Orbit is proud to transform lives and communities through our mission of building brighter futures. Below are just some examples of the lives we have transformed. These link to our Annual Report 2010/11, which can be found here.
When Tom Hooper and Hayley Rider found out Hayley was pregnant, they were both living with their respective parents and didn’t think they’d be able to afford a home of their own. As the Rugby-based couple looked into their options, they decided against privately renting and found social rented accommodation wasn’t an option. However, the more the couple looked into buying a home, the more seemed against them, with high deposit requirements and lack of mortgage availability.
Their luck changed when they found out about the Government-backed HomeBuy scheme after searching on the internet. The couple came across New Build HomeBuy, where they could buy a share of the property and rent the remaining share at a subsidised rate, which seemed like an affordable option for them. They decided to apply through Orbit HomeBuy Agents and had their application accepted – soon after they found an Orbit Homes development in their home town offering the scheme and a three-bedroom house that suited them. They could afford to buy a 30 per cent share in the house so went ahead with the process, which completed in Summer 2010.
Just four days after the young couple moved into their new home, Hayley gave birth to their baby boy, Oscar. Both Tom and Hayley are adamant they wouldn’t have been able to afford their own home without buying through the HomeBuy scheme, in fact, they are sure without it they’d have been trying to raise their young family while living with their own parents. The HomeBuy scheme has given them an independent start to family life and a first step onto the property ladder – and Hayley is now expecting their second child!
Mr P, 63, is a single man living in a home he inherited from his parents – he has lived there for as long as he can remember. He has mental health problems, sometimes finds it difficult to cope and often suffers from anxiety and depression. Mr P was initially referred to Care and Repair by the fire brigade when they were unable to get into the property to fit a fire alarm due to the amount of clutter in the way.
Once the Care and Repair team accessed the property, they found that as well as being full of clutter (sometimes up to head-height), it was dark, dingy and damp, the lean too/conservatory was overgrown with vines and weeds, the rear lounge had mushrooms growing in it and there was a smouldering smell from a faulty cooker. The property was infested with vermin and his neighbour had put in a claim against Mr P for damp issues affecting their property.
Initially the team started work, doing things like clearing the clutter to find the source of the leak to his neighbour’s property and fixing it, putting in plug in devices to deter the mice, and then applying for funding to begin to work in earnest on Mr P’s home. His crisis caseworker worked with Mr P to secure funding to stage an intervention and cleared over five tonnes of rubbish from his home, as well as finding grants for repairing and cleaning. Mr P also received debt advice in a bid to alleviate his financial difficulty, as he was £23,000 in debt when Care and Repair started working with him.
Care and Repair has now been working with Mr P for around five years and he is one of their success stories. He is still receiving support to enable him to become more confident with dealing with his hoarding issues, but over those five years he has come an incredibly long way and his home is now a place he can enjoy living in with a far greater degree of independence. Mr P himself has said: “if it weren’t for the help from Orbit it doesn’t bare thinking about what my state would be today.”
Mr I lives with his wife in Suffolk, and their home became at risk of possession after the couple fell behind on their mortgage payments. Mr I suffered a fracture of the spine after being involved in a car accident and was unable to continue in his job. The benefit he was receiving was not enough to cover his outgoings and he was falling deeper in to debt. After visiting his local Citizens Advice Bureau, Mr I was referred to his local authority to submit an application to the mortgage rescue scheme, he said: “From start to finish I received a helpful and professional service. The team made me feel like they were really there for me and were always understanding with my situation.”
The couple’s application was successful and they were accepted on to the mortgage rescue scheme via Orbit’s Mortgage Rescue service, saving their home from repossession. Mr I said: “I am very pleased with the help I received from the mortgage rescue caseworkers and it was down to their prompt action that we were able to remain in our home. I would definitely recommend the scheme to other people who are at risk at losing their property.”
Emma was 16 when she was made homeless due to a family breakdown, she had anger issues, was using drink and drugs and self harming. She was not in education or unemployment, and was finding her relationships with others were very difficult. Emma was in an incredibly vulnerable state, but her life started to turn around when she was given a place at Deepmore House, a supported scheme in Rugby, Warwickshire, and given a support worker. Initially, Emma was given support to obtain Housing Benefit and Income support to ensure she was financial stable. In January 2009, she was supported to start a course with the Princes Trust which boosted her confidence and self esteem. In September 2009, Emma started back in full time education studying for her A-levels and then applied for University.
Emma was also given help to overcome her substance abuse issues and her self harming, as well as being taught life skills and receiving advice and support on issues such as sexual health.
The maximum stay at Deepmore House is usually two years, but Emma's support worker negotiated with Supporting People to extend this so she could stay on until she went to university, to ensure support was maintained. In August of this year, Emma got her A-level results - 2 As and 1 B – and is going to Sheffield on 17th September to study Law, with help from staff at Deepmore to obtain a student loan. Emma said: “I look back over the years and can see that the support from the Deepmore staff team has given me the courage to change the direction in which my life was heading.”
Mrs Eden lives in Tysoe, Warwickshire in a three-bedroom house built in the 1960s. With energy prices rising, Mrs Eden was becoming worried about whether she would have enough money to pay her bills and keep her home warm, especially because since being widowed, she has had to pay her bills on her own.
However, as part of a retrofit project to trial energy efficiency measures on the whole estate, Mrs Eden is now reaping the benefits of Orbit’s sustainability programme. In February 2011, Orbit installed eight photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of her home, meaning that she is now able to harness the power of the sun to help provide her domestic electricity. Mrs Eden is seeing the benefits – rather than putting £40 a week into her meter, she now only puts in £5 and has said she is ‘over the moon’ with the work that’s been done.
As well as the PV panels, Mrs Eden also now has a ground source heat pump. The benefits of this are significantly reduced heating bills (often by more than half); a more sustainable form of energy with negligible carbon emissions compared to natural gas or mains electricity; as well as hot water being available whenever she needs it. Overall, Mrs Eden is thrilled with the work that’s been done and is far less worried about her bills.
At resident drop-ins, a resident could ask me anything about their tenancy, so it’s vital I have the information at my fingertips. Having the iPad means I can usually give them the information they need straight away. In drop-ins, I’ve been able to check on the status of a repair for someone, and been able to tell them there and then when it will be done. If I’d done these surgeries before having my iPad it wouldn’t have been nearly so quick and easy to provide such good customer service.
And using the Customer Relationship Management system alongside the iPad works really well. I can be visiting a resident, they can tell me about a repair and I can task someone straight away, without having to go back to the office to do it. Or if a resident is querying their rent payments, I can bring their records up there and then, and go through things with them. It means the time I’d have spent driving to and from the office can be spent elsewhere, such as doing more home visits.
Another bonus is that when I have a day of appointments, it can often happen that one is cancelled and there’s not enough time to go to the office and back before my next one. The iPad really comes in handy then, I can catch up on work and emails while out and about, and can look up information about my next visits. I feel like with the iPad I can make a really efficient use of my time.