Believing in accessibility for all

Unlocking potential

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Community Development strategy

November 2022


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As Wolverhampton’s biggest social housing provider we manage properties across the city, but we are about more than just bricks and mortar and we recognise that helping to create thriving communities is a huge part of our role locally.

Corporate Social Responsibility is all about ‘giving something back’ to our communities and we are committed to playing our part in tackling the challenges our communities face, working with our partners, contractors and supply chain to help create positive change.

There is a lot of great work going on across the city that we will continue to support, working in partnership with the City of Wolverhampton Council in their ambition to see Wulfrunians live longer, healthier lives. Through this partnership we’ll be helping people to get on in life through creating employment and training opportunities for local people, enhancing financial wellbeing and supporting the customers who need us most.

This strategy sets out our approach to Corporate Social Responsibility and how we will measure our success. We will build on existing projects and introduce new ideas that can take our work in the community to the next level, as we work towards our company vision to unlock potential through housing, skills and technology.


What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is all about the impact an organisation and its suppliers can have on communities and wider society. It is our commitment to operate in an ethical and sustainable way and placing communities at the heart of what we do. There are four main strands within CSR for Wolverhampton Homes: community, customers, supply chain and workplace. This strategy sets out the areas we will focus on for each of these strands, to make sure we are having a positive impact through the way we work and the partnerships we create. CSR can be measured using social value.

Community - this means we’ll support tenant and resident groups as a voice for customers across the city, creating a community grants fund to help local groups deliver projects that matter to them.

Customers - with the customer voice at the heart, we’ll increase digital inclusion, creating skills development and employment opportunities, and will continue to support our most vulnerable customers.

Supply chain - we will focus on retaining wealth in the city and delivering value locally as part of the Wolverhampton Pound initiative - partnering with local businesses and creating opportunities for local investment, including the creation of jobs and training.

Workplace - our Wolverhampton Homes colleagues will be given volunteering days which they can use to give something back to communities in the city.



What is social value?

Social value measures the positive value a company like Wolverhampton Homes creates in the community. This could be the benefit local activities or projects have on your wellbeing, good health or feelings about your neighbourhood. It might be the positive impact of more apprenticeships or job opportunities being created in your area, or volunteering time that is given to a community group that helps them to improve a local resource like an area of green space.

Social value can be created from volunteering, events, fundraisers, community projects, employment opportunities and more. It is the actions that a business is taking which improve people’s lives and help to create thriving communities. As a social housing provider, all this work not only supports our customers and communities, but also demonstrates that we provide great value for money.


How we will deliver social value

  • Creating employment, learning and training opportunities within Wolverhampton Homes and through our supply chain.
  • Being part of the Wolverhampton Pound. Wherever possible we will award contracts locally and we encourage our supply chain to also stay local, supporting the local economy and increasing the money that is spent in local businesses.
  • Supporting local groups including charities to develop healthy, safe and resilient communities.
  • Empowering customers to influence decisions and improve our services.
  • Giving our colleagues volunteering days to benefit community projects that positively impact our customers’ lives.
  • Increasing digital inclusion, which has been shown to improve quality of life*.
  • Support the City of Wolverhampton Council to deliver their vision through Our City, Our Plan.
  • Collaborate with communities and partners to find new ways of working and respond to challenges.



Giving something back

Positive change: The Back to Eden project, Heath Town

Wolverhampton-based Churches for Positive Change (C4PC) were keen to address health inequalities within the African-Caribbean community which had emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group acquired land in Heath Town with the aim of creating a community allotment. Organisers hoped the project would help stimulate community spirit and improve people’s overall wellbeing through creating opportunities for friendships, exercise, and healthy eating.

The Heath Town estate is part-way through a £120m transformation programme and the aims and objectives of the allotment project were closely aligned to our own goals for Heath Town – to provide an environment that supports people’s health and wellbeing. Our construction partner United Living agreed to support the project with the remaining funding which completed the paving of the site, making it safe and accessible for everyone to enjoy.

This is just one example of how we will invest in projects, community groups and fundraising to support our partners across the city. We will work with communities to empower them and support customers to get on in life through a range of opportunities for further development, learning and training. We will also provide opportunities to influence our decision making and improve the services we provide.


The role of community development

Community development at Wolverhampton Homes has an important role to play, and regular consultations, surveys and learning from the pandemic all influenced this strategy. Our team spend time with our customers to ensure we understand their needs and preferences, and can design and deliver services and activities that meet those requirements. They also engage with local groups and community partners to support initiatives, activities and events that will benefit our customers and communities.

Positive change: Merry Hill fire safety enhancements

The Merry Hill high rise blocks are undergoing fire safety enhancements including the installation of automatic sprinkler systems. Residents in St Joseph’s Court were concerned about the impact of the building work in their homes and were supported to create a tenant and resident association. The group meets each month with representatives from Wolverhampton Homes and within the first few weeks the group were able to provide input into the design specification for the sprinklers and pipework, which they felt would be better in a different location.

This input was invaluable to the design team, who were able to change the specification based on the feedback from the group, so it’s a great result for the residents who feel the sprinklers will now be far less noticeable within their homes.



Working together to create thriving communities

Within our communities

Supporting residents to deliver the projects and initiatives that matter to them, helping communities to thrive.

With customers

Listening and acting on feedback to bring customers together and create learning, employment and social opportunities.

With partners

Delivering value for money through local partnerships, creating opportunities for residents and investments across the city.

With WH colleagues

Contributing to local projects and initiatives through company volunteering and increased presence in your community.




Stronger together

The City of Wolverhampton Council, our shareholder, has developed a plan for the city, ‘Our City, Our Plan’, to help to improve outcomes for local residents. With over 21,000 properties, we recognise the important role that Wolverhampton Homes has to play in this plan and achieving the city’s objectives. Our agreement with the council underlines the importance of good quality, affordable housing, the breadth of our services and the range of people we support.

We are supporting the council’s approach to tenant-led scrutiny and will be developing a customer panel to review all areas of our business. The panel will look at different services with the aim of identifying issues and making improvements that will benefit all customers. Members of the panel will have access to specialist training and will develop new skills, knowledge and confidence which can boost employment prospects and social connections.

Our partnership approach ensures we can be stronger together and have a bigger impact on our communities.

Our Customer Contact and Access Needs consultation highlighted that half (49%) of respondents would like to be more involved in shaping the services we provide, with a similar number (43%) wanting to be involved in opportunities to benefit themselves and the community, such as volunteering and training.


Within our communities

What you can expect to see

  • Link into our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy to increase work with diverse communities and groups
  • Support the city council to review and empower our Tenants and Residents Associations and help them thrive as a voice for communities across the city
  • Create an investment pot of grants from £50 to £1000 to support community initiatives and social enterprises that support our aim of giving something back
  • Provide more opportunities to meet customers through events, get togethers and online
  • Build a team of Community Connectors who will volunteer in our communities listening and offering support to customers
With customers

What you can expect to see

  • Bring customers together, strengthening their voice within our decision-making and creating a sense of community
  • Work with customers to increase digital inclusion across the city, embracing new technologies and supporting customers
  • Continue to develop and expand our volunteering services to support our most vulnerable customers
  • Promoting opportunities for employment, learning and training
  • The development of a customer panel to scrutinise and drive improvements to services
  • Continued advice and support with the cost of living through our Money Smart team for those customers who need us most
  • Increased satisfaction with services and a range of opportunities to provide feedback


With partners

What you can expect to see

  • Ensure that our procurement process has a focus on delivering value for money locally
  • Embed social value within all procurement and contract management, ensuring consistency across all Wolverhampton Homes contractors and sub-contractors
  • Create new partnerships providing opportunities for investment to be stronger together
  • Continue to support local charities and good causes across the city, providing support through fundraising and volunteering
  • Support the City of Wolverhampton Council in ‘Our City: Our Plan’
  • Build trusted partnerships to improve understanding of our communities and to identify where future investment should be directed


With WH colleagues

What you can expect to see

  • Colleagues contribute through the donation of more than 1200 volunteering days, giving back to our customers and communities through a range of local projects and initiatives
  • Increase the visibility of Wolverhampton Homes colleagues within our communities
  • Increase the visibility of the Senior Management and Leadership teams in our communities to meet customers and support initiatives
  • Wolverhampton Homes staff, fully trained to deliver great services for our customers



Knowing we are doing a good job

It has never been more important to deliver excellent CSR and community development. These commitments will run through all our work at Wolverhampton Homes.

Customer experience panel

We will report on the impact of our new customer experience panel that will review our services and drive improvements.

£’s of social value generated

We will ensure that the activities we deliver, and those delivered by our key contractors and partners create social value.


Regular customer updates

We will provide regular updates to customers on what we have been doing in your community and what’s coming up.


Regular feedback from customers

We will ask our customers for feedback through a range of channels and your feedback will be used to improve our services.

Annual update

This will keep us on track and let our customers, communities, shareholder and our Board know we are delivering.


Annual stakeholder day

Feedback from partners will be gathered at a new annual event, to jointly review progress and build upon this strategy, keeping the customer voice at the heart of everything we do.


2021-22 highlights

We want to build on the good work that is already in progress and support more communities to thrive. Activities over the last financial year have generated social value for our customers and residents of the city.


  • £227,000 helped 1562 vulnerable customers with the cost of living through the Household Support Fund
  • 4875 customers supported by our Money Smart team
  • 4800 befriending calls made to elderly and vulnerable residents
  • 71 residents working with an employment coach
  • 48 people supported into apprenticeships, work experience and training
  • 15 volunteers upskilled through training
  • 12 active Tenant and Resident groups


Reducing social isolation

Positive change: Telephone befriending

The telephone befriending service has been delivered by volunteers for Wolverhampton Homes since 2015. It became a lifeline for many during the pandemic, and saw a large increase in referrals.

At 95, Gerald Jones is our oldest volunteer. Gerald was previously a recipient of the befriending service, and later asked to be trained as a volunteer, which he has now been doing for five years. He volunteers for four hours each week and is one of our most popular callers as a result of his brilliant stories, local updates and obvious enjoyment of what he does.

In September 2021, Gerald was shortlisted for the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Lifetime Achievement award. The event was held online and we gathered all volunteers at Bantock House to enjoy a meal and watch the awards ceremony together, as a thank you from Wolverhampton Homes for their hard work and dedication to their community.

It was the first time many of the volunteers had seen each other in person since the start of the pandemic the previous year, so they had plenty to talk about and a great time was had by all.


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