Making a positive impact
Our community investment activities are more important than ever as we work together to help make our residents and communities healthier, wealthier and happier.
We make these investments through our community investment arm, the Peabody Community Fund (PCF). During the year to the end of March 2023, we worked hard to adopt a more local focus so we could provide the support residents really need.
You can find out more in new PCF Annual Report and Accounts for 2022-23.
“We know it’s critical that we continue to recognise and respond to what people need to thrive.”Stephen Burns, Executive Director, Care, Inclusion and Communities.
Invested £8.2m in our communities.
Helped 443 people into work and apprenticeships.
Enabled 689 customers to gain qualifications.
Gave 476 businesses access to enterprise support and resources.
Awarded £1.1m in grants to community organisations.
416 local community groups gave their time to make a difference.
During the year we introduced a new approach to social value because it’s a key part of who we are and something we’re passionate about. By adding a 20 percent weighting to large contract tenders, we’re making sure that everything we do provides a benefit to our communities.
Building engaged and active communities
People are at the heart of everything we do. We provide support and advice to help them make a difference themselves. Whether it’s managing one of our community buildings or designing and delivering their own projects, we’re here to help them and their community flourish.
During the year we:
- Helped residents to make a difference in their own community by supporting them to run things like food pantries, health and wellbeing sessions and children’s activities in our community buildings.
- Gave residents a place on the decision-making panel for the Thamesmead Community Fund and the Youth People’s Fund.
- Provided grants to local people to run 123 projects that benefited their community.
- Supported young people into business through a series of dedicated programmes.
- Provided training, support (and in six cases a grant of £10,000) to seven community organisations through our Social Innovation Fellowship to help them deliver social change.
Giving back to the community
Over five years ago, Emma, a Peabody resident and now an early years and special needs teacher, received a Peabody Elves hamper. As a then struggling mum, she remembers how grateful she was and decided that when she could, she’d give something back to the community.
Fast-forward five years and Bunny Steps, a project offering boxes of learning activities for disadvantaged and autistic children, was born.
Along with Carly, mum to six children, two of whom have autism, Emma used a £500 Community Leader Grant to address an issue she'd noticed during lockdown - that children were missing out on learning opportunities at home when their nurseries closed. The activity boxes contain clear instructions for fun activities for children and their parents to complete together away from a screen.
We help people to get better-paid, higher-quality jobs and reduce their debts. We also make it easier for people to find affordable childcare, which increases their chances of finding work.
During the year we:
- Helped over 1,100 people find a job, start an apprenticeship or access training and achieve qualifications.
- Hosted a jobs fair attended by more than 1,600 people and showcasing over 60 companies.
- Helped 223 people get childcare qualifications so they can not only work themselves, but also enable others to work.
- Offered specialist advice and support to help people tackle financial worries.
- Introduced Support Finder, our online tool that gives residents a quick and easy way to find help with energy bills, food costs, debt and even education and wellbeing support.
Finding the right support
Janine* now runs her own childminding business after doing a level 3 childminding course at Parkside Community Centre. As a busy mum to an eight-month-old, Janine found juggling the course and family life was easier because she could leave her little girl in the free creche while she attended classes.
“The course really opened up my eyes on what expectations there are when practising as a childminder,” said Janine. “I’m so happy to say that I have now started my business as a childminder. I’m still learning and would love to expand the business as my daughter gets older. I made lots of friends on the course and the childcare team always gave me support where needed and helped me prepare for OFSTED.”
Developing skills and aspirations
By giving people of all ages better access to education, training opportunities and business support, we help them broaden their horizons and achieve their goals.
During the year we:
- Helped 12 young people get on the career ladder with Kickstart placements at Peabody.
- Helped 206 people get a construction apprenticeship through our supply chain.
- Worked with our partners Durkan, Berkeley Homes, Ardmore, and Mulalley to provide information and traineeships.
- Helped 476 local social enterprises access support and resources.
- Provided 81 businesses with opportunities to trade locally.
Using community grants
James made the most of support he received from Peabody to develop his community project MaFia Weekend (Make a Film in a Weekend).
Starting his journey with the foundation as a Community Leader and receiving a Community Leaders Grant he wanted to develop his programme further. So he attended Hatch’s Business Hackathon programme delivered in partnership with the foundation and then went on to secure his place in the next level programme, The Launchpad, to develop his social enterprise.
“I plan to use the knowledge I learnt at the hackathon event to develop a short, concise elevator pitch. This is going to be really useful for me when I begin to articulate my business to potential clients and also my network in order to develop some momentum,” said James.
James has gone on to register MaFia Weekend as a Community Interest Company with Companies House and taken part in our Social Innovation Fellowship.
Improving mental and physical health
We all know the benefits of positive mental, emotional and physical health so we have a range of initiatives aimed at improving the overall health of those in our communities. We also have programmes to support them to become more active, resilient and confident.
During the year we:
- Helped tackle food insecurity by working with partners to set up 24 food insecurity projects to help households save on their weekly shop.
- Helped reduce food waste by redistributing 10 tons of surplus food to over 1,000 households over the 2022-23 festive period as part of our partnership with The Felix Project.
- Helped communities get and stay active with things like the Active Well Programme in Thamesmead which helped 913 people get active through a range of sporting activities.
- Improved residents’ mental health and wellbeing with special activities and advice from healthcare professionals at our Wellbeing Café at Chingford Hall.
- Supported young people by giving them access to mental health professionals at our Crisis Café at the Pembury Community Group.
Working together to provide support that's needed
In partnership with HACT and The Felix Project, we started The London Food Insecurity Network. This exciting new partnership explores long-term sustainable community-led solutions to food poverty. The idea is to bring together housing associations from across the capital with the collective aim of ensuring that no Londoner goes to bed hungry.
“Across the capital, housing associations are funding and delivering a range of food-related projects to support residents and communities,” said Sahil Khan, Director of Community Strategy, Partnerships and Funding at Peabody. “However, the scale of the challenge cannot be addressed by us and our partners alone. So we’re pleased to launch this important initiative with HACT and The Felix Project to provide a joined-up response to tackle the growing food crisis in our communities.”
We’ll continue with the valuable work we’re already doing and invest where we can, focusing on:
- Tackling inequality and poverty.
- Embedding wellbeing.
- Customer co-creation and sharing power.
- Community activities and programmes.
We’ll also do everything we can to get closer to our residents. We’ll work with them and local partners to make decisions and design services together so we can make sure we’re providing services that are truly needed. And by doing this, we’ll be helping to build the engaged, supportive and entrepreneurial community that’s central to Peabody.