The last financial year has been challenging for us all – our customers, our employees, and our business. We’ve come face to face with a tough economic outlook, but we are ready for what is to come, and we are proud of what we’ve achieved.
In this report you can read about what we have accomplished with our customers, the impact we’ve had at both an individual and community level as well as an honest reflection of the challenges we have faced.
We have asked residents to give us feedback on a number of areas, including our services. We know that our customers are the best people to help us shape and improve our services, they know where we get it right and where we can make improvements. We used this information to help us plan for the next five years (2023 to 2027) for our new Corporate Strategy.
Overall, your feedback has been positive. We don’t get everything right and have made it easier to raise concerns and complaints. We remain committed to resolving residents’ concerns as soon as we can. We want to be brilliant at what we do and focus on the issues that matter. Your engagement with us, scrutinising our services, focusing on service improvements, and giving voice to your concerns is vital in helping us meet our objectives. You can find out more about our Melin Voices group here on our website, if you would like to get involved just get in touch, all the ways to contact us are on our contact page.
Chief Executive Melin Homes
All of our Melin residents become a Voice when they have a home with us, everyone has the opportunity to share their opinions, and be part of the conversation. By taking part in surveys, chatting to us on the phone, emailing or talking to a member of staff everyone has the chance to shape the services we provide.
If residents would like to get more involved, they can join one of our Voices focus groups. Our Community Focus Group is a small but mighty group of residents who meet monthly with our Communities Team to plan and fund neighbourhood events, support residents and make a difference to our communities.
Here’s what they have achieved during 22/23…
Supporting residents in need
The group donated over £20k in food and fuel vouchers to our Melin Advice team, helping them support more residents during the cost-of-living crisis.
Fun activities for our over 55s schemes
The group has supported funding for activities to our 15 schemes from Easter fun to festive frolics and Pets for Therapy.
Singing loud and proud
The group has donated £500 to our Only Melin Aloud resident choir. The choir performs at different schemes, entertaining other residents and spreading the love of song.
Community events galore
The group attended community events such as Party in the Park, scheme activities, Love Your Health and Wellbeing Event, sponsored the Torfaen Volunteer awards, which celebrates volunteers like our Voices who make a difference in communities.
Group members sat in on staff interviews, staff group meetings such as our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion group, Board meetings and are regularly updated on policies, service changes and government legislation affecting residents.
Residents in our Customer Service Group spent over 80 hours reviewing things that matter to our residents, highlighted through our Listen Act Learn group.
We will listen to residents’ concerns and ideas, act on them where we can and learn and share from our experiences.
The group has been making a difference through reviewing:
- Our void process, the group recommended we have a ‘check list’ for when a property is empty, to help get the property re-let as quickly as possible.
- Cleaning at sheltered schemes and general needs properties. We have now put contract cleaners in place to ensure consistency.
- Refuse collection and recycling. We’ve built closer relationships with local authorities, and we’ve added new recycling containers at our sheltered schemes.
Our Communities Team was over the moon getting back to what they do best, supporting and engaging with our residents, with no Covid restrictions.
The team might only be small; but Alan, Helen and John are mighty in their approach and interaction with residents, they always have extra support from staff volunteering from across the organisation to help them when out and about in our communities.
In fact, our staff volunteered 400 hours of their time to help support our Communities Team run engagement events, and activities.
100 staff helped the team with Santa runs to 11 schemes and 20 of our housing estates handing out over 400 selection boxes, not to mention cakes, biscuits, raffle prizes, food donations, selection boxes, Christmas lights donations and more.
Community organisations and charities like our Melin Jump2 Fund, Wales Air Ambulance, Torfaen’s Women’s Aid, Torfaen Age Connect, Front Row Café and schools all benefited from monetary donations, donations of food, activities and entertainment & sponsorship.
Spreading the Christmas cheer
“I would just like to thank Santa for visiting my daughter this afternoon. I’ve got to say Melin never fail to bring Santa here so my daughter Demi who is wheelchair dependant can have her photo taken. Thank you so much, it means the world to us.”
Out and about engaging with residents – it’s what we do best
It’s been a very busy year for us and our residents with 700 of you engaging with us at various events including; Jubilee activities, Easter fun, litter picks, walk abouts around our estates supporting our housing and community safety teams, school breakfast clubs, Pets as Therapy sessions, accessible exercise for all through the Balanced Lives Project, awareness raising for the new Renting Homes (Wales) Act, activities aimed at reducing loneliness and isolation, quizzes, fun, games and singing with our Only Melin Aloud choir.
Working in partnership – Together We Can
We know that we can achieve more by working in partnership. This year we delivered 22 partnership events working with partners across our local authorities, engaging with over 1,000 people.
Working with our partners at Keep Wales Tidy, National Resource Wales and Twmps gardening groups we have delivered 32 environmental projects ranging from community clear up days, fly tipping clean up sessions and education, litter picks. Through our Brighter Cleaning Communities project we have accessed funding to help residents spruce up spaces in their communities and provide outside seating at our sheltered schemes.
We’ve reached a milestone of over 20 years of sporting partnerships.
Our long-standing partnership with Dragons Rugby and County in the Community continued. They’ve helped us run 24 sessions for our young residents, as well as attending partnership and school events.
On the bus
Our Melin bus racked up some miles supporting our communities and partnership organisations.
Did you spot our bus, out and about? You had 70 chances to spot it. We supported partnership events, helping people get digital with the iConnect project, local school trips, including our long-term partners at Torfaen Learning College, job fairs, supporting local authority community events and partner organisations, throughout the areas we operate:
- Blaenau Gwent
We held 56 information and engagement events in the communities we serve, supported our Only Melin Aloud Choir by spreading wellbeing benefits from singing, took residents on trips, transported people to our ‘Love Your Health and Wellbeing’ event, litter picks and most importantly Santa got a lift to our communities too!
Our Jump2 Fund
Our Jump2 Fund provides grants for projects and activities which benefit our residents, their families and our communities. We funded 11 projects across our communities totalling a whopping £1,980. People of every age benefited from the funding with a focus on health & wellbeing, we supported; children’s clubs, craft groups, musical activities, fitness challenges, funded traditional board games for breakfast clubs, as well as kit and equipment for lots of local rugby and football clubs.
“That is wonderful news, our members will be over the moon!”
“Thank you so much. The kids will be so happy. We really appreciate your support.”
Our Diolch scheme allows staff to say thank you for a job well done and gives the recipient the opportunity to donate money to charity.
We donated £360 to Stump up for Trees, who are creating woodlands in the Brecon Beacons area.
Wales Air Ambulance received £480 in Diolch donations, which boosted our total fundraising for the charity to a huge total of £10,854
“Thank you so much for all your fundraising and support! What a fantastic amount to have raised we cannot thank you enough.”
– Wales Air Ambulance 2023
Our Jump2 Fund received an additional £120 in donations from Diolch.
Customer Contact Team
Our friendly and helpful Customer Contact Team are the first people you will speak to when you call, email, text, write, WhatsApp or send us a message on social media.
The wealth of knowledge and experience in the team helps ensure that when you contact us, we can normally resolve your query at the first point of contact.
This year we have seen a change in the way you would like to speak to us. We’ve seen an increase in digital contact, you like the convenience of contacting us when it suits you and knowing there is a friendly human on the other side of the line.
- 47,262 of you text us.
- 460 WhatsApp messages.
- 3,695 used the live chat on our website.
- Over 700 messages on our social media.
- Your preferred method of contact is still the telephone with 60,255 calls received.
“I spoke to a lovely lady she couldn’t have been more helpful!”
Tenancy Sustainability team
Working with our most vulnerable residents and in partnership with Melin colleagues and external organisations, this team help keep residents in their homes providing help and support.
The team has helped 382 residents.
This ranged from helping a resident settle into their home; making welfare calls; helping arrange support services or medical appointments; help with white goods; finding benefits or grant funding; referring residents for food vouchers; giving energy or money advice as well as help getting online.
The team have fantastic partnerships with local authorities, working closely with social services, community mental health teams and South Wales Fire & Rescue.
One of our residents called Mandy told one of our team:
“You are a kind and caring person. If the world had more people like you, it would be a better place. God sent me a special gift when he had you cross my path, and I will always value your help and support.”
This team is here to make sure we are doing our bit for the environment, improving the energy efficiency of our properties, offices and transport which will help us achieve net zero. They make sure we get value for money when we buy goods and services, so we can invest back into our communities.
The team has bought more than £20 million in goods and services, saving us over £225k on estimated costs.
Through working with our contractors and service providers the team has over £33k in our sustainable community fund which helps support vulnerable residents in need, our schools project – FACE, and careers fairs across the communities we serve.
Making our homes more energy efficient
The team is working on three projects improving the energy efficiency of your homes, trialling four new technologies to help reduce energy consumption and bills.
- 381 homes are now more energy efficient thanks to the installation of solar panels and external wall insulation.
- 242 homes have received a survey helping us see how we can improve the energy efficiency of the homes.
- We’ve fitted 32 Intelligent Energy Systems which helps us see how people use their energy so we can help make their homes more energy efficient.
A resident named Mrs Morgan told us:
“It is so much better, just to look at it, not to mention how much warmer my home feels, and it stays warm, even when the heating is off. Last winter I had the heating on high all the time, this year it is on so much less, and I don’t have to have the thermostat as high.” Our friendly, dedicated team is busier than ever providing an excellent service to our residents and can often be seen in and around our communities.“
The team is made up of electricians, multi-skilled operatives, plumbing & heating engineers and painters who are available on weekends, holidays and out of hours helping to keep you safe in your homes.
- 4,970 emergency repairs, achieving our target every month of 95% completed within 48 hours.
- 13,661 routine repairs, with 82% of residents saying they were satisfied with how their repair was dealt.
- The team has completed 4,021 gas services, 93.4% of residents are satisfied with this service.
Our average time to complete repairs went up slightly to 28.3 days, against our target of 20. We know this is because of a backlog of repairs, difficulty recruiting people and issues getting materials. We are working very hard to improve this and are confident the time taken will improve next year.
One of our residents, S. Rogers, fed back to us:
“Very happy with the work, they cleaned up nicely every day and kept me informed. Thank you.”
Our Neighbourhood Housing team let our homes and manage our neighbourhoods and communities. You may have spoken to them about general queries relating to your home including, parking issues, dog fouling complaints, questions and queries around moving and mutual exchanges.
- 179 general home re-lets
- The team took handover of 34 new homes from our Development Team and helped people move into their new home.
- The team has re-let four privately rented homes.
- They have helped 50 residents swap homes, either moving to Melin or to another housing association.
One resident, Sam, wrote in to thank the team:
“Thank you for the letter, received today and sent to all the residents. It covers all the bases and will hopefully have the desired effect. Already the car parking issue seems to have been resolved and I just want you to know how much I appreciate your help in these matters.”
Our Independent Living team manages our Sheltered Housing homes for over 55s, extra care schemes. specialist housing and homes for our leasehold homeowners.
Our scheme managers are based on site, so are on hand to help our residents, providing social activities as well as practical advice and support.
They have let 95 homes to people over 55 years old. Our re-development at Tredegar Court provided 41 one-bedroom flats and six two-bedroom flats. The site includes a staff room, communal lounge, and dementia-friendly communal gardens. Existing homes at Tredegar Court share a communal courtyard and lounge.
One resident, Keith, told us:
“Our new scheme manager has settled in so quickly. We all feel we can talk to her about anything, she has all of the resident’s respect.”
The team let two new bungalows in Llanfoist, Monmouthsire as well as two supported housing schemes, providing new homes for ten residents with learning disabilities and/or physical disabilities.
The team have partnered with 15 care and support providers at our supported housing and extra care schemes. 10 of our schemes have the RNIB Visibly Better Accreditation.
This team is helping more residents than ever due to the cost-of-living crisis, the work they do helping residents is more important than ever.
The team specialises in:
- Money Advice – ensuring people are getting the correct support and benefits.
- Employment Advice – helping people with training and getting them back into work.
- Energy Advice – helping people with energy debt and saving money off their bills.
- Digital advice – helping residents get online.
- Rent payments – with the increase in energy, fuel and food more and more people are struggling. The team help people manage their rent and provide further support.
One resident, Dawn told us:
“Melin have been amazing to me, so understanding of the difficulties I am facing. They listen, but more than that they help. I am a proud person, and it was difficult to open up and talk about my situation. There was no judgement just help and support. Thank you.”
- Working with residents the Advice team have put over £1.34 million of unclaimed benefits back into our residents’ pockets, helping them keep on top of the bills.
- 281 households have received help with energy vouchers totalling over £22k, to help keep homes warm and safe.
- 300 households have been given supermarket vouchers totalling over £16k. At time when the cost of food is so high, this has been a lifeline for many residents.
- During 22/23 we gave 1012 resident cost of living advice and support, attended and supported 100 partnership events.
- We helped get 52 people employment, which given the current climate is a massive achievement and testament to the team’s hard work. 243 people received employment achievements, this is things like help with support and advice, qualifications, clothing, expenses, driving and CV help.
- 58 people had digital support; tablets, SIM cards, help getting online, and internet support.
- The team has helped keep rent debt low, despite such challenging circumstances. Rent debt is just 1.82% of our rent roll.
Keeping people safe in their homes and making sure Melin meet all legal and regulatory requirements. This team have their work cut out booking in five-yearly electrical tests, annual gas services and legionella testing.
- 100% of our properties have a valid legionella safety assessment
- 99.97% of our homes are gas safety compliant
- 99.93% of our homes are compliant with electrical tests and standards
Our Asset Team surveyors works hard to make sure your homes are fit for human habitation.
- The team carried out 4,312 stock condition surveys, which help us keep the information we have on your homes up to date, so that we know when things we are responsible for replacing are due and can be renewed, if necessary.
- 217 Physical Adaptation Grants (PAGs) and minor adaptations were carried out. PAGs are things like stairlifts, hoists, bathroom adaptations. We had additional funding from Welsh Government which helped us make a difference to more people.
Minor adaptations include things like; grab rails, shower seats and small adaptations within residents’ homes.
Community Safety team
Our Community Safety Team takes a person-centred approach, engaging and working with our residents. Through taking positive action and working in partnership the team provides lasting solutions for residents and communities.
The team has…
- Resolved 157 anti-social behaviour cases, despite the increase in ASB cases and complex social issues exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis.
- Attended 223 partnership meetings, through working with other agencies we know that we find the best solutions for our residents and communities.
- Obtained 17 civil injunctions to help protect and support victims of ASB, improving the situation for individuals as well as having a positive impact on the wider community.
- Provided 32 residents with home security measures (Ring doorbells, cameras, CCTV systems, window and door alarms) to help them feel safer in their homes.
- The team have seen an 154% increase in adult and 100% increase in children’s safeguarding referrals. Through working in partnership with Social Services we are dedicated to helping keep our residents and communities safe places to live. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, protecting the welfare of vulnerable adults and children and keeping them safe from harm.
One resident, Debbie* told us
“I would just like to thank you for all the time and effort you have gone to in helping get this resolved and for all the updates provided.”
*not her real name
Our Development Team and Melin Homebuy have had a busy year building affordable homes for people and helping create communities, their work doesn’t stop there they also help people onto the property ladder.
The year in numbers
- We have handed over 128 new homes.
- We had 15 development schemes on site.
- We have 273 new homes in progress.
- We secured £10.315 million in Welsh Government funding.
- We have completed 54 Homebuy transactions, generating £1.137 million surplus, which is reinvested into building new homes and maintaining our properties.
- We have worked with 10 different construction companies.
- We have provided new homes in five different counties.
- Working with our suppliers we were able to donate over £16k to our sustainable communities fund, which is invested back into the communities we serve.
- The team also supported 14 customers to buy their dream home from the open market, sold 13 new homes, and helped 12 owners sell their homes to first time buyers on the housing register in Torfaen and Monmouthshire.
Julie James Minister for Climate Change at Welsh Government, talking about our Tredegar Court redevelopment, said:
“Everybody should have access to a good quality, affordable and settled home – so I’m delighted we’ve been able to support this scheme at Tredegar Court with £3.86million of Welsh Government funding. Those aged 55 and over should feel safe, comfortable and connected to their local community. I am sure these larger one- and two-bedroom units will not only meet the needs and demands of residents, but also make a real difference to their quality of life.”
Good governance is at the heart of our organisation. It sets standards of leadership, accountability, integrity, transparency, fairness and inclusiveness.
Our Board is at the core of ensuring we remain a high performing and well-run organisation. They have adopted the Community Housing Cymru code of governance, undertake annual appraisals and monitor our key risks, Regulatory Performance and Key Performance Indicators.
Our Board are clear on the key risks that our organisation faces, they are provided with regular updates and assurance that risk is properly mitigated.
- Melin has 59 risks on its Board Assurance Framework
- 26 Strategic Risks
- 33 Operational Risks
- During April 22 – March 23 we formally welcomed three new Board members; Sanni Salisu, Barry Thompson and Naomii Thomas.
- Our Board is made up of 14 people, two executive directors, 12 independent non-executive directors, one of which is a Melin resident.
- Over the year we have carried out eight internal audit inspections, we use a company called TIAA to administer these audits on aspects of our services. 100% of the audits were given the highest award of Substantial Assurance.
Every year the Welsh Government looks at our Governance, Service Delivery and Financial Viability. It then passes a ‘Regulatory Judgement’ on how we are doing. The judgement is designed to give residents and partners an understanding of our financial viability and how well we are performing. Melin was given a green compliant score in July 2022, which is the highest level of assurance Welsh Government can grade.
Staff health and wellbeing
We know that happy staff make for happy residents, here’s what we do to look after our staff’s wellbeing and keep them safe.
Our staff are gifted time to attend our annual Festive party, Thank You Event, Corporate BBQ and Zest Fest a health and wellbeing bonanza. You can watch a video on our YouTube channel.
Here’s what staff member Sam said about the Zest Fest:
“I could’ve spent the whole day there and tried every single activity, but I loved the ones I did get to try. Thanks Zest”
On top of that during the year we organised; mini health checks, massages, reflexology, free snacks, craft workshops, health and wellbeing webinars on the menopause, men’s health, healthy breakfasts, free fruit and Tasty Tuesday our ice-cream day.
We set up a walking group, Saturday Strollers and gift staff time to attend charity events throughout the year.
The added extras
We want staff to be themselves at work and feel supported whilst enjoying a healthy work-life balance. We offer a great range of benefits for our 243 staff. During the year 161 staff had private health care and 146 enjoyed the benefits of our health care cash back plan.
You can find out more about what we do to support our staff health, wellbeing and work life balance here on our website.
Gender pay gap
Under legislation that came into force in April 2017, UK employers with more than 250 employees are required, annually, to publish their gender pay gap.
At this year’s ‘snapshot date’ Melin employed fewer than 250 staff and we are therefore not required to publish our gender pay gap and report. However, we’re so proud of it being zero we want everyone to know, as pay transparency is an important driver of equality.
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
We are proud to be a diverse business which puts our people and residents first. We have a dedicated and passionate Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) group, including four board members, with everyone championing this within the organisation.
We are the first housing association in Wales to pilot Tai Pawb’s QED Leaders programme, which is the next step in our EDI journey. Aligning with our corporate strategy, the programme will help us increase diversity in our workforce to reflect the diversity of our residents and the communities we serve, focusing on race, equality and disability.
Our values and key pillars
Our values are things that are important to us. We live by our values. Together we can create a shared culture of values, beliefs and behaviours that help guide our work. We take an inclusive, collaborative approach for the benefit of our customers, partners and each other.
Together we can…
…create a shared culture of values, beliefs and behaviours that help guide our work. We take an inclusive, collaborative approach for the benefit of our customers, partners and each other.
Do the right thing
It’s about more than just turning up for work, we are all empowered to do our best for our residents, partner organisations, each other and the planet.
Find a way
We are innovative and creative, it’s just part of what we do. We actively encourage collaboration to find better solutions.
Make things happen
We value people who are driven by passion,bright ideas who are determined to take action. We are bold, decisive and driven with integrity and trust.
Make a difference
We want the impact of what we do day in day out to change things for the better for our colleagues, residents and organisations we work with. Customers help us to shape and improve our services.
Enjoy the journey
Everyone is welcome here, we celebrate and draw strength from our differences. People are at the heart of everything we do. We’re open, honest and fair, creating a culture of inclusion and wellbeing, in which everyone plays their part.
The Key Pillars
Our pillars are the key areas of focus for us as an organisation which help us with our long-term vision and objectives. Each of our pillars has areas for us to focus on and targets which will help us achieve our overall vision.
- New homes
- Existing homes
- Our residents
- Our people
Through outstanding individuals and teams, we will do all that we can to support residents to help them live successfully in safe, warm, and affordable homes, based in vibrant, inclusive and connected communities.
We exist to create opportunities for people and communities to thrive.
The Melin family tree
Melin Homes is the group parent and a Mutual Society, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, that operates to Charitable Rules. Melin provides and manages affordable housing across five local authority areas.
Melin Homes is the sole trustee of the Henry Burton Almshouse Society and the Roger Williams and Queen Victoria Memorial Almshouse Society.
Candleston is a subsidiary of Melin Homes, created to deliver high quality sustainable homes of all tenure, including for outright sale. Profit is reinvested back into communities and to help Melin achieve its charitable objectives.
Y Prentis is an independent company, jointly owned by Melin Homes and Monmouthshire County Council. Y Prentis runs the south-east Wales shared apprenticeship scheme in partnership with Construction Skills and its industry members.
Our housing stock
- Melin rented 3,858
- Other; including garages, Henry Burton and Queen Victoria Almshouses 45
- Home-ownership 496
- Commercial (garages, offices, shop, store) 65
- Service costs only (Homebuy, Leaseholder etc.) 240
- Candleston sales 52
- Total 4,756
Summary Income & Expenditure Account
Actuarial gain on pension
Surplus for the year
Current assets (cash & debtors)
Monies received from Welsh Gov
Monies owed by the association
The Melin Board and Senior Management
We have two dedicated groups of people that make up our Board and Senior Management teams and there’s no doubt the members of our Board and those at leadership positions of Melin make decisions which have a long-lasting positive impact for future generations.
Clocks photo by Jon Tyson Dog photo by Karsten Winegart Phone photo 1 by Quino Al Man on phone photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu Man in door way photo by Andre Ouellet Daisy photo by AARN GIRI Coffee cup photo by Zach Lezniewicz Window photo by Nicolas Solerieu Wrench photo by Recha Oktaviani Paint roller photo by Yoann Siloine Clouds photo by Tengyart Woman’s hands photo by Danie Franco Leaves photo by Annie Spratt Piggy bank photo by Andre Taissin Construction photo by Jay Ee Digger photo by Luke Besley Meeting table photo by Benjamin Child Fruit bowl photo by Jamie Street Leaves photo by Pawel Czerwinski Tree photo by Luke Richardson Phone photo 2 by Erik Lucatero