As we reflect on a year like no other, we do so with pride.
On 1 April 2021, we celebrated our first birthday as the new and improved Great Places following our merger with Equity. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we’ve achieved some fantastic things this year. We continue to be vision driven and values led, and we are stronger, more resilient and better placed to deal with our current operating environment.
Thanks to the efforts of our incredible colleagues and partners, we have continued to deliver our vision of Great Homes, Great Communities and Great People. The business has continued to perform well and we have delivered our year-one integration plans, welcoming around 200 new colleagues into the business and launching our new GREATER Together operating culture.
Despite exceptional circumstances and following a huge amount of work by colleagues, we are delighted to have regained our G1/V1 regulatory status. We have also continued to build new homes and through the dedication of our frontline colleagues across our Repairs, Neighbourhoods, Plumlife and Independence and Wellbeing teams, we maintained essential frontline services for our thousands of customers. In addition, we have also supported communities, raised millions of investment finance through our Bond, extended our grant-funding contract, established Terra Nova (our in-house construction company) and put roofs over the heads of entrenched rough sleepers.
As the devastating impact of the pandemic unfolded, our main priority was to support our customers, colleagues and the community organisations most affected across our regions. In direct response to the pandemic and with the generous support of our suppliers and contractors, we launched the Great Places Hardship and Community Resilience Funds. The Funds provided over £100k of financial support to community-based projects and initiatives that are often a lifeline to customers and make a significant difference to their lives. We also contributed £35k to support the co-ordination of customer referrals to Local Authority Support Response Hubs, providing our customers with seamless access to their Local Authority support offer.
On the first anniversary of our merger, we also launched our two-year tactical Corporate Plan, Building Greatness, which focuses on delivering stability, collaboration and ambition. Looking forward, we remain committed to completing our Integration Programme and operating seamlessly as one business by March 2022. By March 2023, as we realise the full benefits of the merger, our aim is to deliver an enhanced offer for our customers, an even more ambitious development programme to tackle the housing crisis and achieve estimated savings of £3M per annum.
We are also committed to responding to the ever-changing external environment and working closely with our customers to deliver the transformational changes outlined in the Social Housing White Paper, addressing the emerging Building Safety Legislation and ensuring our customers live in decent, healthy homes.
Thank you for reading our Annual Report. We hope you enjoy it.