We continue to support customers through the cost-of-living crisis and our “Let’s Talk Rent” Campaign is enabling this. Between November 2022 and the end of March 2023 we sent out just over 24k text messages to customers, which helped us to collect over £1.5m of income. We also set up almost 4k new direct debits with customers and over 7k affordable payment arrangements.
The Income Collection team’s focus has moved to prevention and early support. The Money Advice team now sit in the Income Management team along with the Affordable Warmth team to help to identify customers with rent payment issues and support them to meet their priority bills of rent and utilities to sustain their tenancies. We are continuing to support customers during the cost-of-living crisis and providing the advice needed to sustain tenancies and avoid evictions.
The Riverside Foundation
We are committed to investing in added-value activities for individuals and broader communities, whilst delivering measurable positive outcomes. We are inherently committed to being an ethical and social landlord through the Riverside Foundation to deliver a range of initiatives and outcomes which ultimately improve the lives of our customers.
In 2022, The Riverside Group made a £2.5m contribution to the Riverside Foundation, which was one of the pledges made as part of the merger with One Housing Group. This £2.5m will be an annual donation, which will increase with inflation.
This new investment has enabled the Foundation to continue to deliver established services, whilst rapidly scaling up its support for communities, and seeking new ways to help people tackle the cost of living crisis.
During 2022/ 23, Riverside Foundation funding enabled Riverside to deliver projects which:
- Supported 497 people towards employment, delivering 115 people into jobs.
- Delivered £2.5m in cash gains/ savings to people through welfare benefits advice, and £73,119 through affordable warmth advice.
- Helped 126 vulnerable households sustain their tenancies.
The new funding also enabled the development of new partnerships. including:
- Can Cook providing 50 households with affordable ingredients and help to learn how to cook from scratch.
- Tutors United delivering tuition to 156 children in educationally disadvantaged areas.
- Street Doctors facilitating innovative educational sessions with children on knife crime.
- One Academy supplying coaching and vocational training to assist people into employment.
The new funding has also expanded our Helping Hands fund, providing £595,000 in small grants to 2,067 customers in need. This has enabled one-off purchases such as replacing a cooker, providing fuel top-up vouchers, or interview clothing.
We have also been able to introduce a new Community Fund, which has provided over £120,000 to local community groups, providing activities such as food banks, warm hubs, environmental projects and community events.
We work with our supply chain to support social value and responsible business. Our Group Procurement Policy commits to the creation of economic, social and environmental benefits for local communities. Our procurement activities are in line with the requirements of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. We encourage our supply chain to provide employment opportunities, work experience, training, volunteering and apprenticeship programmes. We also welcome contributions to the Riverside Foundation.