Hello and welcome to my August 2022 Chief Executive’s Blog!
My blogs this year will all be about our Inspired by Our Communities approach, looking at a different priority area from your feedback each time. As a reminder, the areas you highlighted as priorities (in terms of needing investment, focus or improvement) are:
- Communication – improving how we communicate with our tenants and each other
- Good Customer Access – making it easier for you to contact us
- Quality of Life – supporting you through financial hardship, employment, training
- Quality of home – managing repairs and maintenance, providing properties with fencing and hedging
- Environment – creating and maintaining green spaces, gardens and parks
- Community Safety – managing anti-social behaviour and interactions with the police, and ensuring you feel safe in your community good neighbours
- Shaping Services Around Tenants – respecting our customers, and prioritising community activities.
This month’s blog will focus on ‘Environment’.
South Manchester is a beautiful area, and we’re fortunate to have a lot of green spaces, parks and gardens right on our doorsteps. We know that over the last couple of years in particular, people have realised how important nature is to our health and wellbeing, and this came through strongly in the Inspired by Our Communities conversations we had last year. Southway is committed to working closely with our tenants and residents to make sure these spaces are prioritised. This blog updates you on a few things we’re doing to ensure that they remain places people can feel proud of.
Our contractor, Urban Green, started a visual tree survey across all our estates and developments back in March. Once it’s complete, this will tell us how many trees we have, and what condition they’re in, so can plan in any work that needs to take place, from maintenance to planting. We will also be able to calculate how much carbon is retained by our tree stock as part of our Zero-Carbon strategy.
We have 157 green spaces, ranging from grass verges to an award-winning Green Flag site. We maintain these spaces through a contract with local horticultural and ground maintenance experts, Greenfingers, and are always looking for new ways to use them. We know that many of you made use of them during lockdown and continue to do so, but if you have any ideas about how we can use or improve them even more, we’d love to hear from you.
We’ve carried out several community activities recently where tenants and residents have been invited to get involved, sparking great interest in our nature trails, habitat enhancements and local clean-ups. Our Rangers have also worked with local schools on environmental education, and developed a new partnership with Groundwork, raising community awareness on the importance of our open spaces.
We will be holding events at three of our green spaces over the summer, with Southway staff on hand to provide information and advice. On Tuesday 2nd August, a lovely time was had at Plover Terrace in Chorlton. You’ll also find us at the following green spaces for Fun Days on these dates:
- Thursday 11th August, 11am-2pm at Old Moat Lane Green Space (opposite Old Moat School), Old Moat Lane, Withington, M20 3FN
- Friday 12th August, 11am-2pm at Westcroft Road Green Space, Westcroft Road, Burnage, M20 6EF
The Tenant Scrutiny Panel is currently looking at the way we manage our green spaces and will be carrying out visits to several of the sites to look at the costs involved and talk to tenants who live near them. They will then produce a report with recommendations for improvements, which will be considered by our People and Places Committee.
We’re lucky enough to have several lovely parks in our area, all owned and managed by Manchester City Council (MCC). We often work with MCC and local community groups to host joint events in local parks – for example, we recently supported the annual Merseyfest event, organised and funded by Barlow Moor Community Association, which took place on Parkway Playing Fields in June. Not only that but we’ve also been asked to contribute to future development plans for the park.
ERDF Project, Arrowfield area, Chorlton
As part of an initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of our community, we’ve recently made some real progress on our Arrowfield Air Source Heat Pump project. We’ve appointed two main contractors to install new, energy-efficient heat pump technology into our properties: one to do the houses, and another to retrofit the apartments.
The Project Hub has been open for some weeks now and has seen a steady flow of interested tenants looking for more information as well as myth-busting. The hub itself will be the first property to be converted, making it an ideal training location and somewhere to learn about and experience the benefits of a heat pump. By the end, we hope to have converted 387 homes to cheaper, low-carbon heating systems, as well as improving the cavity wall and roof insulation in every Southway home. Once it’s complete, the project will save over 300 tonnes of CO2 per year.
If you have any comments about this blog, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the form below or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good or bad, my ears are always open!