Below are some research texts for you to use in your AS1 assignment. They are extracts from Stonewater’s Annual Report and their press releases talking about their company’s actions and the factors that influence their decision making. 

Use your knowledge from the class as well as from your reading of the textbook and reading list on the module to examine these texts. Remember that this information is written by Stonewater, so it is not objective; you can be critical. 

Excerpt from the Annual Report

Chairman’s statement 

Housing associations have always played a vital role, providing homes and support to some of the most vulnerable people in society – but perhaps never more so than during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges we’ve faced, we have achieved so much, supporting people when they needed us the most. In the last year, we have: 

  • Delivered 671 new homes, despite construction restrictions and site shut downs 
  • Let over 1,800 homes, including more than 100 virtual sign ups 
  • Completed more than 200 shared ownership sales 
  • Supported customers facing hardship during the pandemic, including offering flexible rent payment arrangements and helping them to navigate the benefits system 

None of this could be achieved without a strong foundation and I am delighted to report a good set of results and a stable financial position. Highlights include: 

  • Maintaining our long-term rating of A+ and top G1/V1 governance and viability rating 
  • Achieving an increase in turnover of over £20m 
  • Operating costs have remained in line with last year, with our operating margin rising to 33% from 28% last year 
  • Implementing a Group restructure, creating the capacity to build even more homes, enabling us to help around 3,500 additional families 

Stonewater became one of the first social housing providers in the UK to adopt the sector-wide sustainability reporting standard. We have also established a finance framework that has been independently assessed as being aligned to green and social financing principles and the UN sustainable development goals on poverty, communities and climate action. Our annual targets include planting 3,000 trees, upgrading 350 properties to EPC level C or equivalent and installing 200 low carbon heating systems. 

I am incredibly proud of what we have delivered, and how we have successfully adjusted and adapted against a backdrop of extraordinary change. This is testament to everyone at Stonewater and their commitment to doing the right thing for our customers and colleagues. I must particularly thank Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive, and Stonewater’s Executive Team, for skilfully leading the organisation through such a difficult and unprecedented time. 

As we look ahead to a post-pandemic world, we need to continue be flexible and dynamic to ensure we can continue to help as many people as possible. Our focus is on bouncing forward – not back – and building on the great work that has already been achieved. Covid-19 has

demonstrated that the world can change dramatically very quickly but whatever the future holds, I know that Stonewater will continue to deliver high quality services and support to people who need them the most.    Chairman                                                                                                                              (Stonewater Limited, 2021)   For further details on the leadership and structure, read the annual report on these pages Board members p. 6 The Executive Officers p. 8 Organisational structure, governance and risk management p. 28

Excerpt from the Annual Report

Stonewater’s objectives
and outcomes
, taken from their 2021 Annual Report
, 2021)

Excerpt from the Annual Report

Financial Statements
, 2021)

Excerpt from the Annual Report

  External environment    Back to the ‘new normal’ The Covid-19 pandemic was an unpredictable event that has caused significant political upheaval, societal change and, tragically, the deaths of millions worldwide.    However, with the UK’s vaccine rollout leading the world and the easing of lockdown restrictions gathering pace, we are seeing a return to ‘normality’ – though one that will not be the same as before. What the ‘new normal’ looks like, and if it will remain the same or if we will return to old norms, is yet to be seen.    With support for businesses coming to an end in the coming months, there will inevitably be some upheaval. Small businesses and the self-employed, especially in the hospitality sector, are still feeling the impact on their livelihoods and this impact will be felt for many years to come.    With the easing of restrictions, the Government is now looking to get back to what it promised at the 2019 General Election: levelling-up, achieving sustainability, and making the most of the possibilities of Brexit.    Housing associations like Stonewater have a vital role to play in supporting the recovery from Covid-19 and the achievement of these political ambitions. We are both an employer to many, and the provider of safety, security, and support to tens of thousands of people throughout these challenging times. We will need to continue to be flexible, dynamic and reactive to ensure that we can operate effectively as a landlord and as a business.    We have regularly kept our stakeholders updated on our work to support customers and staff throughout the pandemic, including sending regular updates to all of our constituency MPs and local authority leaders – meeting with many of them to provide further information.    We will have a key role to play in providing security and safety to our customers, but also a key role in the economic recovery, and the climate change agenda. “                                                                                                                                  (Stonewater Limited, 2021)   Read p. 26-27 for more commentary on the external environment, covering  Housing supply and affordability  Environment and sustainability Government policy   

Stonewater news item taken from their website

New MyRewards platform cuts cost of everyday essentials

Stonewater has launched an exclusive new rewards scheme supporting its customers to save on everyday essentials – as the cost-of-living crisis worsens.


Accessed through MyHome – Stonewater’s portal that enables customers to manage their tenancy, make payments and set up direct debits – customers can choose their benefits, from online and in-store discounts, available at over 500 retailers.

Ranging from groceries, appliances and other household items, Stonewater’s MyRewards enables customers to shop for sports and leisure equipment promoting healthy living and wellbeing.

The housing provider has reported that 51% of the total new registrations to its MyHome portal, in the first quarter of the year, have been driven by the launch of MyRewards.

To support those customers who do not have the digital skills to access the platform or get online, Stonewater is offering access to training through its partnership with the Longleigh Foundation.

John Chadwick, Director of Programme Delivery at Stonewater, said: “Feedback from our customers told us that real, tangible benefits to help with everyday living costs is what would help them most. This is what MyRewards is all about.

“In the first two months of launching the platform, our registered customers collectively saved more than £13,500 – with the top-visited retailers being Asda, Dunelm and Tesco.

“Whilst we’re proud of what we are currently able to offer our customers through the platform, our team will be continuing to explore what more we can do with MyRewards to alleviate some of the financial pressures our customers are currently facing.”

All Stonewater’s leaseholders and shared ownership customers, as well as those it supports through its management partnership with Legal & General Affordable Homes, are eligible for the rewards – providing they have a MyHome account, and a device connected to the internet.

Following a survey of 300 customers and speaking to other housing providers to see what they offered their customers, how those worked and how their customers felt about them, Stonewater partnered with Incentivesmart to create the platform.

In conjunction with Incentivesmart’s sustainability commitments, the partnership has also been responsible for planting 250 trees in the mangrove forests in Madagascar as part of a recent project in collaboration with Eden Reforestation Projects.

For more information about the platform, click here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (Stonewater, 2022a)

Stonewater news item taken from their website

Stonewater bolsters leadership team to deliver on net zero agenda

Leading housing provider Stonewater has taken another step towards achieving its sustainability goals by appointing a new Assistant Director of Environment and Sustainability.

Adam Masters

Adam Masters, who has more than 10 years’ experience leading on energy efficiency and sustainability projects across social housing, has been promoted to the role and will be responsible for overseeing the provider’s environmental strategy.

The appointment follows news of Stonewater, in partnership with Shropshire Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, being awarded more than half a million pounds from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) to improve the energy performance of nearly 70 homes.

Commenting on the appointment, Patrick Chauvin, Executive Director of New Homes at Stonewater, said: “From the Energy Superhub Oxford project to us achieving the Gold SHIFT accreditation, Adam has played an integral role in spearheading us towards our ambitions of improving the energy efficiency of our homes and minimising our overall impact on the environment.

“Delivering on our sustainability objectives requires us to continue challenging ourselves and adopting the right technologies and approaches for our customers. Whilst we still have some way to go, I’m confident that Adam is the right person to lead us on this journey.”

In addition to the creation of Adam’s new role, Stonewater is also looking to bolster its sustainability team by appointing six specialist Sustainability Business Partners. This includes one for each of the organisation’s directorates (development, customer experience, homes and finance), as well as a partner to oversee water efficiency and another to manage Stonewater’s materials and supply chain.

Taking this approach will put Stonewater in a unique position to truly embed sustainability throughout the organisation.

Adam added: “A core focus for us, especially given the current climate, is exploring how we can further reduce the running cost of our homes for our customers, allowing them to sustain their tenancies more easily. In conjunction with this, we want to bring as many customers as we can on our retrofit journey to create advocacy and tackle any misconceptions people may have around low-carbon alternatives.

“I’m really pleased with what we’ve been able to achieve to date but looking forward to scaling up our retrofit plans with the team and deliver on our commitment to do the right thing for our customers and the environment.”

On the funding announcement, Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Tackling the climate emergency gives us an opportunity to invest in projects which really make a difference to peoples’ lives.

“It’s vital that we ensure no one is left behind in the transition to a net zero economy and that all communities feel the benefit.

“Improving energy efficiency in homes will not only help our region lower its carbon emissions, but it will also enable people to save money on their ever-increasing bills, tackle fuel poverty and create new skilled jobs.”

Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for climate change, natural assets and the green economy, said: “We want to keep people warm and well in their homes, whether they are tenants or owner-occupiers.

“Fuel poverty is a real concern, and we are pleased to be able to offer access to the resources available for people to better protect themselves and retrofit appropriate energy saving measures for their homes.

“Shropshire Council is leading the way in securing this combination of funds and we are determined to help ease people out of the difficulties of fuel poverty.”

                                                                                                                                                           (Stonewater, 2022c)

Stonewater news item taken from their website

Reaction: Building to net zero recommendations

Following the recommendations made by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) in its ‘Building to net zero: costing carbon in construction’ report, Patrick Chauvin, Executive Director – Homes at Stonewater, commented:

Patrick Chauvin

“Without accelerated intervention and further investment from the government, the UK will miss its net zero targets by some decades.

“Mandatory whole-life carbon assessments will enable housebuilders and providers to take a more holistic approach, rather than just focusing on operational emissions, to achieve net zero. Understanding the wider impact of building as well as maintaining homes, in conjunction with the materials used, is something we have been working towards with supply chain partners through our Environmental Forum.

“In conjunction with this work, we are also creating a specialist role within our sustainability team to primarily focus on undertaking lifecycle costing and assessments – supporting the recommendations made by the EAC.”

Regarding the skills gap and national retrofit programme:

“We recognise the challenges presented by a lack of skills and capacity within the supply chain to deliver retrofit at scale, which is exacerbated by government grant funding being subject to such tight delivery timescales.

“Whilst we are currently looking to train to some of our surveyors to become retrofit assessors and have recently trained one to be a retrofit coordinator to support our scaling up of retrofit, more investment and a long-term decarbonisation plan is needed.

“As recommended by the EAC, this approach could support the government to stimulate and give confidence to the supply chain, create jobs and tackle fuel poverty. This was the findings in our research ‘All Hands to the Pump’ with the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), which found that the development of a national retrofit programme could create up to 275,000 jobs in England by 2035.”

                                                                                                                          (Stonewater, 2022b) Reference List

Stonewater (2022a) New MyRewards platform cuts cost of everyday essentials. Stonewater.[Online] Available from: [Accessed 5 August 2022]

Stonewater (2022b) Reaction: Building to net zero recommendations. Stonewater. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 5 August 2022]

Stonewater (2022c) Stonewater bolsters leadership team to deliver on net zero agenda. Stonewater. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 5 August 2022]

Stonewater Limited (2021) Annual report & accounts 2021. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 5 August 2022]

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