The Association is committed to delivering the highest level of service and comfort to tenants.  We think it is important to let you know that Board members have agreed a £6.6 million spending package to upgrade existing homes.  Living standards are therefore set to improve for hundreds of you across the North East of Scotland.  £26 million (including grant from the Scottish Government) will also be invested in building new homes for tenants and housing applicants.

Major repairs
The budget for capital (major routine) repairs is prepared annually, following consultation with tenants and regular review of the Association's business plan.  It is shaped by your priorities as well as those of the Board.  The budget takes into account the most pressing maintenance and improvements needed to keep your homes modern and safe as well as statutory requirements and the commitments outlined in the Association's business plan.

Energy efficiency
We recognise the need for increasing energy efficiency due to rising energy costs.  In the first grant award of its kind from the Social Housing Net Zero Heat Fund, the Association was successful in attracting over £300k grant from the Scottish Government for a project at our housing scheme in Turriff.  Communal air source heat pumps supported by solar panels and battery storage are being installed.  This means the whole scheme will be decarbonised by moving away from the current heating system of gas boilers which produce carbon dioxide and other green house gas emissions. 

The properties and existing heating requirements have been monitored with sensors over the winter.  The project is due for completion in summer and we expect to be able to prove the properties will be warmer and have lower heating costs next winter with the heat pumps.

Making these changes to existing buildings so that energy use and emissions are reduced (retrofit), like the project at Turriff, not only helps to lower tenants’ fuel costs and tackle fuel poverty, it makes homes more comfortable and healthier too.  It also supports the Association's "Net Zero Carbon by 2034", the commitment we look to protect the wider environment and reduce risks associated with climate change by not adding to the amount of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

We are currently surveying tenants' homes to establish the suitability of properties for the installation of solar panels on a large sclae and to identify retrofit works that will shape future major improvement programmes.

If a surveyor contacts you please arrange the visit as we use these surveys to prioritise our plan of works. 

New bathrooms/ktichens/replacement windows
During 2023/24, our maintenance company, TLC will install 216 new kitchens, 61 new bathrooms and replace windows in 69 homes as well as undertaking any repairs identified from our property surveys.

The spending programme is also set to involve improvements to common areas and stairwells, adapting homes in response to people’s health needs and tackling the causes of damp and mould.

Tenant safety
Compliance and tenant safety is a major priority for the Association, with legislation requiring annual gas servicing including a check that smoke alarms are functioning.  Faulty electrics is a common cause of fire.  We have a five yearly electrical inspection programme.  Your assistance providing access for our contractors is appreciated.

Rent increase
Despite financial pressures, the Board decided to keep the rent increase well below inflation at 6% during 2023/24.  This follows a previous rent increase of 4.1% in 2022/23 and a rent freeze in 2021/22.  The increase will enable the Association to ramp up capital investment into existing homes, including new energy efficiency upgrades as well as continue to deliver new build housing.

Chairman of the Board, Dr Abhi Agawal said: “More than 500 homes all over the North East of Scotland are set to benefit from improvements - making them warmer, greener, safer and more accessible for generations to come.  Our capital housing programme is about spending money where it is most needed so that we can help as many tenants as possible live well in safe, warm homes.

“That means making Association homes more energy efficient which will help to drive down bills.  It means building brand new homes in response to the huge demand we’re seeing.  We will keep listening to our tenants so that we can invest in those areas which will make the biggest difference to people’s lives.

“Post-pandemic, Brexit and in the face of a cost-of-living crisis and war in Ukraine, we know it remains a challenging time for tenants, for the Association's budget and for the construction industry at large.  Like everyone else we’ve seen our running costs rise but we must remain committed to tackling the region's twin housing supply and homelessness crises.  We also need to improve the standard of the housing we provide.

“I’m proud that, despite these many pressures, we’ve had agreement from the Board to invest so substantially this year.  As we move forward, we’ll need to continue to work with partners and make our case to the local authorities and the Scottish Government to maximise funding opportunities and keep our longer-term plans on track.”

 

Grampian Housing Association secures funding of over £186,000

Over 700 tenants of Grampian Housing Association are set to receive grants from the Scottish Government’s Social Housing Fuel Support Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.

With soaring energy bills and the cost of living crisis severely affecting many of the Association’s tenants, the funding will help households who are in, or at risk of, fuel poverty and hardship as a result of rising living costs.

Distribution of the funds will be managed by the Association’s tenancy sustainment projects, ASSIST (housing support), SMART (money advice) and Energy Advice. Tenants who meet the criteria are being identified and those who are eligible will be contacted.

Energy top-up payments of £245 from the £166,000 award from the Social Housing Fuel Support Fund will be issued.

The £20,000 grant from The National Lottery has enabled a new Heat and Eat Initiative to be established. Slow cookers, air fryers, heated throws, duvets and warm clothing will be distributed to tenants experiencing hardship because of the cost of living crisis. Food packs will also be distributed in partnership with CFINE, a local organisation tackling poverty.

Rachel Byiers, support services lead, Grampian Housing Association said:-

“We recognise the financial stress many of our tenants are experiencing and the tough choices they sometimes have to make between ‘eating and heating’, so we are delighted to be able to offer practical support during these difficult times.

“We will continue to support our tenants in any way we can as we face soaring energy prices and the cost-of-living crisis.”

Commenting on the successful funding applications, Carol Reid, housing operations lead at Grampian Housing Association said:-

“Securing this funding means we can now help lighten the financial load for many of our tenants who have been struggling to cope with current cost of living crisis”.

Tenants already in receipt of the funding commented:-

"The energy grant was a godsend and couldn't of come at a better time for me, like most I was struggling with my energy bills and this grant has meant I can heat my home for a few months without the worry. So happy I got the grant".

“I received an email from Grampian Housing today with regards to an “Energy Fund” that has been set up. Within 15 minutes of completing the online form I received vouchers which entitles me to £245 worth of energy (gas or electric). All I need to do now is pop into a post office with my key and identification to top up.”

“This morning I had £6.25 in my bank account to last me until the end of the week, so to receive this, and for it to actually be processed so quickly. It has been a complete godsend!  I can’t thank Grampian Housing enough for drawing this to my attention.”

"Receiving the card fund has really helped my situation as I have been really struggling topping up my energy meters".

According to the Scottish Government, the Fuel poverty rate is expected to increase to 39% in April 2023 when the Energy Price Guarantee increases for a typical household from £2,500 to £3,000. This will result in an additional 120,000 fuel poor households compared to October 2022, bringing the total number of households in fuel poverty in Scotland to 980,000, of which 860,000 (34%) will be in extreme fuel poverty.

Grampian is the largest housing provider based in the North East of Scotland, serving over 3,600 social rent and mid market rent households, along with over 1,000 factored owners and almost 500 sharing owners throughout Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray. It has a substantial development programme of new build homes and is committed to adding 600 properties to its portfolio by 2024 to play its part in addressing significant unmet housing need in the area.

We are excited to be launching a new Board Apprenticeship scheme to encourage tenants to become members of our voluntary Board of Management.

We are looking for tenants who:
• Can dedicate time (a few hours a month) to prepare for and attend meetings
• Commit to being the voice of tenants
• Can bring the experience of being a Grampian tenant to feed into our decision making and business plan ensuring our services are designed to meet the needs of tenants

What is being offered:
• Training and development
• Buddy/mentoring scheme
• An opportunity to shape Grampian’s services to tenants
• Personal and professional development

Interested?  Want to find out more?  Contact Katie Taylor, Engagement Lead NOW!

T: 01224 202900 | E: getinvolved@grampianhousing.co.ukGIiG Logo

 

 

Craig Festive

On behalf of Board members and staff at Grampian Housing Association, I’m taking this opportunity to wish you all a pleasant festive period.

I acknowledge that this time of year can be particularly challenging for a variety of reasons and this year it is likely to be heightened even further due to the impact that the cost of living crisis is having on many households.

Despite the challenges we have faced coming out of lockdown and now the present cost of living crisis, at Grampian we have strived to continue to provide a great service and have managed to attain good performance overall in key service areas. My frontline colleagues frequently comment on how much they enjoy working with you, our tenants and customers, and seeing you enjoy living in your homes and communities.

Neighbourhood Officers have been working hard to signpost tenants experiencing difficulties to our SMART (money advice), ASSIST (housing support) and Energy Advice projects as well as to any other appropriate agencies that can provide support and advice. If you would benefit from the help of these services, please reach out to your Neighbourhood Officer for more information.

In addition, our Asset Management Team has been focused on implementing a programme of improvements to your homes such as upgrading smoke alarms as your safety is paramount to us.  We are also striving to undertake energy efficiency measures where possible to help you cope with the energy crisis.

Grampian Housing Association continues to be here for you and as 2022 draws to a close, I would like to thank all of our tenants and customers and I look forward to working with you again in 2023.

Craig Stirrat
CEO

If you have any pre-loved items in good condition but looking for a new home, please consider donating them to one of these organisations who will sell your items at a reasonable cost to people in need.  Click the link below to for more information.

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