The need for change...
Cross Keys Homes was established as a not-for-profit organisation in January 2003 by Peterborough City Council.
It all started when independent consultants revealed that the Council wouldn't be able to raise the money needed to bring its 10,000 homes up to the required modern standards set by the Government. In setting up Cross Keys Homes, the Council wanted to provide its tenants with the option of transferring the management of their homes to a local landlord, with knowledge of the city. This would protect the jobs of those already delivering housing services in the city and would involve tenants in the running of the service.
In February 2003, Cross Keys Homes was chosen by tenants as the preferred housing association from an original choice of six. Over the next 11 months, we worked with council staff to make sure all tenants, leaseholders and stakeholders were involved in shaping future plans. The hard work paid off in December 2003, when nearly 82% of tenants who took part in the ballot voted 'Yes' to the housing transfer.
Investing in homes…
Cross Keys Homes officially took over the management of the housing stock on 4 October, 2004. One of our initial targets was to ensure that all our homes met the Decent Homes Standard by the Government’s deadline of December 2010.
We invested £108 million into improving homes over the first five years. This involved fitting new kitchens and bathrooms, front and back doors, double glazing and central heating systems. We exceeded our target and reached the Standard 18 months before the deadline. We also promised to spend nearly £5 million on estate and environmental improvements in that time.
We wanted to build more affordable homes for people and in 2009 we reached a huge milestone by building our 300th home. By 2014 we had built 1,000 homes, and we now plan to build 400 homes a year to help address the housing crisis.
Building stronger communities...
We know that there's so much more to our work than just building homes. In 2005 we set-up resident-led area panels to give local people the power to improve neighbourhoods and get the environmental improvements they wanted.
We also support people back into work and in 2009 our dedicated Communities team was established to help provide access to courses, qualifications and advice for those looking for work. In 2010 we introduced specialised housing and employment support for 16 to 19 year olds. And in 2012, we started to offer pre-apprenticeships for an ever expanding number of young people.
In 2013 we took a huge leap forward and launched Cross Keys Care, initially a community care service, and in 2014 opened our first extra care scheme, Kingfisher Court.
2014 saw us celebrate our tenth birthday, and we also said goodbye to our Chief Executive, Mick Leggett. Former Deputy Chief Executive, Claire Higgins, took up the role. We also entered a new era of governance with the establishment of our Residents Board – the first of its kind in the housing sector. We scored another first for the housing sector with the issue of a green bond, which brought £150 million of funding for the future.
Looking to the future…
We continue to work with our tenants to improve their quality of life, through the houses we provide, the communities people live in and the support we offer them.
We already have hundreds of new homes in the pipeline and we're always on the lookout for more land to buy or buildings to renovate. As well as providing properties for rent, we're also building homes for shared ownership so we can help people get on the housing ladder for the first time.
We'll keep doing what we do best – providing great homes and greater communities for all.