© Sapphire Independent Housing Annual Report 2023.

Welcome from the Board and Chief Executive

Welcome to Sapphire’s annual report 2022/23

2022 was another significant year. Thankfully, the worst of the pandemic was over but just as we began to experience a more normal operating environment, we encountered the most testing conditions seen for a very long time. The ongoing war in Ukraine has disrupted supply chains and impacted the prices of food, fuel and materials, leading to high inflation. The cost-of-living crisis has had a huge impact on residents, colleagues, us and our partners.

Uncertainty has meant that we have had to keep sight of our mission

This uncertainty has meant that we have had to keep sight of our mission even more closely. "Providing homes to improve lives and enable people to live independently" is Sapphire’s driving ambition. We were created over 50 years ago to serve residents and be there when needed and this remains the same today.

Our Corporate Plan, 2021 - 2026 sets out four strategic objectives. The four objectives are;

  • To provide services that support and enhance the lives of our residents
  • To provide more, and better homes
  • To be an Employer of Choice
  • To manage our finances well and improve our ways of working

We had noteworthy achievements during the year. We worked closely with local authority commissioner partners and maintained the social impact of our supported housing services and retained accreditation of the Customer Excellence Award (CSE). We continued to make the well-being of residents and staff a priority and approved a goodwill payment to them in recognition of the cost-of-living crisis.

Throughout these challenging times, our staff have continued to deliver for our residents and we thank them all for their service and commitment. Their dedication is critical to the success of our organisation. As well as providing services to residents, staff members were heavily involved in the implementation of a new IT platform – HomeMaster, introduced to improve our information systems. It was a real boost for us that 100% of colleagues said they were proud to be part of Sapphire.

It was also a year when the reputation of housing associations continued to be damaged by the tragic death of Awaab Ishak and other stories of disrepair, damp and mould in housing association homes. Sapphire recognises it must play its role in improving services to residents, along with the wider housing sector. We have reviewed cases of damp, mould, and condensation and encouraged residents to report concerns to us. The organisation also moved forward on plans to improve the energy efficiency of our existing homes by surveying our general needs schemes to establish energy efficiency levels. We are pleased that the indications are that the vast majority of homes are already at the required standard and that the remainder can be improved without the need for a significant financial investment.

We are working hard to improve services and we know that we must continue our focus on listening to and engaging with Sapphire residents through our day-to-day contact with them and also through new scrutiny arrangements.

Safety and security has always been a priority

The safety and security of residents, staff and the general public has always been a priority for us. During the year we maintained compliance in the areas of employer and landlord health and safety. We commenced a significant programme of fire door repair and replacement which will be finished in the new financial year.

Sapphire obtained planning permission on all our small development sites in Hounslow and started to build 66 of the new homes. We acquired another new shared ownership flat in a wonderful new scheme near our office and sold the last two vacant shared ownership flats at our scheme in Kilburn. All of these provide desperately needed affordable homes in London.

John McNiece, Kalwant Grewal and Charles Culling

There were changes in our executive team during the year when we said goodbye to Claudette Marcano, our Finance Director, and welcomed John McNiece as her successor. Thank you to Maggie Van Reenen, Alan Strickland and Alasdair Macarthur who stood down from the Board and committees during the year. All three made a significant contribution to Sapphire in their time as members. We were also pleased to welcome Kalwant Grewal and Charles Culling onto the Board.

As we close out one year’s work and launch the next, appreciation is given again to the staff and also to the Board members at Sapphire for their hard work and commitment over the last year. We would also like to thank our partners and stakeholders for their continued support.

Dr Janine Stiles, Chair of the Board and Heather Thomas, Chief Executive.

Safety of our residents

We continued to prioritise health and safety for 2022/23

  • We strengthened our commitment to zero tolerance towards damp and mould, with Board approving a new policy and rolling out staff training on the issue.
  • We took steps to ensure all of our homes had the necessary smoke and carbon monoxide detection in place ahead of the 1 October 2022 deadline (except one where we had access issues).
  • We embarked on a fire door programme that will see us repair or replace over 400 doors across our services, as we increase the amount of fire door inspections due in line with fire safety legislation.
  • We recognise that some other works (e.g. communal area decorations) have not taken place as soon as we would like, as a result of us prioritising health and safety. Our research shows that other landlords prioritising health and safety have had to make similar decisions. We are committed to exploring where might be a priority, and communicating a timescale for getting around to other works.
Sapphire will repair or replace over 400 doors across our services.

Our people

Employee of the year award

Every year we celebrate our colleagues and their successes across the organisation. Colleagues are nominated for the Employee of the Year award by their peers by way of a video presenting the reasons for the nomination and how their colleague has demonstrated outstanding performance during the year. The videos are played at the Staff Conference and colleagues are asked to make their overall choice for the award.

Nominees for the award

We were delighted to receive so many nominations for the award and to hear of the extraordinary stories of outstanding performance behind each of them.

This year's nominees: Nina Williams, Joel Afolabi, Mark Nicholl-Pierson, Megan Smiley, Simon Colligan, Rosie Hockey, Abosede Jonah, Shamirah Kuteesa, Hannah Dillon

Hannah Dillon, employee of the year 2022

Hannah Dillon was nominated by a number of her peers for the Employee of the Year Award 2022 and described as a warm and cheerful colleague who has been a strong member of the team during a particularly challenging year. Colleagues praised the respect she shows her colleagues and the residents she supports, in particular, showing good integrity by managing residents’ expectations and not over promising on how she is able to support them, but honouring all the commitments she makes.

CEO presents Hannah Dillon with the Employee of the Year Award

Hannah has been accountable for her own development, showing great adaptability which has helped her cope with the demands of the role. Hannah is described as a very capable team member who has gone above and beyond to help others members of the team. For example, as a Homemaster Super User, Hannah has supported her colleagues during the transition to the new system by producing clear instructions on how to use the new system and offering her time to provide one to one sessions.

Hannah is described as someone who brings a considered and thoughtful approach to overcoming challenges and shows a willingness to learn and to continue developing the services we provide.

Sapphire began its Investors in People journey in 2016 and were delighted to once again be accredited the Investors in People Gold award for a further three years.

Investors in People

Investors in People Gold Award

Investors in People Gold award

Sapphire began its Investors in People journey in 2016 and were delighted to once again be accredited the Investors in People Gold award for a further three years.

We are extremely proud to be accredited as such a high performing organisation, and to be recognized for the investment in our people and our drive for continuous improvement to ultimately improve services for our residents.

The Investors in People Assessor said:

"The investment you make in your people reflects both your values and your ambition to become an employer of choice.

Your people have a high level of confidence in the leaders of Sapphire, they believe they lead the organisation well and they are trusted. They see them as role models and believe your leaders motivate, inspire and support people to higher performance and the willingness to apply discretionary effort.

Your values are extremely strong in the organisation, people are clear about what they stand for, and they guide the way people work and the decisions they make.

Your people feel empowered to make decisions and feel trusted and supported when they do so.

You consult your people on important matters and seek their feedback.

You strive to give your people opportunities to develop in their role and develop leadership capabilities. You have a good range of learning and development opportunities available, and you have recently undertaken extensive management and leadership training.

You provide a great deal of support for your people with your wellbeing initiates including, clinical supervision sessions for front-line people, a confidential counselling service, Wellbeing Wednesdays, and flexible working where it is possible to do so. The support and guidance you gave to your people during the pandemic was impressive and appreciated by them"

Sapphire embraces change

"Your continual driver is to improve the services to your residents and to make Sapphire a great organisation for your people to work in.

You embrace change and are willing to take sensible business risks to ensure Sapphire continues to grow in a sustainable way, remain relevant and resilient.

As a result of all you do, your people think Sapphire is a great organisation to work for and they are committed to its future success.”

Our people told us

“The managers in Sapphire are really strong, and my manager in particular is outstanding, so supportive and helpful, yet trusting me to get on with my job.”

“I come to work every day wanting to do the best I can. I try to go the extra mile to do a good job, if I see something needs doing, I just get on and do it.”

The Staff Forum representatives reminded colleagues of how good communication can achieve great outcomes by highlighting their successes during the year.

Sapphire Days

Sapphire Day is a day when Sapphire residents and staff come together to give back to the local community. Each year we find a new location and community service that would benefit from our time, creativity and desire to make a difference.

Volunteering at Gratitude Foodbank

Gratitude Food Bank, Borehamwood Herts

A group of staff and resident volunteers were pleased to be able to help out at a local food bank based in the Old Library in Borehamwood Herts; Gratitude redistribute food to the community through various free meal projects and local charities. The food available is edible but cannot be sold in shops because of packaging errors or overproduction. There are also other products available to the members of the public such as baby items, clothing, toiletries and furnishing.

As volunteers we were allocated individual roles working alongside other Gratitude volunteers, serving the public between 12-3pm to collect their food produce, unloading products and putting these on the allocated shelving and helping in the kitchen.

It was a really enjoyable day for the volunteers, who were thanked for being so helpful and described as “a lovely and helpful team of corporate volunteers”.

Helping out at the Sacred Heart Church

The Sacred Heart Church, Kilburn

As an organisation committed to helping our local community we encourage our colleagues and residents to dedicate one day each year in which we help a local cause in need.

On 23 March, a group of colleagues and residents spent the day tidying up the outside and decorating the office and entrance area of the Sacred Heart Church in Kilburn. The church was chosen as it is very close to Conway House and is very supportive to the local community and our residents.

It was a great day, with lots of laughter and feelings of great satisfaction for a making such an impact in a short space of time.

Father Terry Murray, the Parish Priest, was very appreciative of the volunteers’ contributions.

We recognise that our staff are our most important asset and critical to the success of Sapphire, and their health and wellbeing remains a key priority

Staff Conference

Staff Conference held at ZSL London Zoo

We recognize that our staff are our most important asset and critical to the success of Sapphire, and their health and wellbeing remains a key priority for the organisation.

We were pleased to be able to have the theme the annual staff conference as wellbeing and communication.

The conference was held in the scenic grounds of ZSL London Zoo and part of the day was set aside for a guided tour learning about the latest members.

Wellbeing workshop

Stretch and Breath

The “Stretch and Breath” wellbeing workshop led by Jess Mason of Mahasana Mind and Body provided the opportunity for group relaxation and to learn meditation techniques and chair yoga, alongside individual head and neck massages.

This was complimented with a presentation from Sapphire’s Wellbeing Representatives focusing on the importance of looking after yourself while at work, alongside introducing the “Quiet Quarter” whereby colleagues are encouraged to take 15 minutes to focus on their own wellbeing.

The Staff Forum representatives reminded colleagues of how good communication can achieve great outcomes by highlighting their successes during the year.


This years conference was held in the scenic grounds of ZSL London Zoo.

Staff Satisfaction 2022-23

  • 95% overall satisfaction
  • 100% were proud to be part of Sapphire
  • 100% regarded Sapphire as a good employer to work for
I feel that my team puts residents’ needs at the centre of everything they do.
Sapphire is always looking to improve their services/staff, which I value
EMT are very approachable at every level
Everyone I have met at Sapphire is very positive and focused at getting thing done well
I am grateful to be part of Sapphire, I feel there are opportunities to learn and grow.

Staff Satisfaction Results

For more information place your pointer over the chart.

Investment in Information Technology

Woman looking at a computer
In April 2022, we launched our new financial and operating joint system.

In 2022/23, launched a new I.T. operating system providing both housing management, asset management and financial processes in one package. This installation has progressed to be used as our prime system and is now being applied successfully across the association.

In other areas of I.T. support, our support costs representing the cost of all software systems and outsourced services and support totalled £181,662.

On top of this we invested in new wi-fi capabilities at our supported services scheme at Conway House costing £26,011 and for general support, additional equipment at a cost of £10,576. In total during 2022/23, the I.T. spend in the Association totalled £218,250.

In April 2022, we launched our new financial and operating joint system, HomeMaster in order to bring all of our operational support under one system.

This has proven to be operationally successful in the management of our housing management, repairs and maintenance and financial processes.

This has also allowed us to improve the support processes and controls that surround the use of this system. Throughout 2022/23, we continuously improved this system from a close partnership with the software supplier.

We will continue to seek improvement wherever possible as we continue to expand the use of this system throughout the Association.

Providing new homes

We are anticipating that the new homes will be completed and start to handover from September 2024, all 64 should complete by January 2025.

Working with London Borough of Hounslow to provide new homes

We have been working closely with the London Borough of Hounslow on developing new homes in the Borough on former garage court sites. We have agreed terms to purchase a long lease on 19 development sites in Hounslow.

All these sites now have planning consent and we have a programme of 103 new homes to develop. We work closely with the Greater London Authority, who provide funding for the development.

View map

New Homes at St Mary's Drive, Bedfont

Building our programme

We have, as at June 2023, started to build 64 new homes with our Contractor partners Helix Construct, Ark Build, Emine Construction and Chartwell Vision. We are anticipating that the new homes will be completed and start to handover from September 2024, all 64 should complete by January 2025.

Planning the development pipeline

The remaining 39 starts we hope to make before March 2024 and we should be in a position to start these sites once we have GLA funding agreed in the new Affordable Homes Programme.

We recently completed the purchase of an affordable unit in a large development at 187 Kentish Town Road and we are in the process of selling the flat on a shared ownership basis.

New Homes at Ashford Road

Providing quality new homes

Providing high quality homes and services to our residents remains a priority and our new scheme is no exception. We are especially pleased to be aiming for zero carbon homes as part of our new programme, which will enable our residents to enjoy comfortable new homes, with affordable energy bills.

Sapphire were also delighted to announce that we have “Investment Partner Status” for the new affordable homes programme. This will enable Sapphire to develop a programme of affordable new homes through the Mayor’s Homes for Londoners Programme.


Social Impact Value

Research tells us the average impact value of supporting a homeless vulnerable person into settled accommodation has a social impact value of £8,019.

We achieved £320,760 in social value in this area throughout 2022/23. This is a 43% decrease on the £569,349 achieved in 2021/22.

Operations performance 2022/23

Resident Satisfaction

Overall satisfaction: 63%.

Repairs Satisfaction

Repairs satisfaction over the last 12 months: 76%.

Easy to deal with

Sapphire is easy to deal with: 76%.

Complaint handling

Satisfaction with complaint Handling: 33%.

Lettings by Age

Bars = Count of Age. Numbers = Age.

Lettings by type

Supported (92) and General Needs (17).

Lettings by gender

Number of lettings during 2022/23: 109. Male 35, Female 73.

Lettings by ethnicity

General Performance

2022/23 Target 2021/22 Trend
Current rent Arrears 1.67% after HB 3.5% 3% Up
Void loss 4.79% 5% 8% Up
Complaints resolved at stage 1 66% No Target 90% Down
Emergency (24 hours) 78% 100% 97% Down
Total urgent (7 days) 81% 95% 64% Up
Total routine (21 days) 85% 90% 71% Up

Download Tables

Health and Safety

Checked Area Q4 Compliance Trend
Asbestos 100% No Change
Electric 100% No Change
Fire 100% No Change
Gas 88% No Change
Water 100% No Change
Passenger Lift 86% Down

Financial Results 2022/23

Statement Of Comprehensive Income

2022/23 2021/22
£ £
Income from housing 2,939,404 2,825,145
Shared ownership - 1st tranche sales 243,000 414,000
Housing Support Grant 947,456 979,490
Grants & Other income 140,221 4,692
Total 4,270,081 4,223,327
Housing Services 2,545,038 2,567,887
Support Services 1,072,007 1,302,520
Maintenance 415,066 347,933
Depreciation 269,358 237,255
Cost of Sales 86,517 130,736
Total 4,387,986 4,586,331
Operating Surplus (117,905) (363,004)
Interest received 156,095 22,168
Interest payable - -
Surplus / (Deficit) on ordinary activities for the year 38,190 (340,836)

Download Tables

Statement Of Financial Position

2022/23 2021/22
£ £
Fixed assets 24,102,275 22,488,382
Current assets 12,400,399 13,291,396
Liabilities (current and long term) (3,309,996) (2,555,990)
Net Assets 33,192,678 33,223,788
Share capital 10 10
Social housing and other grants 8,362,109 8,431,409
Free reserves 24,830,559 24,792,369
Total 33,192,678 33,223,788

Governance and Leadership

As of 31st March 2023 our Board has 10 members. Together members have a broad range of skills and expertise and this is reviewed periodically to ensure Sapphire has the right mix to meet both current and future needs.

Sapphire Board

The Board and Executive Team
  • Dr Janine Stiles – Chair
  • Charles Culling (Joined May 2022)
  • Alan Johnson
  • Alasdair Macarthur – Independent Committee Member (Resigned July 2022)
  • Sandra Nwajiaku
  • Reginald Parkinson
  • Catherine Ryder
  • Alan Strickland (Resigned December 2022)
  • Clive Stuart
  • Terry Sullivan
  • Maggie Van Reenen (Resigned September 2022)

Executive Team

The Executive Team
  • John McNiece – Finance Director
  • Jesse Fajemisin – Operations Director
  • Karl Philips – Development Director
  • Beverly Finn – Head of HR and Central Services
  • Rosemary Porter – Executive Team Assistant
  • Heather Thomas – Chief Executive, Company Secretary

Supporters and Partners

Thanks to our Supporters and Partners

We received valued support in 2022-2023 from the London Boroughs of Camden, Islington, Brent, and Hertfordshire County Council. We are also grateful to the following organisations for making significant contributions throughout the year:

  • Abbey Community Centre
  • Action 4 London
  • Age UK, Camden
  • Apothecary Centre
  • Bates Wells Braithwaite
  • Bridging the Gap
  • CafA©Art
  • Camden Adult Learning Community
  • Camden Job Hunt – Good Work Camden
  • Camden Roundhouse
  • Camden Routes Off the Streets Team
  • Chartered Institute of Housing
  • Clearing House
  • Crisis Skylight
  • Feast With Us
  • Food Donations Connections
  • G320
  • Gratitude
  • Groundswell
  • Herts Young Homeless
  • Kew Gardens
  • Mind
  • National Housing Federation
  • Recovery College, St Mungo’s
  • Redloft
  • Sapphire Community Group
  • Shapes in Motion
  • SHP Camdem Recovery Service and Islington Aftercare
  • Smart Works
  • Sock Drop
  • Solace Women’s Aid
  • South East Consortium
  • SPBM
  • Street League
  • The Community Shop
  • The House of St Barnabas
  • The Mary Ward Centre
  • The Maya Centre
  • The Prince’s Trust
  • Training Link Ltd
  • Trussell Trust
  • Westminster Kingsway College
  • Women@thewell
  • Working Chance
  • Working Men’s College
  • Wrap Up London
  • Youth Connextions
  • Ark Build
  • Beacon Partnership
  • BME London Landlords
  • Connex Network
  • Devonshires Solicitors
  • DTP Consultancy
  • Ermine Construction
  • GLA
  • Helix Construct
  • Housing Diversity Network
  • L&Q Development Partnership
  • Madlins LLP
  • Pennington Manches Cooper Solicitors
  • Potter Raper Partnership
  • South East Consortium (SEC)
  • The Housing Executive

Location maps

Our homes are located in the London Boroughs of Camden, Islington, Brent and in Hertsmere, and new homes coming soon in the London Borough of Hounslow.

Further details can be found at each location on the map below.

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Head Office

Head Office, 1 Holmes Road, Kentish Town, London, NW5 3AA

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Hepburn Court

Hepburn Court, Gowar Field, Brookside, South Mimms, Hertfordshire, EN6 3QE

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St Eugene Court

St Eugene Court, 82 Salusbury Road, London, NW6 6PA.

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Townsend House

135 Aycliffe Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 4HA.

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Bethany House

13 Lloyd Square, Islington, London, WC1X 9AR.

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Caulfield Court

Caulfield Court, Baynes Street, London, NW1 0TZ.

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Dunne Mews

Dunne Mews, 57 Leighton Road, London, NW5 2QH.

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Highgate Road and College Yard

54/56 Highgate Road and 9 College Yard, London, NW5 1NU

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Forde House

129 Queens Crescent, London, NW5 4HE

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Tara Lodge

Mutrix Road, London, NW6 4BF

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Conway House

18-22 Quex Road, Kilburn, London, NW6 4PL

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Hackett House

12 Kingsgate Road, Kilburn, London, NW6 4TB

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Espalier Gardens

1 Espalier Gardens, London NW6 2DQ

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Ashford Road

London Borough of Hounslow.

New Project.

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Fir Road

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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Spinney Drive

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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The Dell

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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Becketts Close

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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Carville Crescent

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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Layton Court

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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Manor Gardens

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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Sparrow Farm Drive

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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The Clumps

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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Clifton Parade

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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St Mary's Drive

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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83 Oxford Way, 82-96 Oxford Court and 50-64 Oxford Court

Ongoing development taking place in Hounslow.

New Project

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Almond Grove, Brentford TW8 8NL

Almond Grove

New Project

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Cherry Crescent, Brentford TW8 8NN

Cherry Crescent

New Project