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Thrive residents play a key part in selecting new contractors

Published 27th June, 2016 by Neil Nixon

Thrive residents play a key part in selecting new contractors

Thrive Homes put its residents at the heart of the decision-making process before awarding its new communal cleaning and grounds maintenance contracts. The housing association involved its tenants and leaseholders in every stage of the process before awarding its communal cleaning contract to Pinnacle PSG and its grounds maintenance work to Lotus Landscapes Ltd, with a sub-contract to social enterprise, Let's Talk Grounds Maintenance (LTGM). Thrive's tenants and leaseholders helped specify the work involved in the new five-year contracts before forming part of a panel which helped select the contractors, including taking part in site visits.

Watford-based Thrive owns and manages more than 4300 rented and leasehold properties in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Buckinghamshire, and the new contracts will cover around 300 blocks of property and 86 communal gardens. Three gardens identified by the project team - at Otley Way in South Oxhey, Ryman Court in Chorleywood, and Sherwood House in Abbots Langley - needed more planting and intensive gardening. The work on these areas will be carried out by LTGM as sub-contractors within the new grounds maintenance contract.

LTGM, run by mental health charity Hertfordshire Mind Network, provides work, training and volunteering opportunities to its clients, only employing people who have experienced mental health issues. It has already done some work for Thrive residents who needed their gardens tidying.

As part of the contract, Garston-based LTGM will be producing a 'journey log' to demonstrate the impact awarding the contract has had for themselves, as well as the benefit their work brings to Thrive's residents. Thrive's partnership with LTGM has already seen it win first place in the national Social Value Awards, which were launched at the end of 2015 by Procurement for Housing to recognise initiatives which demonstrate the importance of social value within communities and neighbourhoods.

Clare Brimson, head of services (West Herts) at Herts Mind Network, said: “Our grounds maintenance operatives work with us for up to a year. We help build their confidence and support them to get back into work. We work on 12 other sites across Hertfordshire, so it's great for us to have an additional contract.”

The rest of the grounds maintenance work will be carried out by Hampshire-based family business Lotus Landscapes Ltd, which has taken on five new staff - including three Thrive residents - to work on the contract.
Louise Richards, business development manager for Lotus Landscapes, said: “We want to work together with Thrive to get the best results for their residents. When Thrive talk about partnership working, they really mean it and we're excited about this contract. To this end our supervisor, Michael Codd, has worked closely with the residents, prior to the start of the contract, so that he can improve the environment for them.”

Pinnacle PSG was the existing cleaning contractor when the previous contract expired at the end of March. Facilities management director, Neil Fergus, said: “We have been working with Thrive Homes for more than five years now and are thrilled to be able to continue this relationship well into 2021. We pride ourselves on providing excellent services to our customers, with this renewed contract a testament to all of the hard work the team has put in over the past few years.”

Anne Bijum, head of homes and neighbourhoods at Thrive, added: “It's vital to Thrive and our residents that the areas in and around their homes are well maintained. It's also crucial for our residents to feel involved in the decision-making process, so they played a key part in every stage. Social values are important to us, and we're pleased we'll be continuing to work with Hertfordshire Mind Network because we want to help benefit our local community. Overall, these contracts give our residents greater control than ever before, and we're looking forward to working with our new partners.”

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