How Cadwyn Helped our Tenants Save Money on their Electricity Bills.

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Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun’s energy. They are fitted on roofs where there is little shading or anything to block out the sun. The panels do not need direct sunlight to work.  They can still create some electricity on a cloudy day.  The cells turn sunlight into electricity.  This can be used to run household appliances and lighting. Electricity can also be stored and sold back to the electricity provider.

 

Cadwyn have provided solar PV at over 180 of our tenant’s homes. The electricity created at these properties helps to pay for the panels.  It also provides free electricity to our tenants for certain times of the day.  This helps them to reduce their energy bills.

 

We visited each of the households where the panels were being fitted.  We gave our tenants advice on how best to make use of the panels. Thinking about daily routines and using more electricity during sunlight hours.  Things such as running washing machines or tumble dryers in the day benefited them.

 

We estimate that on average the households affected have saved approximately £289 per year.

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Home Farm Village

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Home Farm Village is Cadwyn’s first leasehold housing co-operative. This means that the 41 families / households living there have complete responsibility for managing their homes and community.

That means managing rent and rent collections in a way that makes the business sustainable. It also means taking control of repairs and dealing with contractors to make sure the standards of their homes are maintained.

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The group will manage tenant participation, public relations, anti-social behaviour and all other aspects of housing management. To make sure that our Board, and the members who support them felt able to do this we delivered an 18 month training programme to the group. In this programme they were able to learn about:

  • housing law
  • repair obligations
  • how social landlords conduct their business
  • the wider context of social housing across the UK

Towards the end of the programme, the group began writing their own policies and procedures.

Home Farm Village also needed a legal structure. The 41 households incorporated as a business in July 2015. This gave them a set of model rules and informed how they would do day-to-day business. The 41 households elected their own Board.  The Board guide the business and make the big decisions. Each Board member has responsibility for an area of housing management. The Board has a Rent Officer, Housing Officer, Complaints Officer, a Chair and a few other roles to support the success and development of Home Farm Village.

The key with Home Farm Village is that it is a democratic structure. All of the members have the chance to effect real change over how their homes are managed.  The model we have chosen really instils a sense of ownership and responsibility in all members. This is the key to the co-operative becoming successful. Providing that the Board exercise the right levels of responsibility, and the members feel engaged and take responsibility for voting on the issues that matter, the co-operative can’t fail. It will mean that members learn new skills by becoming involved in Board activity.  The overall satisfaction rates of the tenants will increase as they have real control over what happens to their homes.

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