Ocean’s wave of Energy Efficiency Works starts

Posted on

It’s all go on a programme of works for two families in Ocean Housing homes, as the scaffolding goes up in Foxhole and St Stephens. After installing new heating systems in over 2,000 of our homes over the last 18 years, we are now looking at how we can go one step further with our traditional ‘Cornish unit’ built properties.

Always looking at ways of improving the energy efficiency of our properties, Ocean Housing recently received Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Warm Homes Funding, to support us deliver our energy efficiency works, which will target properties that are difficult to heat.

We plan to insulate and renew the roofs & mansards, install external wall insulation to the ground floor elevations and upgrade the heating systems to 128 of their homes. No mean feat in the two year window we have set ourselves. Working closely with our customers, we hope to cause minimal disruption and ensure no-one need move out during the works.

Steven and Rachel Townsend, who live in one of Ocean Housing’s larger homes in Foxhole with their six children, will benefit from this work and said

We are very excited to be involved with the project and had no hesitation in saying yes when Ocean asked us”.  Works have already started in their home and should be completed by the end of April. “We are looking forward to a warmer home and more economical bills”.

Stephen Channing, Ocean Housing’s Project Manager stated that

Once completed, the difference these works will provide in terms of heating customers homes, the potential reduction in fuel bills and the external appearance of their home, will be very noticeable straight away”.

At present we plan to complete the programme of 128 homes over the next two years, but hope to expand the programme further in the future, if funding becomes available.

Being proud of the work we are doing to improve our customers’ homes, Ocean Housing will be sending out regular updates on the project via our social media channels, so follow us to track its progress.

Icon Facebook sml Facebook 

Twitter

Ocean’s new Chair tables plans for Group’s future

Posted on

On the eve of its 18th birthday, Ocean Housing Group has appointed its new Chair, education and leadership professional Debbie Wilshire, to take over the mantle from Dennis Spilsbury, who retired at the last meeting. Since Ocean took on the management of some 3,500 properties from the then Restormel Housing Trust in 2000, over £110million has been invested into those existing properties, and a further £144million into providing over a thousand new homes.

Ms Wilshire brings a wealth of board level experience to the growing Group of companies, which is headquartered in St Austell and employs over 240 local people across the parent group, construction company Gilbert & Goode and social landlord Ocean Housing. Her career has spanned legal studies, further education and the strategy and delivery of leadership and management, across Cornwall and nationally.

Mark Gardner, Ocean Group’s Chief Executive, welcomed Debbie to the role:

“I have seen first-hand the quality of Debbie’s contributions as Deputy Chair and Board  member and I am delighted at the prospect of working together to deliver the Group’s ambitions and continuing our positive impact on the Cornish economy.”

One of Ms Wilshire’s key priorities will be to take forward the Group’s new Corporate Strategy. This sets out the plans for 2018-2023, which will include 800 new homes of all tenures and an investment of £145million in new and existing homes. In particular, this will focus on improving the energy efficiency of Ocean’s stock and help its customers to keep warmer in winter.

Debbie Wilshire spoke of her passion for Cornwall, on taking up her new post as Ocean Group Chair:

“Cornwall needs housing providers that combine the business acumen to get things done, with the social conscience that cares about the people in each one of its homes. I am really looking forward to working with my very impressive Board colleagues and Ocean’s excellent Executive team. Together we will create innovative and customer-focused developments and services. As well as meeting the ambitions of those in housing need across the county, we will ensure a flowing pipeline of business for our supply chain partners.”

The Ocean Housing Group website includes more information about the plans outlined in this article and how you can get in touch:

www.ocean-group.co.uk.

Ocean Housing Group wins Training Award

Posted on

Ocean Housing Group was recognised twice over for its track record on the training and development of its staff, and its commitment to apprenticeships at the Excellence in Business Training Awards event hosted by Cornwall College Business Training.

We were winner of the Outstanding Commitment to Training (Large Business) Award and runner up in the Outstanding Commitment to Apprenticeships (Medium/Large Business).

Mark Gardner, Group Chief Executive for Ocean Housing Group said

“It is great to be recognised for all that we’ve managed to achieve this year for learning and development across the whole group business.”

Staff at Ocean have benefited from its desire to be an employer of choice and Ocean has invested in training opportunities to the tune of £400,000 in the last five years.

This has been spent on skills training for staff and on educational qualifications. Ocean has run a number of training events for staff from IT skills to Understanding Mental Health. It has also supported staff to gain qualifications in Housing, Finance and Surveying, from NVQ level 2 and 3 to Degree level qualifications. Many staff have progressed from apprenticeships through to senior management roles.

Frances Turner, Managing Director for Ocean Housing Ltd explained

“We want to provide the support and opportunities for staff to achieve their full potential, by giving them freedom to try things out and do things differently and they are supported in that with the relevant skills and training.”

Ocean has worked in partnership with Cornwall College Business to take advantage of the last of the European funding available to provide Management skills training for its staff, providing CMI Level 3 and 4 qualifications. Ocean has also recently launched its own in house Leadership Programme called LEAP, run by IF Development, to help develop its current and future leaders.

Craig Rowe, Development Manager for Gilbert & Goode Ltd said

“I joined Ocean on a graduate placement scheme in the HR Team, before moving to Development as a Development Officer and have recently been promoted to Development Manager. Ocean has supported me in my professional Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor studies and I have benefited from a lot of in-house training too. I have really been able to build a career here at Ocean.”

Ocean are always keen to hear from anyone interested in joining our team who is innovative, ambitious and brave for the future and you can register your interest and receive alerts for job vacancies on the Ocean Housing Group website.

 Job Vacancies

Back to School approach is a winner for Ocean

Posted on

St Austell-based housing provider Ocean Housing brought a top national award home to the county this week after clinching the Best Partnership accolade at the Inside Housing Development Awards, at a glittering ceremony in London.

The Pras an Ferla scheme in Camelford, North Cornwall was the product of a creative and determined approach between lead partners Ocean Housing and Cornwall Council, in order to deliver much-needed homes in the market town and additional school places in nearby Indian Queens.

Louise Pyle, Head of Commissioning for Ocean Housing, explained how the partnership worked:

“Ocean owned land in Fraddon which was the only land available to facilitate the much needed expansion of the primary school, whilst Cornwall Council held a vacant, derelict school site in the centre of Camelford, an area of high housing need. A simple land swap and some clever and committed joint working ensured both parties were able to benefit the local communities.”

The scheme attracted the support of the Government’s Homes & Communities Agency in the form of a £1million grant to aid the delivery of the new homes, and Cornwall Council contributed an additional £400,000 to help the scheme become a reality.

Mark Gardner, Ocean’s Chief Executive, welcomed the award’s arrival in Ocean’s trophy cabinet:

“Ocean seeks to engage local partners and communities to deliver needs-based housing for Cornwall. I was thrilled to endorse the Camelford partnership, which was an ambitious and progressive approach linking education, housing and regeneration and forms part of our business plans to provide 800 new homes over the next 5 years.”

To enquire about current or forthcoming developments, visit www.oceanhousing.com/coming-soon.

Ocean Group Chair retires

Posted on

This December, we bid a very fond farewell to our Group Chair, Dennis Spilsbury.

There isn’t much Dennis doesn’t know about housing after spending the last 55 years of his career in the industry starting at Plymouth City Council back in 1962. Dennis joined Ocean Housing in 2002 as a Neighbourhood Services Officer. At that time, he was told his time with us was just for a few weeks; little did he realise it would turn into nearly 16 years.

“The best part of the role was getting out and about, meeting and helping residents. No day has ever been the same in my job and that’s why I’ve loved it,” says Dennis.

From Neighbourhood Services, Dennis then joined the Ocean Board back in 2006 and took up the Deputy Group Chair role in 2009 followed by Group Chair in 2011.

Mark Gardner, Ocean Group’s Chief Executive said
“Dennis demonstrates everything that’s good about Ocean Group. His commitment to us and especially the promotion of tenant and resident involvement is second to none. He will be greatly missed.”

Everyone at Ocean Group would like to thank Dennis for his long service and commitment to continually improving the service we provide. We wish him and his wife Gloria, a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Ocean heads West with another delivery of Affordable Homes

Posted on

St Austell-based housing provider Ocean Housing has celebrated further success on its mission to deliver quality new homes across Cornwall.  Residents of the Water Lane development of affordable homes in Hayle were joined by Ocean’s Board members, Dennis Spilsbury and Chris Durkin as well as Deputy Mayor Clive Polkinghorne, to share in the moment as Councillor Andrew Mitchell, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes, officially opened the scheme.

The 20 new properties have provided a real boost to local residents keen to obtain a place they can really call home. Mr Power, who has lived in the parish for many years confirmed:

‘“My new home has really changed my life, I feel secure in a great neighbourhood”.

Councillor Mitchell alongside Mark Gardner, Ocean Group’s Chief Executive, were invited for a tour inside the properties and see how the new residents have settled in. Mark commented:

 

“It is great to see residents moving in to our properties in time for Christmas and making solid communities. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved at Water Lane.”

Developments continue apace at the Ocean Housing Group, which incorporates quality Cornish construction firm Gilbert & Goode. Just after Christmas, Ocean will be completing a further 26 properties for rent and shared ownership. What a great start to the New Year!

For more information about our properties in the pipeline, visit www.oceanhousing.com/coming-soon.

Blackwater arrival

Posted on

St Austell-based housing provider Ocean Housing has completed a development of new homes in Blackwater, providing 12 Affordable Rent and 4 Shared Ownership homes for local people. The scheme was delivered in partnership with their sister company Gilbert and Goode, who built 8 homes for open market sale on the same site. All of these homes are already under offer.

blackwater-siteplan-elevations

Rural Life 2017

The National Housing Federation has recently launched its report confirming that Housing Associations providing affordable housing have assisted in halting the decline in rural services and communities. The arrival of Ocean’s North Hill Gardens development in Blackwater is a great example of delivering homes for young people, ensuring the future of the village and surrounding rural area.

The need for quality, affordable homes in Blackwater is high with over 150 registered interests in the 4 Shared Ownership properties alone. The number of people registered with HomeChoice throughout Cornwall for affordable rent is nearly 19,000 as of February 2017.  The demand shown proves that providing local people with somewhere to live is a predominant issue throughout Cornwall, with house prices escalating and incomes decreasing.

“We didn’t think we would be able to purchase our own house within the local parish that we both grew up in, and being close to our families. Thanks to the shared ownership scheme it has been possible,” commented delighted young couple Laura and Richard, who both work in the area.

Ocean Housing has a further 117 Affordable Rent and 46 Shared Ownership properties on site throughout Cornwall and is actively scoping further pipeline sites.

For more information, visit www.oceanhousing.com/coming-soon, email help@oceanhousing.com or call 01726 874450.

Cornish Carpenter wins the apprentice

Posted on

18 year old Alex Prynne was crowned Carpentry Apprentice of the Year at the recent Cornwall Construction Training Group (CCTG) Apprentice Awards, the largest construction event in the county. Well over 300 attendees from the construction industry toasted his success at the awards ceremony, held at St. Mellion International Resort, Saltash.

St Austell-based Cornish contractor Gilbert & Goode recognised Alex’s potential and offered him a job in 2015. As well as working on a variety of sites and learning his craft, Alex is also studying his NVQ at Cornwall College.

The awards were presented by All Black rugby legend Zinzan Brooke.

‘Hard work does pay off!’

Alex spoke of his delight on receiving the award:

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Gilbert & Goode and having the opportunity to learn and train locally. I never thought I would be Apprentice of the Year but it just goes to show that hard work does pay off!”

Local Talent

The accolade is the latest success for Gilbert & Goode, part of the Ocean Housing Group, which has continued to create opportunities and invest in young local talented people, whilst experiencing double-digit growth year-on-year. Gilbert & Goode continues to be an employer of choice in the local area and provides a variety of recruitment opportunities.

Simon Caklais, Managing Director of Gilbert & Goode said:

“Our talented and enthusiastic apprentices are the future of our business and very much continue to be a part of our recruitment strategy.” 

For information about opportunities with Gilbert & Goode, keep an eye on our Jobs board.

Apprentices set sail at Ocean

Posted on

The start of August saw six fresh faces arriving at St Austell-based Ocean Housing Group Ltd to take up their apprenticeships.

Skills and Employment

Ocean has now supported over 100 local people to complete apprenticeships and gain skills and employment in Cornwall and is looking forward to working in partnership with Cornwall College to train these latest recruits.

Daisy Herdman shared her excitement at gaining an apprenticeship place:

“Carpentry was a trade I had been dreaming about, so it’s a great opportunity and a dream come true!”

All the apprentices will now benefit from an intensive period of induction to help them settle into their new roles.

Career Pathways

Mark Gardner, Group Chief Executive spoke of his passion for creating career pathways for local people:

“Ocean wants to be an employer of choice and create training opportunities for people and our apprenticeship programme is a key part of this and is always very competitive to secure a place.”

 Apprentices

The apprentices embarking on their new career are:

Daisy Herdman        
Apprentice Carpenter for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)

Christian Adams 
Apprentice Electrician for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)

Will Chapman      
Apprentice Plumbing & Heating for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)

Emelye Thomas   
Apprentice Business Administration for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Customer Services)

Emily Bowler    
Apprentice Business Administration for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Neighbourhood Services)

Chad Hughes
Apprentice Plumbing & Heating for Gilbert & Goode Ltd

Ocean takes on apprentices each year and anyone interested in an apprenticeship at Ocean, the next applications will open in April 2018, so keep an eye on www.ocean-group.co.uk/apprenticeships.

That calls for a coffee!

Posted on

70 homes

4 schemes

1 School expansion

…and maybe an award

– that calls for a coffee!

Phase 4 Fraddon resident welcomes Mark Gardner (Chief Exec Ocean Group) and Kate Kennally (Chief Exec Cornwall Council) for a cuppa.

Fraddon

St Austell-based housing provider Ocean Housing welcomed delighted new residents and Cornwall Council Chief Executive Kate Kennally to their latest housing development in Fraddon.

Welcome Day for Fraddon residents, Ocean Staff, Tenant Panel members and Cornwall Council dignitories

Continue reading