This year continued to be one of change for Guinness and the housing sector as a whole. But although we are operating in a period of uncertainty, our social purpose remains as strong as ever. We are here to improve people’s lives and create possibilities for them by delivering great service, creating a brilliant place to work, and ensuring we have the financial strength and capacity to build new homes, as well as investing in our existing homes.
Our successes are due to the commitment and energy of our people. We’re grateful for the work Guinness people do every day delivering great service and keeping people safe in their homes.
The year was one of growth for Guinness. In January we merged with Wulvern, welcoming 5,500 households and 200 colleagues to Guinness. Our shared values and commitment to customer service provide a solid foundation for integrating our operations in 2017/18 and we are pleased to be extending our development programme into Cheshire.
The year saw customer satisfaction continuing to improve. An important part of our approach has been the engagement of our customers in the design of our services and in contractor selection. Our investment in technology is also making it easier to access our services and for our people to respond. In early 2017/18 we launched Live Chat so our customers can now talk to us online. And during the year ahead our new CRM system will be extended to enable customers to book repairs online as well.
We have continued to invest in our existing homes. In 2016/17 we invested £73 million in maintaining, repairing and improving our existing homes. We also made significant investment in estate regeneration. The redevelopment of Loughborough Park in Brixton is in the sixth year of a seven year programme and is creating spacious energy efficient homes and outdoor spaces that foster a sense of community. We also completed the refurbishment of Delaney Heights in Salford, converting former student accommodation to provide local people with 119 homes at affordable rents. Our in-house repairs operation, Guinness Property, now provides services to over 42,000 Guinness households and has been our contractor on major projects like the refurbishment of Delaney Heights.
In 2016/17 we built 574 new homes, and we are on track to complete our three year target of 2,000 homes by 2018. The quality of the homes we build was recognised with an award for the One Manor Road development in Brighton.
To meet the needs of an ageing population, we have updated our vision for housing for older people. Our Quayside development in Totnes will offer exemplar accommodation, carefully designed amenities and advanced use of technology that will help older customers feel safe and retain their independence. Guinness Care delivers over 10,000 hours of care each week, achieving 94% customer satisfaction. We plan to expand services to private payers in 2017/18.
Our reorganisation to deliver more efficient and better services has continued, reducing our cost base by £8.8 million. We are pleased to report a surplus for the Group of £93.1 million for 2016/17, which will be entirely reinvested in our homes – existing and new.
We welcome the Government’s White Paper on Housing, and the recognition that homes of all tenures are needed to address the country’s housing crisis. We are committed to building as many homes as we can to help those in housing need. Likewise we welcome the recognition of the need for a sustainable long term solution to the funding of social care.
The tragic fire at Grenfell Tower reminds us of the importance of what we – and all housing associations – do. Our thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones and homes in the tragic fire. The safety of our customers in their homes remains our top priority.
Group Chief Executive
£280,000 saved for customers in heating bills
£7m unlocked for customers through government support
256 customers supported with our hardship fund