The unprecedented challenges we have faced as a country over the last year in the Covid-19 pandemic have had a significant impact on Sanctuary’s people, our residents, and our communities.

We have all been affected by this terrible virus, and we remember and pay tribute to the members of the Sanctuary team, residents and customers who tragically lost their lives.

But it has also been a year where we have tried to see the positives where we can and build on them. The sense of community, of people caring for one another, has been more palpable than ever.

We are immensely proud of the sheer dedication of the Sanctuary team who have continued to go above and beyond to support our residents and deliver exceptional services through these most testing of times. Staff on the frontline have gone to incredible lengths to protect our most vulnerable residents and deliver services during the pandemic. Balancing work and family commitments has not been easy, but the resilience and dedication shown by our people shines out and for that we are truly grateful. They have also adapted quickly and with enthusiasm to new ways of working which will help shape our future operating model, ensuring we can continue to deliver the best possible services to residents.

We are acutely aware of the impact this period has also had on the wellbeing of our teams and their families; staff engagement has been central to keeping everyone connected. We will continue to provide wellbeing support to staff as we move back to a more normal way of life and new working environment.

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, Sanctuary has been resilient. Our strong balance sheet, liquidity and surplus, alongside the commitment of our staff and our ability to quickly pivot our services in response to significant and swift change have enabled us to deliver business as usual. We have, of course, felt an impact on our surplus from the pandemic but took prompt action to mitigate some of the financial effects and have ensured that our business has continued, despite the pandemic.

We have also been able to help our communities be more resilient during this period, because of our strong national infrastructure combined with a local focus in our neighbourhoods, addressing the specific needs of residents.

In the last year our development activity has continued in communities across the country, with significant progress on major projects, including the multi-million-pound redevelopment of The Victoria in Glasgow, and we remain committed to building 15,000 new homes between 2020 and 2028. We have also grown our supported housing services with the purchase of nearly 300 homes from Accent Group, while ensuring the successful integration of properties from Notting Hill Genesis into Sanctuary Supported Living.

We also successfully completed the transfer of Thistle Housing Association in Toryglen, Glasgow. More than 92% of Thistle tenants supported the transfer in an independent ballot and we now deliver housing and services for more than 1,600 tenants and factored owners.

Our care and student operations have been affected by decreased occupancy levels as a result of the pandemic, but our financial strength as a large group with diverse business streams has allowed us to manage these challenges. Our housing business has remained strong, despite the challenges, which is testimony to our staff and highlights our residents recognise the value of their social housing. We expect the recovery to pick up pace over the coming year.

We have reviewed and updated our Corporate Strategy given the significant changes to our operating environment, but our mission and role in society remains the same.

We have re-doubled our focus on diversity and inclusion; recognising that the pandemic hasGroup Chair exacerbated inequality, and that it’s our job to be part of the change we want to see in the world. We strive to be, and remain, an inclusive employer.

Reducing our impact on the environment has also never been more important. We have therefore launched our new Environment and Climate Change Strategy which sets out the actions we are going to take to continue to reduce our carbon footprint on top of the progress we have made over the last 12 months.

Increased investment in technology over the last year means we have continued to meet virtually with colleagues and residents; however, we have missed visiting our communities, schemes and homes across England and Scotland and look forward to restarting these visits.

Looking to the future, localism and accountability were key themes to come from the Social Housing White Paper in November 2020.

Resident engagement is integral to everything we do which is why we are launching our biggest programme of resident engagement to date. ‘A Conversation with Sanctuary’ will seek the views of our tenants and will be expandingCraig Moule across the country this year after a successfulGroup Chief Executive pilot in 2020.

We will continue to listen to our residents, invest in our homes, build new housing, and deliver our mission as the country recovers from the pandemic. We are proud to lead an organisation that places residents at the heart of everything we do and we look forward to the next 12 months with optimism.

Andrew Manning-Cox, Sanctuary Group Chair

Andrew Manning-Cox
Group Chair

Craig Moule, Sanctuary Group Chief Executive

Craig Moule
Group Chief Executive