Orwell Housing Association

We provide care, support, housing management, property development and estate services for over 7,500 residents by managing approximately 4,000 properties.
Hidden mission statement
https://www.orwell-housing.co.uk

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Orwell cares for the environment as well as its tenants and staff. The housing association manages not just 4,000 properties but 70 acres of outside space, including 5,000-plus trees and six miles of hedging.

All green waste is now recycled into mulch and compost for use across Orwell's gardens and open spaces, rather than going to landfill, saving time and money.

The idea came from staff – reflecting the collaborative culture encouraged by the association's leadership. That was also on display during the pandemic, when senior and operational management teams volunteered to assist with Orwell's care services.

They cooked, cleaned, made beds and cups of tea, watered plants, shopped for and chatted with residents and also colleagues, supporting them practically and showing solidarity.

Ipswich-based Orwell provides homes for more than 7,500 people in East Anglia. It supplies care services for older people, adults with learning disabilities, people facing homelessness and those in or leaving abusive relationships.

When the government's Everybody In initiative to take rough sleepers off the streets during the first lockdown ended, the association worked directly with local authorities to offer space in its properties to those in need.

Like the senior leadership, Orwell staff lent a hand with caring for residents during the pandemic, shopping, chatting and so on. They also offered hundreds of hours of support for organisations such as Ipswich Night Shelter and Lowestoft Foodbank.

Featured Workplace Factors

My Team

81% of staff agreed

My team is fun to work with

Orwell embraced technology in bringing together disparate colleagues during the pandemic. Facebook Workplace was a big hit, providing a hub for information, motivation, celebration and social activities, such as Christmas charades and a best onesie wearer competition. The association invested in 144 laptops to help staff stay in touch.

Wellbeing

74% of staff agreed

I am happy with the balance between my work and home life

A therapist was brought in for four months to help staff traumatised by a Covid-19 outbreak in their workplace. Additional wellbeing resources were introduced for all staff during the pandemic, including free NHS health checks, weight management and stop smoking support.

Fair Deal

47% of staff agreed

I am happy with the pay and benefits I receive in this job

Alongside a generous suite of benefits, there are personalised rewards. To thank a colleague for solving an issue outside his normal hours, the CEO arranged a meal for him and his wife at their favourite restaurant. Wellbeing tokens, given to reward and thank colleagues, can be used at local businesses.

Quick Facts

Organisation established in
1963
Total number of employees
29
Number of UK locations
45
Employee average age
22% : 78%
Male : Female employee ratio
5%
Employees earning £35k+
17%
Employee turnover (voluntary)

Benefits

Women in Senior Management

At least 40% of senior managers are women.

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Quote from the top...
"Orwell is delighted to have achieved one star accreditation this year. It has been a difficult year for everyone, particularly for our Care and Support division, on the front line delivering fantastic services in the most challenging of circumstances. The fact that we are still classed as having ‘high levels of engagement’ means a lot. We continue to work on new and interesting initiatives to support our aim to be the very best employer we can be. We aspire to always provide the very best service to our customers and attribute this to our wonderful, committed people."

Michelle Harrison, Director of People & Culture - Orwell Housing Association

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