Riverside recognised for helping hand
Published by Riverside for Riverside in Housing and also in Communities
Rosemary Shrager with her veterans biscuits
Housing provider Riverside has been shortlisted for two national awards for projects which provide support to those who need a helping hand.
In the 24 Housing Awards, Riverside has been named as a finalist in the Welfare Wise category for its raft of measures to support residents affected by the under-occupation penalty known as the ‘bedroom tax’ and Riverside ECHG is in the running for the title of Care and Support Provider of the Year for its veterans services.
Riverside’s initiatives to support residents through welfare reform include money advisors to help residents maximise their income, employment and training officers to help people overcome barriers to work and affordable warmth officers to help tackle fuel poverty.
Riverside has also signed up to House Exchange and Home Swapper to help those who want to downsize find a suitable property and has partnered with Trussel Trust foodbanks in a bid to ease food poverty. In addition, the organisation’s Customer Service Centre Staff have had training from The Samaritans to deal with distressed and suicidal callers.
RECHG’s veterans services, which provides a national telephone advice line as well as temporary housing, training and support at facilities, supports around 1,000 homeless ex-Servicemen and women each year.
As part of their campaign to provide veterans with greater access to therapeutic support, training and employment opportunities, RECHG brought together commerce, social enterprise and grant funding in the form of the Veterans Artisan Bakery at The Beacon, near Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.
In partnership with the bakery, celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager has produced a range of biscuits, net profit sales of which are donated back to the bakery.
Carol Matthews, Chief Executive of Riverside, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised for the work we do around welfare and our services to those who have served their country.”
The winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony at Ashton Villa football club on 7 November.
Notes to editors:
- In the last financial year, we’ve helped residents access £2,136,704 in unclaimed benefits, which reduced rent arrears by £200,918. Since the start of the year we’ve completed 203 Discretionary Housing Payment Claims on behalf of our tenants. Of these 129 were successful, the value of which is £33,248.50, and 61 are pending.
- In the last 12 months we gave employment and training advice to 4,729 residents. We helped 3,798 residents into training, 662 residents into employment and 739 into volunteering.
- The CESP funding, which allowed us to upgrade 2,250 homes with solid wall insulation, new boilers and loft and cavity insulation, resulted in a carbon reduction of 4,120 tonnes per year.and a saving to our tenants £675,000 per year. We estimate that around 900 private owners have directly benefitted from Riverside initiated schemes with investment of £6.6m.
- We have over 2,000 Riverside tenants registered on HomeSwapper and House Exchange already and we have seen a 100% increase in sign-ups since the ‘bedroom tax’ penalties came into effect in April.
- Riverside has partnered with nine Trussel Trust foodbanks across Merseyside, donating over £28,351 over the last couple of years. These foodbanks helped feed and support 23,432 people in the last financial year and 10,994 people in the first three months of the bedroom tax. These foodbanks have given out 153 tons of food in the last financial year and 103 tons in the first three months of the bedroom tax.
- On average the Customer Service Centre takes 40,000 calls a month. The number of callers due to rent arrears has risen from 11% to 14.5%. Suicidal calls are now coming in at a rate of around three per week.