Five years on: Stonewater is celebrating its fifth birthday
The business world may be littered with a trail of failed mergers and examples of deals not living up to their promises, but this month Stonewater is proving an exception as it celebrates five years on from the successful merger of the two legacy housing associations that created the new organisation.
Since its inception, Stonewater has worked tirelessly to deliver on its vision of giving everyone the opportunity of having a place that they can call home. To do this, Stonewater has set out an ambitious house-building development plan of delivering a minimum of 1,500 new homes a year from 2022 and in fact, Stonewater has already exceeded its merger targets and delivered its 3000th home.
Stonewater has also invested millions into its retirement living portfolio and expanded its supported housing offer, at a time when these types of specialist services are facing increasing pressure.
From its LGBTQ+ Safe Space in Swindon to its South Asian Women’s Refuge in Bedford, Stonewater is continually developing innovative and much-needed services to meet the diverse needs and aspirations of its customers, as well as supporting some of the most vulnerable sections of society.
One of Stonewater’s biggest successes to date was being announced as the largest Homes England strategic partner with Guinness. The £224m funding awarded to the two housing associations has enabled them to enter into longer term commitments to buy additional land, targeting areas of greatest housing need and working towards tackling the ever-growing housing shortage. In addition to this, Stonewater is also the largest management partner in Legal & General’s new Affordable Homes programme.
The not-for-profit organisation has won a number of accolades across all areas of the business including the Women in Housing, Going the Extra Mile and Energy Efficiency Awards, as well as being named a top 100 not-for-profit employer to work for by Best Companies.
Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive of Stonewater, said: “As an organisation, we are always looking forward so it’s good to pause and reflect on how much we have achieved over the past five years.
"We’ve come a long way since the merger, where we had two different IT operating systems managing our housing and financial information, as well as our e-mails. We’ve integrated and upgraded our systems, completely transforming our organisation and its digital capabilities, which in turn has resulted in a better service for our customers. However, we are constantly striving to build on what we’ve achieved, and we’re currently aiming to be the first housing association to offer online appointments for customers, through our MyOwnHome portal.
"I couldn’t be prouder of everything our colleagues and working partners have accomplished and I have no doubt that we’ll continue to build on this success.”
As part of its birthday celebrations, colleagues; David Blower, Stonewater’s Director of Corporate Services, Dean Ballard – Head of Customer Insight, and Clare Bray – Development Manager, have been reflecting on the merger journey and the organisation’s achievements in the first episode of its brand-new podcast ‘On the Air,’ which is available on all streaming platforms today (Wednesday 15 January) here.