St Martins Estate, Lambeth
St Martins Estate is a home to around 5,700 residents who live in 1,282 properties that make up the 72 blocks on the estate. Most families are either unemployed or non/low wage earners. The Estate has been managed by the Metropolitan Housing Trust (MHT) on behalf of the other partners since 2005 and is the third largest in the borough of Lambeth.
In 1998 High Trees Tenants and Residents Association were invited by Lambeth Council to prepare a bid for an Estate Renewal Challenge Fund. This grant enabled the large scale voluntary transfer of the estate to housing association partners. Metropolitan Housing Trust, Presentation Housing Association and the South London Family Housing Association formed a partnership for this bid. The business plan showed that with a grant of £7M from the government and £28M invested by the housing associations, a five year modernisation and development programme could be repaid out of rent in 30 years. The bid was successful and ERCF grant included around £1M for regeneration, half for expenditure on community buildings and amenities.
Pinnacle PSG was originally involved in a landscape regeneration project on the estate in 2000. On completion, in 2001 Pinnacle PSG won the contract to provide grounds maintenance and cleaning services on the estate. This has involved a close working in partnership with St Martins Community Partnership which has included a range of innovative projects and participating in local initiatives - tackling anti-social behaviour, repairs reporting, landscape improvement, tree works, graffiti removal and currently added voids
Working with the community
Following the death of Janice Owens, a very active St Martins’ resident, Pinnacle PSG was asked to prepare a Memorial Garden on the estate. Janice lived in Sheppard House on the St Martins Estate from 1990 and the memorial garden was created right next to her property. Pinnacle PSG supplied two gardeners for 2.5 days free of charge to prepare and plant the area.
Pinnacle PSG and MHT have always worked closely together to promote sustainability and community working. It was, therefore, no surprise that MHT turned to Pinnacle PSG to help organise a bulb planting programme with students from the local Fenstanton Primary School. MHT paid for the bulbs and Pinnacle PSG prepared the ground for planting as well as providing a short training session with the children on what a bulb is, how to plant bulbs and where the bulbs were to be planted. Around 30 youngsters planted around 1000 daffodils in the front of three of the estate blocks which have successfully bloomed annually.
Pinnacle PSG goes to great lengths to promote the sustainability message on the estate, so earlier this year (2009) it offered the services of four staff for three Saturdays, at no charge to MHT, to clear up a redundant area of land. Pinnacle PSG provided the labour and rubbish removal free of charge. The area will now be used to create 15 allotments, ten for use by residents and five for a local school. The aim is for local children to take part in planting schemes to learn about sustainable issues and to respect green areas on their estate.
Other projects have included sponsoring a local football team and providing prizes for a local community day.
Delivering on commitments
Pinnacle PSG places a high value on people. Our customers, residents in the local community, clients and staff are important to us and we always like to hear what they have to say. Involving residents is key to our success and apart from regular day to day contact, whilst working on the estate, we regularly attend estate walkabouts and the residents’ forum.
Measuring Pinnacle PSG’s success
A MHT report two years ago confirmed they were getting value for money from the contract and Pinnacle PSG was delivering an ‘excellent’ service.
In a recent estate residents’ survey undertaken by Pinnacle PSG, it scored highly, with all residents satisfied with Pinnacle PSG’s overall performance. A ranking system using gold silver or bronze as an indicator was used, with silver at least meeting the contract’s required standard.
When asked about how reasonable the service was considering the behaviour of residents, they ranked this as silver. A gold score was given when asked if the service had improved since Pinnacle PSG took over. Residents also indicated that cleaners did a ‘brilliant’ job.