Luton Community Housing

Cleaning & Gardening Solutions

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Cultivating a good business

Our social enterprise, Cleaning and Gardening Solutions (CGS), has gone from strength to strength in its third year.

CGS is providing an income stream that we can reinvest in our services and properties for affordable rent. And it's offering great employment and training opportunities for some of the most hard-to-reach people living in supported accommodation in some of Luton's most deprived areas.

This year, CGS introduced a waste clearance service. This has significantly increased the volume of its business and provided new employment opportunities for vulnerable people in the community.

CGS turns lives around

In 2015, Craige was made homeless and lost access to his children. After getting a job in the CGS team he managed to get his own flat and has rebuilt relationships with most of his children. Not only that, he's now secured a fulltime Team Leader role with CGS and says:

"I plan to thrive with my job and keep rising within the company."

Dean, another CGS employee, also found that getting a role with the company was critical in his rise from living on the streets and

"a big help with [his] mind frame".

He's now secured his own flat too and has a fulltime job at CGS.

Targets hit

We've met all our service delivery targets again this year and, in line with our KPIs, have:

  • Generated a great social return on investment – for every pound we've spent, 56p was used to create social impact for the community.

  • Helped 11 people to gain sustainable fulltime or part-time employment.

  • Given employment support and guidance to 14 people in the local community.
  • Provided more than five accredited employability qualifications.

  • Helped three people with financial difficulties to access appropriate benefits and secure themselves a source of income.

  • Helped three people with housing needs to gain a positive improvement in their accommodation and housing status.

  • Offered all employees flexible working patterns that allow them to meet other commitments, particularly childcare.

  • Resolved around 70% of complaints or concerns received in the last quarter within 72 hours, and 100% within the week they were received.

CGS has also provided void cleaning services to our in-house maintenance team to improve the quality and cleanliness of our re-let properties, which has reduced our void period significantly.

Plans for the future

We'll continue developing CGS and over the next year aim to:

  • Introduce a community service to support people over 60 years, or those with musculoskeletal problems, to help maintain their garden for free.

  • Launch a new training facility for local residents, which will help to achieve even more success through our Support to Employment programme.

  • Establish strong connections with other local agencies, especially NOAH, to foster opportunities for volunteering and apprenticeships for local residents.

  • Develop close relationships with organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Support locally, and Keech Hospice Care, to provide free gardening services for people in their care.