At Lewisham Homes, our vision is to create thriving communities and places people are proud to call home. Residents’ safety is our top priority, which is why understanding and neutralising fire risk is at the heart of everything we do.
We acted quickly following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017. Government safety tests were carried out on high-rise blocks across the country and our blocks at Gerrard House and Hatfield Close were found to have dangerous cladding. We immediately introduced a 24-hour fire patrol service in the buildings and engaged contractors United Living to carry out safety works and remove the cladding as a matter of urgency. The final panel was removed in autumn 2017, and the process began on installing a safe alternative, with cladding being re-applied from February 2020.
Consultation and engagement
We have been working in partnership with United Living and the Tenants’ and Residents’ Associations (TRAs) to make sure that everyone living at Hatfield and Gerrard has meaningful opportunities to be included in the process. After a series of meetings with residents, we arrived at a choice of three designs for the new terracotta cladding, with the preferred option finally chosen by vote. Details of this process can be found here.
Lewisham Homes offered financial assistance in the form of goodwill payments to those faced with higher energy bills while the blocks were unclad. We have also engaged with residents through a vibrant programme of events and initiatives. Our Community Relations team has helped renovate a community garden on the site and worked to refurbish and reopen the nearby Winslade Cyber Centre.
United Living have also been keeping residents up to date with a dedicated newsletter with latest updates from the works. You can download the previous editions below:
- Issue 1: July 2019
- Issue 2: September 2019
- Issue 3: November 2019
- Issue 5: March 2020
- Issue 6: April 2020
- Issue 7: May 2020
- Issue 8: June 2020
- Issue 9: September 2020
- Issue 10: October 2020
- Issue 11: December 2020
- Issue 12: February 2021
- Issue 13: June 2021
- Issue 14: October 2021
- Issue 15: December 2021
We have also launched a series of new measures across the organisation aimed at keeping all our residents safe. The clear corridors policy is designed to make it easier to get around in an emergency, and we continue working on our strategy for safety, repairs and long-term sustainability; plus we have started a complete survey of the condition of the housing we manage in order to identify where we need to make improvements to homes and communal areas. This will enable us to invest and maintain the best possible standards, prioritising our resources based on need.
Since the easing of lockdown, we continue to ensure that residents and staff remain safe, and we have put in place various safety measures along with partners United Living, Michael Dyson Associates and 4iSolutions.
Residents of Hatfield Close and Gerrard House also benefit from our ongoing social value work. We have been building relationships with local schools, colleges and universities to promote apprenticeships and graduate opportunities, and we offer a range of subsidised courses and qualifications to up-skill our residents and support them into employment. We continue to partner with London Metropolitan University to run our free Improving Housing Services courses for our residents, which are funded by Lewisham Tenants’ Fund and accredited by the Chartered Institute for Housing – they offer an opportunity for residents to learn more about housing, get involved in shaping our services, and challenge and improve our work.
You can find out more about our social value work with our residents in this Community Focus booklet.