Another momentous week

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.

Trying for an interesting picture

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).

Telling the Notting Hill staff the news

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!


21 Responses

  1. Annie

    Sounds like things are moving in a positive direction on all fronts, new beginnings and all that. Enjoy your leave and get some much needed nourishment fo the soul.

    Your coat looks interesting and you look so right in that photo of you in your sewing room, happy days.

    • fabrickated

      Thank you Annie. I feel like I am on a roll now. Also the navy trainers you recommended for me are now in the sale so I bought a pair and we shall see what they look like when they arrive.

  2. Jane

    Congratulations on a successful merger Kate. I can imagine the level of work that has been involved over the last few months to achieve this so you definitely need your break in the Cotswolds! How lovely to have your new sewing room up and running, the red coat is looking fabulous. Having spent yesterday evening making more sewing mistakes than I think I’ve ever made before (on the simplest possible garment) I think I need a holiday too! xx

  3. Mary Funt

    Wow! What a busy time for you. Congratulations on the new developments at work. It sounds like a tremendous improvement for that housing market. You certainly deserve a break and your sewing room looks like a wonderful place to relax and get creative. Enjoy your holiday and family.

  4. LPC

    Wow! Exciting times – both with work and the new sewing room in the Cotswolds! The red coat looks fantastic – and I am a little in love with that needle-felted badger… I am booked on a course in Bath in September to make a needle-felted fox, but I doubt he will end up looking as realistic as Mr Badger here 🙂

  5. ceci

    What a huge accomplishment to shepherd this merger through to completion! Congratulations to all concerned. The birthday celebration looks like fun, have to admit I would have been more tempted by the bread than the cake (a sign of being much more than 3?). And the new sewing room……! And the red coat, what a wonderful color this will be for you!!

    Enjoy your down time (which doesn’t sound all that down – we had a week’s break this month at a rural house on a big creek in Pennsylvania with all the kids and the grandson and it was blissful but not inactive!


    • fabrickated

      Thanks for all your encouragement and kind words Ceci. Much appreciated. I so enjoy spending time with the little ones even though it is also very tiring. Just glad I am young enough and fit enough to enjoy them.

  6. Karen Kayes

    Congratulations Kate on achieving all that over the last few weeks and months. It sounds like all that hard work is behind you, or even a little in front of you, with your new job, but for now you can enjoy making your lovely red coat during the rest of the Summer, in your gorgeous home.

  7. Su

    Congratulations on the merger and becoming the CE. You have so much energy to do all the things you do.
    Enjoy your holiday and look forward to seeing the red coat when it’s finished.

  8. Brenda

    What a terrific announcement! Congratulations on creating the opportunity to bring more affordable housing to people in need.

    I hope you enjoy your time away and get some much deserved rejuvenation. 🙂

  9. Michelle

    Congratulations! That sounds like a huge amount of work undertaken by everyone, you must be relieved to have it finalised. I sense from this and previous posts that you are passionate about your work in the affordable housing sector and you must be so excited to take the new organisation forward.
    That is a wonderful sewing space you have there – all that natural light (slightly envious sigh!), perfect for creativity. And a week with the grandsons, too. Being a granny is great! Enjoy your week.

    • fabrickated

      Thanks so much Michelle. Yes I am passionate about the work I do – and most other things! I sometimes wish I could calm down a bit but I seem to go round in a buzz of excitement most of the time! I so enjoy being with the little kids but yesterday I just fell asleep on the sofa while we were watching something on TV. Oh dear….

  10. Anne

    Congratulations on a successful merger and on your new post. I hope you have a restful time in the Cotswolds and enjoy your new sewing room

  11. Sue

    Congratulations on the new position. Your new sewing space looks wonderful and I am very much looking forward to seeing all the beautiful things you create in it.

  12. Jenny (the lilac cat)

    I’ve been gradually catching on my fav blogs since being away and ‘off grid’. Congratulations on the merger and your appointment. That’s quite something to deal with. I know how much time, effort and sheer energy it takes to merge. Having a common purpose will I’m sure help with integration. Have a good rest, although with young grandchildren that may mean more recreation than actual rest!!

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