by BITMO Chief Executive, Deborah Kelly
We are in a positive mood at BITMO at the start of 2024. Lots of hard work is coming together to launch our enhanced service offers. First off, we are improving how we approach kitchen repairs. Where we can’t match kitchen units and worktops, we will replace all of them, if that will extend the life of the kitchen significantly. Belle Isle tenants have made it clear that they don’t want to have to put up with mismatched kitchen units. This will save us money in the long run as the frames are usually in perfectly fine condition.
We’ve worked through the list of landlord and tenant responsibilities on repairs and identified over 30 enhancements to the standard repairs offer. Examples are repairing or replacing outside doors and unblocking sinks.
Our Winter Warmth Campaign this year proved very successful. Having carried out thermal imaging surveys; we’ve approached the households whose homes are the least energy efficient and who are on benefits to offer a package of goods to help them stay cosy in the winter months. We have given warm goods like blankets, hot water bottles worth a total of £10,000 to 114 Belle Isle households.
We have a regular food offer three days a week, cooked by food safety trained volunteers from a new restaurant quality kitchen and a new food bank that runs every Friday.
As well as our Repairs Café, and Cinema Club, you may not have known that we provide free English and Maths tutoring and a hot meal once a week to primary school aged children. This is part of our effort to improve the life chances of people who live in Belle Isle. Our financial inclusion offer has generated £267k of extra income for our residents.
We have launched a tool library, that will help people in maintaining their homes and gardens. Tenants can borrow things like stepladders, hedge trimmers and push lawnmowers. On top of this we are delighted to report that in most areas customer service and performance are going from strength to strength. We have raised our game in terms of rent collection, from being near the bottom of the housing offices in Leeds a few years ago to being at or close to the top.
There are chances for Belle Isle tenants to work with BITMO to improve the area. You could become a BITMO shareholder, a Board Member, volunteer to help run community activities, take part in estate inspections or link up with your neighbours for things like walking groups, litter picking or a summer fun day. There’s the Belle Isle Gala coming up on Saturday 6 July at Windmill School from 12-3pm. You are welcome to just enjoy the day, but you could also volunteer to help or to run your own stall. To find out more call Tracey or Jo in our Community Development Team on 0113 378 2190 or 07891 270094.
Strong and improving customer service and performance is supported by strong and improving staff satisfaction. Completing an annual staff satisfaction survey is an important part of our two-way communication at BITMO. We have regular one-to-one meetings between staff and managers, team meetings and written briefings. An annual survey provides the chance to focus at a team level on the parts of work life that improve staff loyalty and commitment and those which take away from it. BITMO staff tell us that they are engaged (81%), empowered (75%), well managed (88%) and that BITMO really supports their wellbeing (85%).
This year we will be asking Belle Isle tenants to put their faith in us to continue to provide landlord services through a ballot in September. We hope that we are doing enough to earn that privilege.