I am not sure how many of these I can take!
Last week Notting Hill Housing, where I work, announced our intention to merge with another large housing association.
Notting Hill owns around 30,000 homes in London, and we decided to come together with another similar organisation called Genesis, which owns a similar number of homes. Like Notting Hill, Genesis was formed in the 1960s as Paddington Churches Housing Association in response to appalling housing conditions in west London. Paddington, where I live, adjoins Notting Hill which is the next “village” along. In fact here is the road marker, with us trying to get a good picture. In the photo (left to right) is Neil Hadden, the Chief Executive of Genesis, Linde Carr from Notitng Hill’s board, DIpesh Shah who is the Chairman of Genesis, me and Elizabeth Froude who is the Deputy CE at Genesis. And that little grey square Elizabeth is pointing to is the old road marker. But no-one can read it! Also Neil can’t actually kneel, as his knees are a bit creaky.
Paddington Churches and Notting Hill are both great organisations with the best history and now an amazing future. I am hugely excited by this development which will mean more affordable homes for Londoners (an additional 400 new homes a year, on top of what we already do independently).
This one is of some of our Notting Hill staff the morning we gave them the news. As you can see most seem pretty happy. Although I am shocked how many buy a coffee on the way in. We provide real coffee and instant, hot chocolate, several version of tea and squash at work. But there you go…
I have been working on this project, with lots of my team and the Genesis team, for months. It has been hard to do it on top of our day to day work, especially as the Grenfell fire punched a hole in our lives. Having this project to deliver really has taken it out of me – it can be stressful negotiating everything from the new name – which will be Notting Hill Genesis, to going through a recruitment process (I am delighted that I will become the CE of the new organisation at legal completion early next year), to deciding how to integrate two huge organisations (Elizabeth will be doing that). Dipesh will be the Chairman and Linde will join the new board which will be made up of ten NEDs – five from each organisation.
Anyway in the meantime we celebrated Kit’s 3rd birthday with an indoor party because of the rain.
The cake – the first one not made by my husband (he did make the sourdough bread and the roast beef) – was an amazing rainbow cake. Unfortunately chocolate, 3 year olds and a light pink sofa are not the best combination. Anyway the grand children have since been to Italy for a holiday and are now with us in the Cotswolds. The summer holidays are here for us!
I am looking forward to using my new sewing room, now it has been “christened”. I was really pleased to use it, having brought across a good portion of my tools and supplies. I feel the wonderful light room, the fact that it is purpose built and so inviting has tempted me to get on with my sewing. A coat I started while all my equipment was in a suspended state came out and I managed to construct it. It still needs shoulder pads, sleeve heads and lining but I am on the home straight. That feels like a breakthrough.
Last week we invited some friends round for lunch. Elly works with me and is a good friend. She kindly gave Nick a needle felted badger made by her Mum. We have lots of badgers locally and Nick is a real fan, so he was very pleased with the lovely gift.
I think I have been very preoccupied with the merger and it is nice to have a little break. We have a whole week in the Cotswolds. I will be doing some sewing, and some knitting, and entertaining the children, and swimming and relaxing. But I will also be reading and commenting your blogs, and blogging myself. I have been rather out of touch at weekends as we have not had the internet in the country. But now we have just heard we have finally – after nine months of waiting, nagging and pressuring, waiting for engineers, getting contradictory information, countless phone calls and in the end making a formal complaint to Ofcom) – finally got the internet. This makes our life complete!