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GGHT and Helena Partnership: TORUS News

​​torus logoWant to know more about Torus, the new housing group that is set to be formed by Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT) and Helena Partnerships in early 2015? 

Then don’t look any further as we’ve pulled together all of the information that you need to know. Whether it is copies of the latest press releases or communications that have been shared with o​ur customers, this page is your one stop shop to keep updated on this new and exciting partnership that is set to change the face of North West Housing.
If you ha​ve got any questions about the new group email us at communications@gght.org.uk.  More information can be found at www.WeAreTorus.co.uk or following @WeAreTorus on Twitter.​


  
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​Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT) has started talks with Helena Partnerships in St Helens about the possibility of forming a partnership with them via a group structure.

A group structure means that both organisations keep their own identity and continue to deliver frontline services locally. To find out more about why we are considering entering into a group structure and the next stages in the process, read this letter from our Chief Executive Peter Mercer.
  
​The boards of Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT) and St. Helens based Helena Partnerships have given the go ahead to move to the next stage of advanced partnership discussions. 

The two organisations started talks in Autumn 2013 about forming a partnership through group structure. Their Boards gave the green light to proceed after reading a business case that set out clear benefits for customers, employees and the region as a whole. 

During the summer the financial, legal and governance arrangements of both GGHT and Helena will be scrutinised and a period of consultation with key stakeholders including the Local Authorities and tenants will take place. The Boards will consider this information in September, the next decision point in the process.  

If the partnership goes ahead, the new group would own 22,000 homes, employ around 1,000 people and have a joint turnover of £100million, making it one of the largest housing groups in the North West and a key North West regeneration partner.
  
torus board members standing in a parkGGHT customers have signalled their support for plans to form a group structure with St Helens-based housing association Helena Partnerships.

Earlier this year all GGHT tenants and leaseholders were asked formally for their views. 71% of those who responded were in support of the plans and a small number had reservations or further questions.

One tenant summed up the general mood by saying; “I think the Group coming together will work well. It will help many people to get into work. I’m very pleased to see something positive is being done. Good luck.”

These positive sentiments are echoed by GGHT Chief Executive, Peter Mercer, who comments;   “The benefits of forming a group are compelling – hundreds of new homes in Warrington, thousands of jobs for local people across the region and a stronger business that will continue to invest in its services. It’s great to see so many customers in support of our proposed plans for the future. The final decision is still a while off with a formal approval process going on behind the scenes.”

“GGHT and Helena will continue with their local identities, providing local and trusted services to local people. They will be key parts of the new proposed group, to be known as Torus. Torus reflects our exciting ambitions for the future. It will be the part of the group structure that will deal with all strategic business matters enabling both GGHT and Helena to better focus on local services and provision. I passionately believe that this partnership will make two great businesses even better and provide greater opportunities for more people.”
  

​The face of North West Housing is set to change with news of two senior appointments at Torus, the new housing group being formed by Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT) and Helena Partnerships.

Wirral Council Chief Executive, Graham Burgess, has been appointed as the Group Chair of Torus. Joining him at the top table is Rob Young, Helena’s current Chief Executive, who has been appointed as the Group Chief Executive (Designate) of Torus. 

Speaking of his appointment, Rob Young commented; “I’m thrilled to be appointed as Group Chief Executive of Torus, an exciting new organisation set to make a big impact in our region. The Torus vision is rooted in making better places, building new homes and creating jobs for local people. I passionately believe that this partnership will make two great businesses even better and provide greater opportunities across St Helens, Warrington and beyond.”

Well-known local government leader, Graham Burgess, recently announced his retirement from Wirral council where he was drafted in just over two years ago to transform the fortunes of the struggling local authority. 

Graham is one of the best known chief executives in local government with a career spanning 40 years. His most recent role before joining Wirral Council was as joint Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council and Primary Care Trust.

Commenting on Mr Burgess’ appointment, Mr Young went on to say; “It’s fantastic that we have been able to attract a candidate of Graham’s calibre to Torus. His track record speaks for itself and gives us a fantastic base on which to build a first class team and organisation. I’m really looking forward to working alongside Graham right from the start of the Torus journey. “

These sentiments were echoed by Mr Burgess himself who said; “The opportunity to Chair Torus appealed to me straight away. Torus has ambitious plans that will cut right across the region. The size, scale and vision of what I have seen so far are really impressive. I’m excited at the prospect of working with Rob and his team to create a different kind of organisation that already promises to leave a lasting legacy across our region.”

  

​In April GGHT and Helena Partnerships will form a new housing group called Torus. Day to day landlords will stay the same, but being part of Torus will allow us to make an even bigger difference to neighbourhoods, services and the region as a whole. 

Tenants from GGHT and Helena were asked to complete a short survey, to have their say and tell us what is important to them.

The views, and those of customers who attended a joint event at Haydock Park Racecourse, will be shared with customers in the coming months.

All completed surveys were entered into a prize draw to win a iPad Mini Tablet.

  

An influential new housing group with a commitment to bringing affordable homes and job opportunities to the region opens its doors on April 1st.

The Torus Group combines the strength, skills, local knowledge and strategic intent of two well established housing associations, Helena Partnerships and Golden Gates Housing Trust. Ambitious plans are in place to influence economic prosperity within the wider mid-Mersey region.

Torus Group Chief Executive, Rob Young, explains: "There is a desperate need for affordable homes in the North West. By joining forces as a Group, we aim to address this shortfall. Utilising our significant asset strength – some 22,000 homes – we intend to build more homes for both rent and sale."

And this is just the start. Blending enterprise with social purpose, Torus has ambitious plans to create 2,500 local job opportunities over the next five years and to enhance the range of support services both housing associations already offer their 44,000 customers.

On a day-to-day basis, existing customers of both Helena and GGHT will be unaffected by the change in structure.

"Both Helena Partnerships and Golden Gates Housing Trust will retain their own local identities", says Rob."

Our commitment to our customers, their well being and the services we offer is unchanged. But joining forces as a Group enables us to bolster our resources, become stronger and achieve greater results in the long term."

Torus will strive to exert even more influence on the supply of affordable homes, on the local economy, the prosperity of local communities and the health and wellbeing of the people who live there.

Crucially Rob explains, building homes will open doors for local people. "By 2020, we will build 1,500 homes. Each affordable home we build contributes a sizeable investment to the local economy, creates jobs for local people and opportunities for local businesses. We're here to deliver housing regeneration with sustainable, economic and social regeneration at its heart."

A staff base of around 1,000 makes the Torus Group one of the largest employers in the region, attracting talented individuals sharing the same corporate  vision: to use strength and influence to deliver economic and social change.

To find out more about Torus, visit www.wearetorus.co.uk or follow @WeAreTorus on Twitter.​