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Season 4

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We're back with Season 4 and bringing you 12 brand new episodes covering cost of living, technology, sustainability and Professionalism in Housing. Keep up with all the latest from host Paula Palmer and her guests from across the sector as new episodes are released each first Wednesday of the month. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode 1: How is Stonewater supporting people?

Having grabbed the headlines throughout the winter, the rising costs of heating, food and services, the first episode of Season 4 will ask the question - how are customers being supported by Stonewater through the current cost-of-living crisis?

Host Paula Palmer will be joined by guest host Emily Batchford and guests Holly Edwards and Kim Gibson to share their thoughts and provide insight on what Stonewater is doing to support its customers and colleagues. Asking questions such as what support is available within Stonewater and beyond, how do we know what support our customers need and focusing on what we are doing to support with the energy crisis.

Kim Gibson, Customer Partner and Fuel Engagement Specialist shares more about our online Energy Hub; our award-winning campaign to help people deal with rising energy costs.

Read the transcript.

Episode 2: Longleigh Foundation

In our second cost of living themed episodes we will explore the relationship between the Longleigh Foundation and Stonewater and how the partnership can help customers affected by the rising costs.

Guest host Nicky Mason, Stonewater Partnership Manager joins our regular host Paula Palmer on this episode with guests Tracey Leatherland, also from Stonewater and Manjeev Makur, Longleigh Grants Officer as they explain about the partnership between Longleigh and Stonewater.

Discussing the impact of the cost of living crisis on customers and how Stonewater and Longleigh are able to help with rising household costs and being able to afford to live. 

We'll hear about customers who have been supported with everyday struggles and those who have larger one-off grants that make a fundamental difference to their quality of life. 

Episode 3: Money matters

In this, the third and final episode in our Cost of Living series we're talking with Clean Slate and our income team about money and support available when there just isn't enough.

Guest host Allison Howe, Stonewater Income Team  Leader joins regular host Paula Palmer on this episode with guests Emma Kernahan, Policy and Impact Lead at Clean Slate, a Longleigh Foundation partner and Stonewater customer Debbie. 

Whilst Debbie shares her struggle with making ends meet after losing her job during the COVID-19 pandemic and the support she received from Stonewater and Clean Slate, Emma and Allison describe the range of help and advice available to help pay the bills, cope with the emotional effects and destigmatise asking for help. 

Read the transcript.

Episode 4: Our Microsoft Partnership

The theme for this next trilogy of episodes is Technology and we get started by talking with Microsoft about our partnership and adopting Azure best practice.

Guest host Paul Blaydes, Assistant Director of Data at Stonewater joins the show with Kishore Rajendran from Microsoft in a discussion that Paula Palmer, our regular host, tries to keep up with. 

Explaining all about Microsoft Azure and it's many, many benefits, Paul and Kishore share how it has helped us to work better remotely and utilise our data to serve our customers more efficiently - plus what might come next.

Read the transcript.

Episode 5: Tackling the digital divide

This is the second of our technology in housing themed episodes during which, we will examine how Stonewater harnesses technology in its retirement living schemes.

We are joined by retirement living colleagues Linda Rayfield (guest host) and Charlene Barnett and Customer Engagement Coordinator, Kim Avantaggiato. We are are also joined by Pat Harvey a retirement living customer and member of the Ageing Well Board. 

With an update on the INVITE project, research that aimed to investigate how assistive and everyday technologies can improve residents’ quality of life and sustain inclusive communities we learn about what's next and what else Stonewater is doing to help our customers access the digital world with confidence. 

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Episode 6: Future of housing

The third and final episode focuses on technology in housing; this episode's guests from Stonewater offer their perspective on the future of social housing and the role that technology will play.

With guests Dean Ballard, Head of Data; Isabel Varey, Director of Housing Service Development and Becky Palmer, Neighbourhoods Peer Leader at Stonewater we discuss how Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSMs), are shaping our customer offering and operations. TSMs are designed to improve the sector for customers and we want to understand how Stonewater is using technology to adhere to the new measures and how they are recorded. 

In addition, we hear how Stonewater has developed a digital roadmap within the business, more about the vision for that and developing the customer portal - MyHome - the digital poverty working group and other things our guests would like to see social housing incorporate into their customer offering. 

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Bonus Episode: Greenoak Centre of Excellence Launch

We filmed a bonus video episode of On The Air at the launch of the Greenoak Centre of Excellence. Host Paula Palmer was joined by Vicki March, Greenoak's Director of Development and Sustainability and our very own Clare Rainsford, Environmental Sustainability Business Partner.

We talk about the partnership between Stonewater and Greenoak, how the centre came about and what's next for the initiative, including how we're working towards a more circular economy in social housing. This bonus episode comes ahead of a trio of podcasts that will dig deeper into sustainability at Stonewater, how we are balancing the needs of customer, climate and cost to the organisation. 

(To watch the episode below, please click the green cookies icon at the bottom of the page and make sure 'functional cookies' are enabled).

Episode 7: What’s in, what’s out?

Starting off on our next trio of episodes with the theme of sustainability is Episode 7, we look at what sustainability methods/products are hot right now and what may be next, and how we balance the cost now against the gains for climate and customer.

Guest host Adam Masters, Assistant Director of Environment and Sustainability is joined by members of his team to give an overview of how sustainability is viewed and actioned at Stonewater. 

Guests Rhys Bevan and Emily Batchford, Environmental Sustainability Partners, along with Arthur Gott, Development Manager talk about the technology Stonewater is using in new developments such as heat pumps, Wondrwall and Switchee among other technologies.

They talk about the design and build stage, balancing the cost to the business whilst ensuring our customers benefit from energy savings and comfortable homes to meeting net zero targets and future-proofing our new builds.

Emily, as business partner to the Customer Experience team, talks about how we're taking our customers on this journey with us and how we're making sure the technology and measures are right for them.

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Episode 8: Retrofit

Continuing our conversation on Sustainability we delve into Retrofit; how we are ensuring all our homes are EPC C by 2030 and that they are affordable and comfortable for customers.

Featuring; host Paula Palmer, guest host Emma Mifflin, Decarbonisation Manager at Stonewater and two of her Team; Helen Dextor and Jerrad Murphy, Retrofit Project Managers.

Whilst discussing the retrofit project, they are also joined by Matt Ratcliff, Managing Director Osmosis ACD, as they chat about how we are approaching the challenge, from identifying homes, design, installation, funding and after care. We find out how the measures and retrofitting of upgraded or replacement features will increase the longevity of our properties and positively impact the energy efficiency and therefore the quality for our customers.

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Episode 9: Sustainability - what else can we do?

Our final conversation covering the theme of Sustainability, we find out what else we are doing to embed sustainability across Stonewater, beyond affordable comfortable homes, from members of the team.

In this episode we invite previous guest Clare Rainsford, Environmental Business Partner, back to co-host along side Paula Palmer. 

We met Clare at the launch of the Greenoak Centre of Excellence where she introduced us to the Circular Economy principle. This time Clare talks about what else she is working on with team members Molly Auchterlonie, Environmental Business Partner to Finance, and Suzanne Le Sauvage, Environmental Partner Water and Ecology. They discuss how Stonewater is embedding sustainability and social value across the company and how we're aiming to reduce our impact on the environment. 

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Episode 10: Engaging with customers

In Episode 10, we get started on our mini in-series theme of Professionalism in Housing. We speak to our Director of Housing, Customer Engagement Co-ordinator and a member of our scrutiny panel, as well as the CEO of Tpas about engaging with customers.

The session focuses on internal and external changes, which include forthcoming regulatory changes and the increasing shift within consumer standards for brilliant customer engagement and communication. We discuss the proactive changes we are making to improve how we communicate with our customers and meet their expectations. The discussions will also explore our approach to handling situations when we sometimes don’t get things right.  

We quiz Jenny on her view about the changes, the importance of engaging customers and best practice coming through.

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Episode 11: Investing in our people

In Episode 11, we are discussing the second topic in our mini in-series theme of Professionalism in Housing.

In 'Investing in People' we invite colleagues from Stonewater's L&D team to discuss how we plan to balance employees' professionalism and qualifications with valuing their practical knowledge and skills in light of the Government's plan to introduce new competency and conduct standards for UK social housing professionals.

Guests Donna Warr, Head of Organisational Capability and Sair Leahy, Organisational Development and Learning Experience Manager outline the Competency and Conduct proposals, Stonewater's response to the consultation and who and how they might affect in the organisation. 

We discuss about our current plans and culture for colleague learning and development, from initiatives like Step up to Manager, apprenticeships and our graduate programme and how these support colleagues to fulfil personal development goals and achieve industry-recognised qualifications.  

Sair also talks to us about 'Routes in Stonewater', encouraging diversity and opportunities for all by encouraging people from all walks of life to consider a career in housing with the support and development available to succeed.

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Episode 12: Stonewater - a great place to work

In Episode 12, we continue our Professionalism in Housing mini series with why the housing sector and Stonewater in particular is a great place to work with guests from Stonewater and law firm, Tozers.

Guests Abi Deeprose (HR Advisor), Anne-Marie Alexander (Commercial Services Team Leader) share their thoughts on what makes Stonewater a great place to work and the things that matter to them. With internal policies on topics such as the menopause support, networking groups, flexible working and Stonewater’s overall commitment to being there for colleagues in the moments that matter we'll find out how all this affects colleague morale, performance and sentiment within the organisation.  

We are joined by Jill Headford (Partner and Solicitor in employment and dispute resolution at law firm, Tozers) who talks about why these  things matter and are great for social mobility. 

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Looking for previous seasons?

Here you'll find Seasons 1, 2 and 3 of our award-winning podcast.

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