Corporate Social Responsibility
Our objectives 4
Looking forward 23
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As one of the UK’s leading social housing and regeneration
organisations, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a natural
extension of Riverside’s traditional role.
It lies at the heart of our business and is synonymous with our
vision, transforming lives, revitalising neighbourhoods.
It is about embracing our wider responsibilities and looking at
how we can make a positive impact on the broader community,
environment and marketplace and how this can be achieved by
creating a happy workplace where staff feel valued and involved.
Since our first annual CSR report was published last autumn,
we have made significant progress including undertaking a
successful amalgamation and rebrand which will generate
savings that can be invested into frontline services.
This report is a chance to reflect on our achievements over the
last 12 months and identify what still needs to be done to meet
our objectives over the next few years.
Board Sponsor CSR Steering Group
Vice Chair of The Riverside Group Limited Board
As one of the country’s leading social landlords,
we own and manage around 50,000 properties
from Carlisle to Kent and employ over 2,500
members of staff.
In 2007 we joined Business in the Community,
who engage and challenge companies on
responsible business and support them to
continually improve their positive impact on
society. Since then we have continued to make
good progress in their four key impact areas.
We aim to demonstrate that by recruiting,
purchasing and investing in a considered way
we can help build thriving communities.
We aim to protect and enrich the natural
environment, minimising our negative
impact whilst improving the quality of
the physical landscape.
We aim to treat our customers and suppliers
fairly and with respect, ensuring that we adopt
an ethical approach to procurement without
compromising value for money.
We value our staff by promoting a positive
internal culture where our investment in
staff benefits both the individual and the
organisation, helping to achieve positive
outcomes for the wider community.
We have encouraged the reduction of our
head office energy consumption by running
an energy saving campaign called ‘Goodbye
Standby’. This resulted in our head office
decreasing their energy usage by 4% in one
week. It raised awareness by providing hints
and tips to staff to help sustain this reduction.
We have encouraged the reduction of business
mileage by introducing a Passenger Mileage
Incentive that allows drivers to claim a mileage
allowance for passengers, encouraging car
sharing. As a result, our passenger mileage
increased by 113% and our business mileage
decreased by 4% this financial year. Since April
2009 we have saved nearly £184,000 in travel
costs by using video conferencing.
We raised almost £7,000 for the homeless
charity the Whitechapel Centre. WaterAid
will be our nominated charity for the next
three years. We have set a target to raise
£10,000 for WaterAid and other national
and local charities in the next 12 months.
Since April 2009 over 350 people accessed our
training and employment opportunities as a
result of our partnership with external Welfare
to Work agencies such as Working Links and
Shaw Trust. We work in partnership with local
authority providers such as Liverpool Jobs,
Education and Training (JET) Service and
Sefton at Work. Other third sector agencies we
work with include Tomorrow’s People, ELECT
and the Neighbourhood Services Committee.
Our achievements over the past year
We have undergone a rebrand and
amalgamation, which will save us more than
£3 million over the next five years. This will
be invested into new affordable homes and
improving our services. The consolidation of
our assets is also expected to strengthen our
position with the Homes and Communities
Agency (HCA) when it comes to the provision
of social housing grants.
We are on track to achieve our target of
3,000 tenants getting access to affordable
credit by 2011. This has been helped by
setting up St Helens Moneyline, which will
soon be launched in Wirral and Warrington.
We have launched a Homelessness Strategy
which is consistent with our objectives to
deliver excellent housing services and to
support vulnerable residents to live with
dignity in their own homes.
We adopted a calendar of CSR activities that
actively promote national awareness days
such as Bring a Phone to Work Day, Fairtrade
Fortnight and Bike Week to staff and tenants.
We joined SHIFT (Sustainable Homes Index
For Tomorrow), a national benchmarking
and best practice group for Registered
Social Landlords (RSLs) who wish to promote
sustainability and energy efficiency.
We have commissioned a Green Fleet Review
with the Energy Saving Trust. They provided us
with a carbon footprint for our fleet of vehicles
and identified ways to reduce our costs and
We have been reaccredited with a Big Tick
by Business in the Community for our
commitment to education in Liverpool and
have been shortlisted for two Sustainable
Lancaster University undertook a
benchmarking exercise that evaluates the
progress of our CSR programme. They have
made further recommendations about our
future CSR planning.
Environmental issues are high on our agenda.
So much so that one of our Group Objectives set
out in our Corporate Plan is to ‘manage places
so that they are cleaner, greener and safer’.
To ensure all staff contribute to meeting this
objective and to ensure that environmental
focus is embedded across the organisation,
we have reviewed our vision and values and
adopted them into our appraisal system.
One of the staff competencies built into
performance appraisals is ‘maximising value
minimising waste’. To demonstrate this, staff
must manage environmental resources
efficiently and identify areas to achieve a
reduction in waste. To further raise staff
awareness of environmental issues and
encourage positive personal and corporate
green action, we have a staff award called
‘Making Riverside Greener’.
Big Tidy Up
In partnership with our contractor Morrison, we
helped to clean up the streets of Merseyside as
part of Keep Britain Tidy’s national clear up
campaign. Keep Britain Tidy is a national
environmental charity that campaigns directly
to the public about those things that impact
negatively on the places where we live, work,
invest and visit. Their aim is to change
behaviour for the better and improve our local
environment. The Big Tidy Up encourages
communities to get together and to tidy up
areas like streets, beaches, gardens, parks and
watersides by litter picking and recycling.
We also use Lighthouse Liverpool, a charity
which has an outlet shop that funds work in
the local community, to clear void properties.
Hundreds of pounds are raised each month by
recycling furniture and other household goods
that would otherwise go to a tip.
Tenants’ and Residents’ Greener
We have launched a Tenants’ and Residents’
Greener Issues Group, which comprises of
representatives across all divisions from
Carlisle to the South East.
Their objectives are to:
— encourage tenants and residents
to share ideas and best practice on
— identify sources of advice and assistance
which will help tenants and residents
manage energy more effectively
— raise awareness of the need to protect the
environment and reduce carbon emissions
for example by recycling, limiting energy
consumption in the home and travelling
in a greener way
— act as a sounding board for
environmental ideas and initiatives
— sponsor and lend support to initiatives
We will shortly be consulting with members of
the Greener Issues Group about our ongoing
plans to improve the energy efficiency of our
existing tenant properties.
Sustainable Housing Awards
We were shortlisted for two Sustainable
Housing Awards organised by Inside Housing
magazine in association with the Chartered
Institute of Housing (CIH). We were a finalist
in the Social Housing Provider of the Year
category. CIRCLE, which is a partnership
between Riverside, Plus Housing Group and
the Seddon Group, was a finalist in the Waste
Working in partnership with the Energy Saving
Trust, we offered staff free Smarter Driving
lessons with an advanced driving instructor
who taught employees how to drive more
efficiently and reduce fuel consumption. To
date over 100 staff from head office in Speke
and our local offices in Dovecot, Belle Vale,
Bootle and Middleton have taken the training.
At the end of each session, a percentage
reduction in fuel consumption was provided,
plus an estimate of how much money this
would save the driver each year. On average,
staff could reduce CO 2
emissions by 18% each
time they drive. For a typical car, this equates
to annual savings of more than half a tonne
of CO 2
and more than £300 in fuel per driver.
This adds up to a potential group saving of
more than 50 tonnes of CO 2
£30,000 in a year.
Cycle to work day
Initiated by cyclists themselves, this project
was an excellent example of employees living
green values. To encourage participation, all
staff who cycled to work received a voucher
for a free lunch at the staff restaurant. There
was a display in reception to raise awareness
of the benefits of cycling with free giveaways
including cycle maps and wheel spoke
reflectors. On the day, 12 staff cycled 200
miles, saving 49kg of CO 2
. They saved up
to £80 in travel costs. Those who pledged to
cycle at least once a week would collectively
travel 19,400 miles a year, saving over five
tonnes of CO 2
– that’s over 2.8 million litres
of CO 2
by volume. They would collectively
save £7,760 in transport costs.
We encourage our tenants and residents to
get involved in environmental improvements.
In Cambridge our Victoria Road hostel not
only has a well run allotment, but was the
first scheme to successfully raise livestock. The
gardens are tended by the scheme’s residents.
In the heart of London, our Queen Mary’s
hostel for women with mental health
problems successfully bid for funding for a
bike loan. Now its residents, many of whom
have suffered abuse and mental ill health,
benefit from loaning out a bike and cycling
to appointments and meetings.
Over 3,000 tenants will benefit from warmer
homes and energy savings, thanks to a
successful bid for cash to insulate properties
with hard to treat cavity walls. Working with
Fusion21, we secured over £3 million from the
HCA to insulate properties across the country.
The cash forms part of a £83.8 million fund
from the HCA’s Social Housing Energy Saving
Programme, set up to help social landlords
improve energy efficiency nationally. As a
founding member and the largest housing
association in Fusion21, we secured the
funding on behalf of the group with a
collective bid that will benefit four smaller
housing associations. The two year insulation
programme is due for completion in April 2011
and could potentially save people an average
of £110 per year on heating bills and cut CO 2
emissions by nearly four million tonnes.
We are currently involved in 12 Changing
— Through Steps to Sustainability, we are
working with the community to develop
green spaces in Tranmere including
allotments. We are extending the
bag-a-bargain food co-operative and
introducing eco gardening in schools and
a junior warden scheme.
— We are creating green spaces in pre-1919
terraced street alleyways in Merseyside.
— We have transformed Hillcrest play area
in Runcorn from a playground that was
blighted by graffiti and disrepair into a
creative play space. It includes state of
the art equipment and a community
garden featuring toddler play.
— We are creating a multi-use games area
and surrounding landscape on the
Colshaw Farm estate near Wilmslow.
— We are helping to transform Mab Lane
playing fields in Dovecot into a
community resource which aims to be ‘the
most colourful woodland in the world’.
— At Millfields in West Bromwich we are
engaging with the community to develop
the Balls Hills area. This includes the
development of a friends group and a
youth warden scheme.
— We are landscaping Gorsewood Ponds in
Runcorn to develop a local habitat for
wildlife. There will also be improved access
for the local primary schools to enhance
— At Bromborough Pool Village in Wirral,
we are designing a playground with a
— In partnership with a social enterprise, we
are working with local unemployed people
to transform a derelict car park in Leicester
into Beaumanor Community Garden.
— At Weston Heights in Stoke-on-Trent, we
are developing a new community garden
as part of the regeneration of the area.
This is being led by the Compendium
Group, a joint venture between Riverside
— We have commissioned the Everyman
and Playhouse theatres in Liverpool to
work with young people by engaging
them in their environment, which includes
the Vauxhall canal side.
— We are transforming a derelict urban site
in Netherley into a high quality landscape
that includes a multi-use games area.
Since October 2007 our Changing Spaces
— held 117 community events
— involved 309 people in the delivery of
— recorded 712 reports of increased
satisfaction within the local environment
and facilities in the Steps to Sustainability
Tranmere and Rock Ferry area, which
exceeded our target of 500
— generated 143 resident volunteering
— created seven permanent jobs.
We have always recognised that creating
sustainable neighbourhoods takes more than
investing in housing and managing tenancies.
Ensuring that communities remain socially and
economically vibrant is as much a part of our
core business as transforming run-down and
socially blighted neighbourhoods.
We have a dedicated Community Investment
Team as well as local Community Initiative
Officers. Each year we invest around £500,000
via the Riverside Impact Fund and £100,000
via the Central Community Chest. In addition
our divisions have their own local Community
Chest and in Merseyside we invest £60,000 –
£70,000 via the Riverside Charitable Trust.
We also bid for external funding. Through
‘Green Spaces for People’, a partnership
with Places for People and Peabody, we
secured £15.6 million of the Big Lottery
‘Changing Spaces’ grant to regenerate
75 neighbourhoods across the UK.
We secured funding from the Department
for Work and Pensions to pilot a low cost loans
service in St. Helens to provide an alternative
to doorstep lenders. Following the success of
Moneyline in St. Helens, which has given out
961 loans, helped 336 people set up savings
accounts and has lent over £440,000 in it’s
first year, we are now rolling out the initiative
in Wirral and Warrington.
We donated £20,000 towards Clockwise,
a credit union in Leicester, that enabled it to
introduce a current account to its customers.
For the first time members can withdraw
money free of charge at over 60,000 ATMs
throughout the country, rather than having
to go into one of Clockwise’s offices during
We are working in partnership with the
community group, Benwell Neighbourhood
Management Initiative, on a junior warden
scheme that is aimed at teaching youngsters
about the work of neighbourhood wardens
in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour (ASB).
We donated £1,000 towards the scheme
which saw 60 youngsters learn about the
consequences of fly tipping, graffiti, fire
safety and the impact of crime on its’ victims.
Junior wardens from the Langley estate
in Middleton visited police horse stables in
Manchester. This was part of a wider initiative
to give youngsters a better understanding of
the work that the police do to help develop a
greater level of respect.
In the Midlands, we organised five weeks of
activities to get the young people at City Point
in Derby involved in cleaning up their area.
During the time the scheme was running,
ASB reported to the police dropped by 22%.
During ‘My Friends Online Week’ we teamed up
with Age Concern to offer a free taster session
for our older tenants, introducing them to the
internet. We encouraged them to get in
contact with friends and family across the
globe, discover interest groups in the local area
and meet new people online.
We also teamed up with a community based
economic regeneration agency, Dingle
Opportunities, by sponsoring the Liv-it bus in
a bid to increase social inclusion and economic
benefit through digital technology.
We have commissioned a study into
worklessness and social housing to gain a
better understanding of the needs and
situations of our tenants. We have been
working with the Policy Studies Institute (PSI)
to build a profile of our tenants, and provide
evidence on the employment and financial
issues for different household types. PSI have
recommended a systematic and joined-up
approach on how to deliver support to our
tenants. The study recommends a range of
tailored policy options aimed at reducing the
distance of our tenants from the labour market
and improving financial inclusion. We will use
this knowledge and the recommendations to
prioritise resources and to focus our attention
on those options that improve the prosperity
of our tenants in the most effective way.
We have been chosen by the CIH to host pilot
City Employment Strategy (CES) training
sessions focusing on worklessness for housing
association staff in Liverpool. Following the
pilot, an initial programme will be rolled out
across Merseyside. This is one of the areas
identified by the Department for Work and
Pensions as being furthest away from the
country’s aspirations of achieving an 80%
We are also involved in the Government’s
Future Jobs Fund. We successfully bid to create
50 work placements over the next 18 months.
Future Jobs supports people aged 18–24 who
are experiencing long-term unemployment.
Placements will include roles that benefit
the local community such as environmental
services, financial inclusion, housing
management, customer service, construction
recycling and community engagement.
Last year we raised almost £7,000 for the
Whitechapel Centre, a Liverpool charity that
supports vulnerable homeless people and their
families. The cash was used to pay for ‘start
the journey’ and ‘welcome to your home’
packs. The former contained items such as
toiletries whilst the latter provided essentials
such as kettles and crockery. Fundraising
activities included the sale of a calendar for
Diverse City, a photography exhibition that
celebrated our 80th birthday in Merseyside.
We also donated the location fee from a film
shoot at properties in Liverpool, when the BBC
filmed the supernatural drama Apparitions.
For the next three years our nominated charity
is WaterAid, whose mission is to transform lives
by providing access to safe water, sanitation
and hygiene education in the world’s poorest
communities. To date, we have launched a
campaign to encourage staff to donate an
hour’s pay; our tenants have worked with
schoolchildren in Liverpool and Liverpool World
Centre to develop a drama to highlight the
work of WaterAid; and individual members
of staff have taken part in sponsored events
from cycling to bog snorkelling.
Access to skills and training
Across the country we run over 100 homeless
hostels and foyers. A key focus is working
with people to access skills and training that
will assist them with making the move into
employment and independent living. We also
offer NVQs in a wide range of areas such as
catering, warehousing, forklift truck operations,
and health and safety. We have established
relationships with local businesses to aid with
further training and employment.
Food for thought
We held several events throughout the year
to show our tenants that by making a few
small changes to their daily lifestyle they can
eat healthily, while saving money and reducing
food waste at the same time.
Big Lunch events in Southport and Liverpool
have encouraged our tenants to sit down and
eat with people from their street in a bid to
foster greater community spirit. The events
were a chance for our tenants to appreciate
their local area and the people who share it
with them. As well as being good fun, events
like this help build stronger neighbourhoods.
Elsewhere in the North West, we promoted
healthy eating on a budget by giving away
goody bags at a family fun day in Bootle.
The bags contained a healthy family recipe
idea and the ingredients to make it.
Tenants in the North East learnt that eating
a healthy and balanced diet doesn’t mean
you have to buy the most expensive foods.
To help tackle rising obesity rates and to help
tenants get the most out of their weekly shop
during the credit crunch, we invited Real Food
Works to run a workshop on cheap, healthy
alternatives to processed or fast food.
In Birmingham, our Ashgrove extra-care
sheltered scheme linked up with its local church
to develop a community resource centre. The
centre offers a community café, an IT suite
with training classes, aerobics sessions for older
people and a community lounge that is used by
parents and toddlers and many other groups.
We have a long track record of supporting
homelessness. Our merger with ECHG, which is
now our specialist supported and sheltered
housing provider, has confirmed our position as
a national provider of excellent services to the
homeless and potentially homeless. The
current economic downturn makes the plight
of the homeless more pressing than ever as
supply is threatened and repossessions increase
resulting in an imbalance between housing
supply and demand.
We have developed a strategy to prevent
homelessness by working with partners who
support those at risk of homelessness.
By providing suitable accommodation for
those at risk of homelessness and by tailoring
housing and support services we aim to help
those vulnerable people remain in their homes.
Empowering tenants to launch their
At Livingstone House in London, we work with
black and minority ethnic homeless men and
women to integrate them back into the
community. By giving them confidence and
qualifications, our ex-residents have gone on
to set up enterprises as diverse as fashion
labels, PR agencies, careers services and music
recording studios. One of our ex-residents is
now a rap artist, who has won acclaim from
the Princes Trust for his work using music to
tackle gun crime in his community.
We pride ourselves on a welcoming and
supportive culture for all.
We have a strong internal communications
network, a robust training and development
programme and a suite of employee benefits.
Staff are appraised annually on behavioural
competences and their contribution to our
Corporate Objectives. Every year we reward
staff who go the extra mile in helping us
achieve our vision and values through the
staff achievement awards.
We have several staff groups including the
Action for Disabled Staff Group, which is
affiliated to our Equality and Diversity Group;
the Black and Minority Ethnic Staff Group; and
the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
The Sunday Times Best Companies
We have been accredited with the One to
Watch award by the Sunday Times Best 100
Companies, after staff gave their opinions in
an online survey. Out of the eight factors used
in the survey to score employers, our two
strongest areas were:
— Giving Something Back – how much
people think we put back into society.
— Personal Growth – whether people feel
challenged by their job, whether their skills
are being utilised and perceived
opportunities for advancement.
Through these results, we have identified our
strengths and areas for further improvement.
Year-on-year results will allow us to identify
trends and improvements. We can also
benchmark our results from the survey
to compare with other organisations,
including housing associations.
We meet the membership fee for all
employees who wish to join our online scheme
which gives discounts and cashback from more
than 1,300 retailers.
BUPA Employee Assistance
All employees and their families are given
access to free, confidential support, guidance
Cycle to Work
Staff can save up to 40% off the cost of a bike
and accessories by taking advantage of the tax
and national insurance exemption.
Staff can save up to £1,000 a year on childcare.
Childcare-plus is a Government approved
benefit that allows staff to receive part of their
salary free of tax and national insurance to
pay for registered or approved childcare.
The Workplace Trust
The Workplace Trust is a workplace charity
that provides financial aid that can improve
a person’s quality of life, should they become
ill or disabled. It is entirely voluntary and it is
up to each member of staff how much they
contribute into the fund. Any member of staff
can ask for assistance for themselves or on
behalf of a colleague, family members or a
friend when they need it.
Our super users are policy and practitioner
experts who provide day-to-day support to
staff. By giving staff access to advice and
support, we are helping them respond
more effectively to our tenants’ needs.
We provide competence training in our key
service areas of ASB, estate and tenancy
management, rechargeable repairs and
rent arrears recovery. We were the first
social housing organisation to launch a
competence-based, Open College Network
accredited course in ASB. In its first year,
complaints about ASB reduced from 2,530 to
1,230 and customer satisfaction with staff who
visit tenants and residents to discuss their case
increased from 85% to 93%. The course won
a North West Training Award. The feedback
report said the judges were particularly
impressed with the “contribution that this
programme is making” and that there are
“strong elements of training best practice,
inclusiveness and further potential for the
future”. They noted that the number of
complaints about the service halved due to
an increase in the number of complaints
being resolved at first point of contact.
Cornerstone is our management development
programme, endorsed by the CIH and
accredited through the Institute of Leadership
and Management. It aims to raise the bar
on our current management practices, bringing
a consistent approach to management across
the Group. In addition we have an Active
Engagement Programme that helps those
at the top become champions of service
excellence. It better equips managers in
leading and embedding change across the
organisation, helping them build commitment
from all employees so we can strive for
excellence. It involves Group Directors
spending time with colleagues on the ground
for example shadowing Customer Service
Centre staff or acting as mystery shoppers
for our Home Ownership team.
Disability Awareness Week
Paralympic athlete Mark Eccleston shared his
passion for sport and his story of recovery
from a life changing accident, at a special
presentation to launch our disability awareness
week. In 1986, at the age of 16, Mark was
involved in an accident that severed his spinal
cord leaving him paralysed and a full time
wheelchair user. He has since gone on to
become a wheelchair rugby and tennis
champion and is an inspirational speaker
with a remarkable story of determination.
Mark’s visit to our head office in Speke marked
the start of a week long schedule of activities
lead by our Action for Disabled Staff Group
to promote supporting people at work.
Other speakers including Talking Hands, the
Alzheimer’s Disease Society, the Northern
Signing Choir and Action for the Blind.
The Action for Disabled Staff Group is
available to talk to any member of staff who
has a disability issue whether they need to
adapt their working environment or need
advice on financial assistance.
We consult our staff and keep them informed
via a strong internal communications network
which includes a weekly e-bulletin, the intranet
and the staff newsletter and DVD, which are
produced three times a year. We hold annual
staff award ceremonies, managers’ conferences
and a bi-annual staff conference. Every
department has a monthly team meeting
for which a team brief is produced to ensure
information from managers’ meetings is
cascaded down to all staff. We also have
ad-hoc electronic surveys asking for feedback
on departments or projects and if we are
undergoing a significant change the Chief
Executive will hold a series of roadshows across
the country to ensure all staff are fully informed.
We aim to operate in a socially responsible way
in all areas of our business including the supply
chains for our repairs and housing
We monitor contractors’ equality and diversity
annually, for example ensuring they record
all their staff by gender, ethnicity and level
We work with a wide range of contractors,
suppliers and partners to stimulate a varied and
competitive market. Our supply chain includes
voluntary organisations, social enterprises and
other not-for-profit organisations.
The Riverside Partnership
The Riverside Partnership is a group of
RSLs who have come together to maximise
efficiencies and the impact of their work.
We are a lead partner along with Regenda and
Vicinity Group. Other members include Venture
Housing, Twin Valley Homes, New Progress and
Wirral Partnership Homes. The Riverside
Partnership has a framework of design
consultants, cost consultants, structural
engineers and construction design
management consultants. The aim is to deliver
housing programmes in a more cost effective
and time efficient way through a start to
finish performance improvement process. By
focusing on value to customers and reducing
waste and increasing efficiency, we are able to
deliver our programmes more effectively and
make a greater impact on the communities
within which we work.
We aim to work with contractors who have
a strong CSR remit, for example Morrison,
our repairs contractor, supports the local
— establishing local employment
— supporting education
— supporting social and economic
— working with clients and communities to
promote diversity and tackle
— promoting safer communities
— promoting a positive impact on the
As a result of its partnering contract with us,
Morrison has involved over 100 people in CSR
activities, totalling nearly 800 hours and
Respect for People
Constructing Excellence is the single
organisation charged with driving the
change agenda in construction. Constructing
Excellence partners seek to achieve radical
performance improvements within the
construction industry which includes Respect
for People principles. Respect for People is
identified as fundamental to business success
and is about giving respect to employees
whilst gaining respect from them and from
the general public. We benchmark our
supply chain on nine Respect for People
Key Performance Indicators such as Safety,
Qualifications and Skills, and Equality and
Diversity. Many of our contractors have
achieved the highest scores in areas such
as Equality and Diversity and Investors in
People status, and these results are used to
incentivise and encourage improvement.
We are one of the founding members of
Fusion21, a social economy business which
promotes collaboration to save money and
create jobs. Fusion21’s supply chains help
deliver work programmes, create sustainable
jobs for local people and generate savings to
reinvest in frontline service improvements.
In the last five years, the Fusion21 Skills
Programme has created over 600 permanent
jobs in construction for Merseyside residents.
This figure includes:
— 160 social housing residents
— 49 women
— 21 members of black and minority ethnic
— 19 disabled people.
Fusion21 provided further vocational training
to over 700 Merseyside residents. In doing so
it generated an estimated financial benefit
in excess of £18.5m to Merseyside boroughs
through regular paid work and reductions in
benefit claims. Following its success in
Merseyside, Fusion21 is now being rolled
out across the UK. It is establishing groundbreaking
links with prisons to offer training
and employment opportunities. This includes
innovative in-prison assembly contracts for the
production of window frames.
We work very closely with social enterprises
who trade for social and environmental
purposes. Their profits are reinvested back
into the business or the community.
— We donated £3,700 to Furniture Resource
Centre, which manufactures, collects,
refurbishes, sells and delivers furniture to
low income households. Their retail
venture Revive supports hundreds of low
income families in Merseyside every
month while their waste management
and recycling business Bulky Bob’s collects
from over 100,000 households a year.
— We work with Speke Training and
Education Centre (STEC) to provide work
— We are a member of Compass
Regeneration Academy, an innovative
learning and development forum which
has been set up to enhance the
professional development of graduates
working in the housing and regeneration
sectors in Merseyside.
— We support several credit unions.
We donated £10,000 to King George
Credit Union and £5,000 to Lodge
Lane Credit Union.
Prior to the rebrand and the amalgamation
of Riverside, most items we printed had to be
reproduced eight different times for each
subsidiary and division. By standardising
materials, reducing multiple brands and using
a single supplier, we have made savings that
can improve our capacity to purchase Fairtrade
and recycled goods.
During the last year we have continued to
implement our procurement strategy which
combines value for money with a commitment
to responsible procurement. We aim to ensure
that we take an ethical approach when
choosing suppliers, goods and services, taking
into account their environmental impact and
the added value to the community. Since
January 2009, nearly a third of our corporate
stationery account has been spent on green
products. There are still opportunities to
improve this but it is a promising start. In
addition we are trying to identify the areas
of the business that place frequent orders
rather than a monthly request in order to
cut down on the amount of deliveries made.
We also purchase a range of laser toner and
inkjet cartridges which carry international
accreditation in respect of quality and
environmental procedures in the
We have adopted a position statement
pledging to support and promote Fairtrade.
During Fairtrade Fortnight we ran a series
of events such as the staff canteen at our
head office in Liverpool featuring a menu
made principally with Fairtrade ingredients.
A volunteer from Traidcraft, an organisation
which fights poverty through trade, was also
invited to come and speak to staff.
Faithfield, our sheltered housing scheme in
Watford, registered with Fairtrade Watford
after the town was declared a Fairtrade Town
in a commitment to raise public awareness and
participation in the sale of Fairtrade goods. To
celebrate its introduction, staff at the scheme
held a Fairtrade event which included a cookery
demonstration using Fairtrade ingredients and
a Fairtrade quiz with Fairtrade chocolate for
the winners. A member of Tearcraft, who
provide jobs and fair salaries for craft-workers
from some of the world’s poorest communities,
was also invited to speak at the event.
Connaught our cleaning contractors have taken
on four of our tenants as employees since
undertaking our corporate cleaning contract.
As we reflect on the achievements and
challenges of last year and look ahead, it is
clear that CSR will remain an important aspect
of our mission.
There will be a number of strands to our CSR
programme in the coming year which will
include a continued emphasis on the
environment and renewed prominence for
workplace issues. We will look to our CSR
Steering Group to drive progress and will
expect to increase the profile of the Green
Contacts network and the Green Issues Group
to further promote energy awareness amongst
our staff and residents.
We will continue to deliver CSR within our
mainstream activities including our community
engagement work on financial inclusion,
worklessness and our ethical procurement
strategy. We will also be launching a major
programme designed to ensure that we ‘do
business better’. This will help staff see the
links between our performance culture and
some of the broader more socially orientated
aspects of our work.
We will of course continue setting targets
enabling us to measure progress. At the end
of 2009/10 we aim to:
— reduce electricity consumption at our
head office by 2%
— reduce business mileage by 5%
— roll out Fairtrade products in all offices by
— generate at least £10,000 for our
nominated charity WaterAid and other
national and local charities
— introduce a time off scheme that allows
staff up to three days per year to carry
out public and voluntary duties.
We believe that our CSR programme is adding
significant value to our work as a social
business and we look forward to another
challenging and productive year.
There is considerable enthusiasm for choosing
WaterAid as our nominated charity for the
next three years. Our wish is to reach out and
help end water poverty for some of the poorest
and most disadvantaged communities across
Customer Service Centre
24 hours a day, 365 days a year
0845 111 0000
With inclusive call packages or mobile phones,
it may be cheaper to call 0345 111 0000
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Minicom: 0845 111 7766
The Riverside Group Limited
2 Estuary Boulevard,
Estuary Commerce Park,
Liverpool L24 8RF
A charitable Industrial
and Provident Society
Regulated by the
Tenant Services Authority
Details correct at time of printing
Printed on 75% recycled paper
with 25% from FSC-certified sources