Higgins Partnerships has been shortlisted in this year’s TPAS Awards 2021 for Outstanding Tenant Engagement – Contractor at Grange Farm Estate, Harrow, West London.
The awards, which are in their 14th year, recognise and reward engagement excellence and best practice in the housing sector and celebrate the remarkable volunteers, housing staff and contractors who bring lasting change to communities across England.
Amy Ross, Head of Social Value at Higgins Partnerships comments, “We are really pleased to be recognised once again by TPAS for our ongoing commitment to providing exemplary tenant engagement. The pandemic meant that we had to change the way we carry out our community engagement but we are really proud of the impact we have made so far and would like to thank all our partners for their commitment and support.”
Higgins was appointed by Harrow Council to deliver phase one of the regeneration of Grange Farm Estate which comprises 68 social rented homes and 21 Shared Ownership homes. Eventually the existing 282 aging properties will be replaced with 574 new homes and apartments of mixed tenure and size along with a new community centre.
As with many areas, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the residents at Grange Farm Estate. Harrow is one of thousands of communities which faces growing food poverty and since the outbreak, it has had an unprecedented impact on families on top of existing hardships, with many living in temporary accommodation and dealing with rising pressure of managing living costs and outgoings and job insecurity.
Higgins was keen to work with My Yard and Harrow Council to form a partnership to create a Food Pantry for local residents and the surrounding community. Taking a collaborative approach from the start, local businesses and providers were approached to access surplus food, source donations and specialist equipment to get the Food Pantry up and running. Higgins donated a container in order for the Food Pantry to have a base and a team of volunteers started to work immediately on the ground to make a difference. 200 meals are cooked each week and food bags are personalised to resident’s dietary requirements and cultural food preferences. The shopping is also personally delivered which has been a huge benefit to those who have been isolating due to Covid or have mental health or caring commitments and are unable to get out or access existing food banks.
One resident said, “I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for all your help this year, I really wouldn’t be getting through it without My Yard. I am a single mum of a 7 year old and also have a 24 year old.Having help from My Yard means that me and my little boy can eat properly, decent home cooked foods, he is getting his 5 a day and I don’t have to go without eating. When my eldest does come over I can cook him a proper meal and some to take home. It has taken the weight of food and meals off of my shoulders many times and for this I am eternally grateful.”
Higgins has also created apprenticeship and employment opportunities for local residents. Adekeye (AJ) lives in the local Harrow area and after seeing the development taking place enquired and was appointed as Site Supervisor Apprentice.
AJ attended Coventry University where he gained a degree in Civil Engineering before working for Higgins. He says, “My time with Higgins has been great and I have learnt a lot in the last three months. I have developed management skills, effective communication skills and how to manage my workload. I will be given the opportunity to gain further qualifications that will aid my progress during my apprenticeship and beyond.”
The winners will be announced on 8th October 2021.