Things we got right

We'll always do everything we can to make sure our tenants are happy and safe in their homes. Take a look at our most recent case studies below to see how we've helped our tenants not only with practical support, but wellbeing support as well.

A row of houses and green space graphic on a banner

Restoring gas heating to a tenant's home (January 2024)

One of our tenants was struggling to get on top of her bills whilst trying to cope with working and maintaining her home. Her gas supply had previously been capped, and because of the cost she was reluctant to have this reconnected.

Aware of the welfare implications, Chelsea, one of our Community Specialists, worked closely with her, carrying out regular visits to ensure she was well, and helping get her back on track with her bills.

In October 2023 the tenant reached out to ask for our help with a historical debt on her utility account, and came into our office to discuss this with Pippa, our Assistant Homes Safety Specialist. We helped her with the utility debt, and gave her advice on how best to pay her monthly rent and other important bills. Pippa even took the time to show our tenant how to get online to access the websites required to make payments - something that gave the tenant a massive confidence boost.

Once the debt had been cleared, our Home Safety team arranged to have her gas supply uncapped; however, the boiler was very old and hadn't been used for a long time, and the team determined that it needed to be replaced. Our tenant was initially reluctant to engage with us and our contractor K&T Heating about a new boiler, but after further visits from Chelsea and reassurances about the process she decided she did want to proceed, provided we waited until after the Christmas period to progress this.

Chelsea maintained contact with the tenant throughout, and as a result had further successes, organising asbestos testing, the pre-inspection for the new boiler, and other associated appointments. The installation was completed in late January, and our tenant now has a functioning boiler and is extremely happy with this!

Supporting a vulnerable tenant (December 2023)

One of our tenants who is particularly vulnerable was not using his gas central heating, as he couldn't top up the meter due to a fault. Having been unable to access his home for a regular home check, we managed to obtain additional valuable information about him that both helped us resolve his heating problem, and will allow us to assist him better in the future.

The first step was to secure access to the home during a time that was convenient for the tenant. We managed to visit the home in October 2023, when our Community Specialist Sara-Jane and Assistant Homes Safety Specialist Pippa discovered the fault with the gas meter. The team made numerous calls to the tenant's utility provider, and Pippa revisited our tenant throughout November to try to resolve the issue.

After feeling she was at a dead end, Pippa decided to brainstorm possible solutions with our Community Coordinator Ruby. This proved successful, and as a result Pippa was able to schedule an appointment with the tenant and to get both British Gas and our contractor K&T Heating to attend at the same time. Together they managed to replace the meter and service the boiler to make it fully operational and safe.

Our tenant was overjoyed to have heating again, and our ongoing engagement with him over the past few months has helped him understand the importance of taking the initiative in improving his circumstances. He has since applied for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and acquired a mobile phone, which will make communication with him much easier.

Pippa also introduced the tenant to our Realising Potential Approach, and he's now considering whether this might be beneficial to him.

Brightening up our communities

Over the past few months we have been working with our partner Chiltern Rangers and our wonderful tenants to brighten up areas within some of the estates that we manage.

In Mahoney Court we worked with our tenants to make use of a large empty planter at the front of the site and filled it with flowers, shrubs and herbs to be enjoyed by the tenants.

A montage of images from the Malvern Close planting day

Malvern Close also had a tidy up with planters installed, fences and railings painted, and some bespoke artwork put on display with many tenants coming along to help out and making the area look virtually brand-new!

A montage of images from the Shiplake Close communal area

Shiplake House has also benefitted from the support of Chiltern Rangers by creating a wonderful community garden! A compost heap has been built, along with wooden planters, and fruit bushes and veggies have been planted. Bird boxes have also been built, and some lovely artwork created to tie everything together. This project was driven by the tenants/leaseholders who live at Shiplake House, who submitted their ideas to the Environmental Improvement Group.

Helping older tenants access benefits (January 2023)

In July 2022 Age UK reported that between 1.4 and 2.1 million pensioners in the UK were living in poverty, yet around £2.4 billion of pension credit and housing benefit remains unclaimed every year. According to Matt, one of our Inclusion & Wellbeing Specialists, this story is all too true for some Red Kite tenants in our sheltered schemes. He often finds that older tenants don't like to take up benefits they feel they are not entitled to, but also that the claim system can be very confusing.

Thankfully Matt uses his expertise to help many of our tenants navigate the complex system, and in January he helped four tenants access housing and council tax benefits which amounted to almost £9,000 a year each.

Matt says:

"If someone is receiving a state pension, a pension credit guarantee, and has less than £10,000 in savings, they have a good chance of claiming the financial support they are entitled to. I can support them with an online application, and then it’s just a case of providing the evidence to the council. It really does make a big difference - and they deserve to access it after paying into the system for so many years."

We're proud to have such a supportive team that genuinely impacts people's lives, and we'll continue to support those most in need through our wellbeing service. Please get in touch if you'd like to discuss whether you may be eligible for support.

Help with hoarding (December 2022)

While carrying out a Home Check with a tenant, one of our Community Specialists spotted that as well as the condition of the home deteriorating, the tenant seemed to be struggling, and there was no gas or electricity in the home. The Community Specialist quickly escalated this case, and we brought in Wycombe Mind’s Free Space project to provide guidance and support to our tenant.

At Red Kite we’re passionate about making a difference in people’s lives, and we recognise that to do this successfully, we often need to work in partnership with other organisations in our community, such as Wycombe Mind. Their Free Space project was developed to provide dedicated support to those affected by issues relating to hoarding, and has helped to improve the mental health and wellbeing of tenants whose home environment has been negatively affecting them. Having originally supported this project through our Springboard fund, we soon realised how important this service was, and we now use Wycombe Mind as a contractor for complex hoarding cases.

As Wycombe Mind already had a relationship with our tenant, this made it easier for them to gain access into their home so that essential repairs could be carried out. Over the course of a few weeks, the home was cleared, the tenant was offered mental health support, and gas and electricity were restored and safety-checked. Wycombe Mind even delivered a Christmas meal to them!

Mobility scooter storage (February 2022)

A tenant contacted us to ask permission to store a mobility scooter in the communal hallway. However due to health and safety rules, we couldn't agree to this. His flat is small so it's not possible to keep the scooter indoors. We explored a couple of other options with him, but both were unsuitable.

As we spoke to him, we learned that he has a disability and relies on a church for support - they collect him once a week and take him to church. He explained that other than this he can't leave his home because of his disability, and is socially isolated. He hasn't lived in this home for long but the fact that he needs a mobility scooter hadn't been flagged up, therefore he's been housed in the wrong type of property for his needs.

His 60th birthday is coming up in June, which means that he'll be eligible for one of our sheltered schemes, where he can continue to live independently, but with extra support and space for his mobility scooter. Our sheltered schemes are designed for those who want the freedom to live independently within a community of similar-aged people. P3 housing will support him in making another application to Bucks Home Choice, and we've explained that he would get priority banding due to a surplus of sheltered housing. He is happy to wait until then and felt that this was the best way forward.

However, we were still concerned about him being socially isolated, living alone and with a disability, so we offered him support through our Wellbeing Team, which he agreed to. Our Wellbeing Team offers financial and wellbeing support to tenants who may be struggling.

Our tenant called to say:

"Thank you, thank you so much! What a great young man Deepak (Inclusion and Wellbeing Project Lead) is – he's been so helpful. He referred me to the foodbank which has been amazing - their parcels are so big! He also sorted me out help with my electricity bill and vouchers to spend in Morrisons. You are such great landlords - I have never had a landlord that has supported me like this, you really have done so much. Deepak has been so understanding, please do let him know."