that we have to thank for their input, not to mention the tenants themselves who have been supportive throughout.”
Doreen McFadden was a tenant of Newgate Court for more than forty years when she heard she would have to move. All Newgate Court residents were given first refusal of the brand new apartments being built opposite Newgate at Palmer Court in Lenton. With the help of her relocation support officer, Doreen chose an apartment at Palmer Court and is delighted with her new home.
She said: “I’d been in Newgate for such a huge part of my life, it was very difficult to think about having to leave. In fact, if you’d have asked me back then, I would have said you’d have to drag me over to Palmer Court - now you’d have to drag me back!
"It was the right move for me and I’m very happy here. The ladies from the relocation team were so helpful and I’m very grateful for the support they and my family gave me.”
Councillor Alex Ball, Executive Assistant with responsibility for Housing at Nottingham City Council, said: “The Building a Better Nottingham programme is often seen to be delivered by the construction teams who are building new homes across the city. But we mustn’t forget the fantastic work that goes on behind the scenes which has been essential to making the programme work.
“The Relocation Support team has provided a first class service to residents from helping people to find a new home, to ensuring the moving day went as smoothly as possible, and is some cases literally putting the kettle on as they helped the tenant settle into their new home.
“All the teams involved deserve huge praise for taking on this programme of work and I’m delighted to hear the positive stories from those who have been supported.”
All 1,018 houses programmed for demolition have now been knocked down, with new homes already built on many of the cleared. They include 52 homes on the former high rise sites in Radford, and a brand new independent living scheme with 55 flats now in the place of high rise blocks in Lenton. These are joined in Lenton by 16 brand new bungalows, which were completed earlier this summer and a further 62 homes, which are expected to be completed and occupied by the end of this year. This week NCH and NCC launched the next round of building on the site as 17 family homes and four flats are set to begin construction later this year, following the demolition of the Church Square precinct which is no longer occupied. More homes are underway in The Meadows, Strelley, Colwick and St Ann’s, with more to come soon in Bestwood.