The Sanctuary Group Board

Jonathan Lander

Jonathan Lander

John Doughty

John Doughty

Dr Gareth Tuckwell

Dr Gareth Tuckwell

Nick Baldwin, Group Chair

Nick Baldwin, Group Chair

Robert McComb

Robert McComb

Elwyn Roberts

Elwyn Roberts

On the Sanctuary Housing Group website, you will find pictures and brief biographies of Directors and Executives with lots of letters after their name. Naturally, I would not wish to show any of the Sanctuary Board members (David Bennett, Craig Moule, Ian McDermott, John Doughty, Jonathan Lander, Liz Meek, Nick Baldwin – oooh, LOTS of letters after his name, that must be why he’s the Group Chair, Robert McComb, Thelma Stober, Elwyn Roberts, Dr. Gareth Tuckwell – even more!) or other Executives and Operatons Directors (Amanda Gonsalves, Peter Martin, Nathan Warren, Sophie Atkinson, Steve Wood, Simon Clark, Gordon Laurie, Dennis Evans, Chris Munday – wait a minute, according to the website Chris hasn’t got any letters after his name! OMG!) any disrespect. I myself am Tim Burness L.A.Y.N.A.M. – Letters After Your Name Are Meaningless.

David Bennett, Chief Executive

David Bennett, Chief Executive

Craig Moule

Craig Moule

Such impressive credentials! The author of a book called “A Question of Healing” who has been involved with the hospice movement, an Accredited Mediator, a woman who has worked to improve services for people with schizophrenia and for ex-offenders. Ah… oh dear, here comes the stench of Big Money – two ex-partners of PwC the massively powerful firm of accountants, an investment banker, an ex-Chief Executive of Powergen.

An investment banker? The head of an energy company? Can you hear those Corporate Rip-Off alarm bells ringing!?

Please see previous blog Are Sanctuary Housing Above The Law? and its 500+ comments for how bad this company can be.

I would absolutely refute any suggestion that I might have the view that, whether they realize it or not, these individuals are a money-grabbing, hypocritical bunch of fraudsters who front a totally corrupt and morally bankrupt organization. Any such suggestion that I might think this, or anything like it, made by anyone would leave me with no alternative but to invoke my Persistent, Cereal and Herbacious Complainants Procedure against them.

Yes, Sanctuary Housing Association does some good work – but nationwide neglect and abuse of tenants, including the elderly and vulnerable is no joke. An exempt rip-off registered charity that lies, cheats and bullies people is no joke. Bad services, incompetent contractors and substandard properties left to rot for years is no joke.

£72 million surplus last year. Shame on you, Sanctuary Group Board.

(The above figure was apparently later revised down to £54.5 million – they make around £40-50 million every year. Unbelievably, Chief Executive David Bennett was awarded a CBE for services to social housing in 2015.)

Liz Meek

Liz Meek

Thelma Stober

Thelma Stober

Ian McDermott

Ian McDermott

Sanctuary Housing above the law on Facebook – lies

SanctuaryFeedback
Stephanie Michelle
Biggest bunch of lieing , incompetent contractors I’ve ever known !!! Thankyou housing association for booking the appointment then havin the cheek to say uve called, my house and mobile and buzzed my door where’s your missed call or message ??? Why hasn’t my door entry sounded?? LIARS !!!! Wasted day for me and my son AGAIN! Thankyou For your incompetence on such an important issue .
LikeLike ·  · 15
  • Stacey Babi likes this.
  • Kerry Prime i can see today-they have deleted all the tenants complaints on here there were about 100 on here a couple of days ago
  • Sanctuary Housing Hi Stephanie Michelle, we would really like to look into this for you. Please can you send us a private message with your address and contact details. Thanks.
  • Sanctuary Housing Hi Stephanie, we’re sorry to hear this. Please can you private message your details so we can look into this for you? Thanks.
  • Donna Leah Ramonicci You are so right Stephanie, these lot could not lie to save their life. I love how they when you write on the website they all of a sudden reply saying ” we’ll look into this for you”. They do this to cover their mistakes 
  • Stepahnie Michelle There is no point , because this happens to me way too often then I’m told after myself and my 3 year old have waited in all day that the contractor came and I wasn’t in ! What rubbish . My house and mobile have not been phoned nor messages left like I was told by ur call center. I’ve wasted yet another day at home for an app that was for the pm to then be told he came just b4 12 which is not on anyway when I was booked in for 12 till 6. But like I said no point inboxing u as I’ve made my views and dissapointment of this happening yet again to your call center and rebooked, so ill be waiting in another day in this nice weather!. not good sanctuary.

Sanctuary Housing above the law on Facebook – deceit

SanctuaryFeedback
Rikh Hart
Just wanted to say thank you to the home ownership team for all of the disinformation and deceit, and for the resulting delays. This has added to an already stressful move for us, and has even contributed to the buyer threatening to pull out of the sale. I sincerely hope that the paperwork is now in the post (I have my doubts, I’ll confess), and that we never again have to deal with Sanctuary Housing again.
LikeLike ·  · 13
  • Stacey Babi likes this.
  • Rikh Hart We have a number of issues regarding the company, from failing to conduct planned maintenance and improvements to the property (due for completion April 2013, not yet started, with the subject being adroitly avoided when it is raised), to failing makeproper repairs when requested. The current issues I have are down to the fact that we have been awaiting a leasehold pack to be sent to our Conveyancers. We were never informed how long this would take, but were instead repeatedly told that our request was a priority, and was next to be dealt with. After a week of this, I complained, and received a prompt call back with apologies, and a promise that it would be sent the next day (last Wednesday). We phoned on Thursday, and were relieved to hear that the documents had been sent. Today, we checked again, as our conveyancers had not received them. Not surprising, given that apparently it was actually sent on Friday! Right now, our buyer is threatening to pull out due to repeated delays from people supposedly working for us, and every days delay brings increased risk that this will happen. I’m sure you can see why I’m angry at being repeatedly lied to.
    • Rikh Hart And 1 week after it was supposedly be posted via recorded delivery, still nothing. The proposed solution? To e-mail it directly to the conveyancing team. Fantastic thinking, well done. One has to ask though; WHY THE HELL WASN’T THIS OFFERED AT THE START?!?
    • Sanctuary Housing Hi Rikh Hart, we will send you a private message.
  • Sanctuary Housing Hi, Oops this is not good and sorry to hear of the issues you have had. Please can you private message us with your address and contact details. We can then look into this for you. Thanks
  • Rikh Hart Btw, if anyone is looking here for information regarding Sanctuary before buying/renting one of their properties, I’d strongly advise you to pay attention to the long list of comments here regarding problems or complaints. Many of these are issues that have not been previously resolved, and many directly bring up issues that indicate that the complainant feels that are in breach of their tenancy agreement. Our own experiences are much in line with these comments, going back several years. I would also take note of the large number of serious issues that Sanctuary have not even bothered to respond too…

Sanctuary’s neglect of the elderly and vulnerable

The uselessness, lies, rudeness, threats, bullying and generally corrupt behaviour of Sanctuary Housing Group (includes Sanctuary Housing Association, Sanctuary Care, Sanctuary Management Services and others) over the last few years are extensively documented in a large number of personal accounts from people across England and Scotland on my previous blog Are Sanctuary Housing above the law? Sanctuary’s unprofessional and excessively corporate behaviour (at times, corporate fascism would seem to be a fair description) continues to affect many – tenants, relatives, students, property-owning neighbours, their own front line employees, and others. Over the last few months, there have been the following complaints in press articles from around the country:-

Maureen Cox, three months with no heating and asbestos

Maureen Cox, 76, three months with asbestos and no heating

Terry McGuire, 82, not on £310,000

Terry McGuire, 82, not on £310,000

In Oxford, a great-grandmother was found to be living without heating in a Sanctuary property with asbestos for three months (November 2013). On the edge of Birmingham, a CQC report revealed that Sanctuary Care, which owns and runs 60 care homes, had put residents ‘at risk of receiving unsafe care and treatment’ because of staff shortages (November). A Cambridge newspaper article: Family plead to be moved from their ‘hell hole’ Sanctuary Housing home (December). The Banbury Guardian had a woman’s three-year wait for house repairs and in the Hemel Hempstead area there were pensioners asking why a security light repair took four months (January 2014). Yes, I think we are getting the picture! Back in Oxford again, last month, a family’s possessions were taken to the tip after a garage mix-up and just a few days ago in Liverpool, a Wirral pensioner slept rough outside his doorstep after being evicted by Sanctuary.

David Bennett, Sanctuary Chief Executive on £310,000

David Bennett, Sanctuary Chief Executive, on £310,000

Whilst they may do great work in some areas, the above instances would appear to be the tip of the Sanctuary iceberg, as can be seen from other blogs here and elsewhere. This widespread neglect of the elderly and vulnerable is coming from a company that has charity status, that made a “surplus” (i.e. profit) of £72 million last year, a company that currently pays its Chief Executive David Bennett £310,000 per year.

They need to be stopped.

 

Sanctuary Housing repairs

SanctuaryHousing

Letter to Robert Goodwill MP from Sanctuary Housing Association tenants

Hello Mr Goodwill,

I hope you are well and I am sorry to contact you again about this shambolic company. I am writing to you to keep you updated with our situation and inform you of our intentions.

poundsignUKSanctuary have and are going back on their word regarding some of the improvements on our Estate. Sanctuary promised to spend £1,010,600 on the Estate for their 133 properties. After my partner and I had a meeting with Dennis Evans (National Director for Repairs) in November last year, we were led to believe that this was a starting point figure, and any improvements that needed doing on their housing stock would be done. However, numerous tenants have informed us that Sanctuary are changing the goal posts – no change there. Since the beginning of May, Sanctuary staff have been telling tenants that there isn’t any money left. Some tenants have had refurbishments done but Sanctuary tell tenants that there isn’t any money for things like lino floor coverings, thus failing in their obligations, and this being less than four months from the start of improvements.

The first of 6 rats caught

The first of 6 rats caught

People don’t want the earth Mr. Goodwill. They merely want their homes bringing up to a decent standard, a standard set by Government and a standard which Sanctuary are failing to meet by a country mile – not just here in Scarborough, but nationally too.

Please read the Tim Burness blog Are Sanctuary Housing Above The Law? as you are mentioned favorably a couple of times and also your picture is posted.

With regards to the recent improvements, by our understanding, 60 to 70% have had problems in one form or another. From one tenant having to have their bathroom replaced 3 times because it had been installed wrongly, to a lady having to have half her garden dug up because of something a workman had put down the toilet, subsequently blocking the main drain.

bathroomMany, many people have had leaks and floods. When we have approached Ian Calver (who is in charge of the improvement program) on numerous occasions, he has said “People will have to except that this is always going to happen”. A statement that I find staggering and one which was repeated at the residents meeting. I contacted the Chartered Institute of Plumbers and Heating Engineers to ask their opinion, they too were staggered by those comments and stated if plumbers were to have many leaks during heir work, they wouldn’t be employed for very long.

bathroom 2Sanctuary are hiding under the banner of having multi-skilled operatives. However, the true facts are that the people that they are employing have little or no experience at all. Once again, this is happening nationwide. The people employed to do the moderization here are joiners, with the exception of one. When asked by tenants how things are going, one joiner said “Okay I think? We are learning as we go along.” It dosn’t project great confidence really, does it?

The Chartered Institute of Plumbers and Heating Engineers also stated that the minimum qualification level should be NVQ Level 3 with a minimum of 4 years experience before plumbers should be undertaking work unsupervised, and that we as tenants have a legal right not to let any workman without the proper qualifications into our home. So the question has to be asked – why do we have to have unqualified, untrained personnel working on our homes? What checks have Sanctuary put in place to make sure their personnel are up to scratch? None at all, judging by the catalogue of errors that we have found.

bathroom cupboard eaten throughThis also includes day to day maintenance staff as well. People have had issues with water stop valves installed upside down, stopping the flow of water when a directional arrow clearly showed which way it should have been installed, a water tank that had been installed with a toilet ball cock which wasn’t adequate (unqualified people messing about with people’s water supply isn’t at all good!), bare wires being left exposed, my family being hospitalised because of a multi-skilled operative treating internal timbers with creosote – even my 14 year old son knew you shouldn’t put a substance like that inside a dwelling.

A bunch of cowboys

A bunch of cowboys

I could go on and on about these issues, but the fact is, this is cowboy work by a cowboy company. They are more interested in empire building than bringing their existing stock up to the decent homes standard.

Simon Clark, Group Director, states there is 92% satisfaction with their tenants. I think he pulled these figures out of a black top hat along with a white rabbit and a string of handkerchiefs.

He also seems to be rather skilled at making complaints and problems magically disappear, perhaps he would be better suited to joining the Magic Circle than sitting on the board of Sanctuary Housing.

Last year we arranged a meeting specifically for Sanctuary tenants to air their views, the meeting was held at our local school. Sanctuary wanted to coincide the meeting with the Residents Association monthly meeting but we pointed out that the issues that tenants wanted to raise were of the solo concern of Sanctuary Housing and not the wider Estate. A meeting specifically for Sanctuary tenants was held and we had a follow up meeting, which was made specifically for Sanctuary tenants in November. At that meeting Sanctuary promised a follow up meeting for March – it didn’t happen. When I asked Sanctuary about it they failed to return my calls regarding the matter. I persisted to no avail, I was later tipped off that representatives of Sanctuary were to attend the Residents Association meeting in May to inform residents of progress.

Three Sanctuary tenants were present, and two of those were my partner and myself. No letters were posted to inform people of their intentions to be at the meeting. Sanctuary have fudged out yet again, stopping their tenants airing their views about failure to keep their promise of improvements and their failure to do work to a satisfactory level.

Our intention now is to go and ask the 133 Sanctuary tenants on our Estate a questionairre about service and confidence in the company. We will also be taking a petition round to ask for action to be taken against this cowboy company who have nothing but contempt for their tenants.

We will keep you posted.

Investor

MPs – please stop Sanctuary Housing

If you have had serious problems with Sanctuary Housing or Sanctuary Group, please join the independent facebook group Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide, which has over 800 members (December 2016). It offers support and advice from others who have suffered at the hands of Sanctuary Housing – the incompetence, the frequent breaking of tenancy agreements, the threats, the lies and all the rest of it.

Sanctuary GroupThe uselessness, lies, rudeness, threats, bullying and generally corrupt behaviour of Sanctuary Housing Group (includes Sanctuary Housing Association, Sanctuary Care, Sanctuary Management Services and others) over the last few years are extensively documented in a large number of personal accounts from people across England and Scotland on my previous blog Are Sanctuary Housing above the law? Sanctuary’s unprofessional and excessively corporate behaviour continues to affect many – tenants (including the vulnerable and elderly), relatives, students, property-owning neighbours, their own front line employees, and others. Common complaints are poor maintenance and a lack of repairs to badly neglected homes, “which are now becoming the new slums” as one observant Sanctuary employee put it. (“In local authorities, qualified staff are on hand all the time to give their professional advice, Clerk of Works and their teams. These were lost when the housing stock was taken over by Housing Associations, and their short term financial gain without costing out the total overall running costs of their acquired housing stock. Which are now becoming the new slums.” March 2011) Some examples in the press over the last few months:-

http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Newquay-residents-plea-home-repairs-Sanctuary

http://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/news/mp-highlights-complaints-over-social-housing

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2318800/Royal-Victoria-Hospital-Annexe-Bungling-decorators-left-red-faced-shocking-paint-job.html

In contrast to their neglect of older homes and tenants, Sanctuary is heavily involved in the increasingly controversial Affordable Homes Programme (affordable for whom?), having received £90 million from the government in 2012.

Sanctuary Group is a very big organization, now with 94,000 homes across England and Scotland, and of course some people have positive experiences of them. Also, I know from my own experience that working in areas such as supported housing and care can be difficult. But there is obviously a real and very serious problem with the culture of this organization and the attitudes of some of its staff. Many people’s serious complaints are often ignored and Sanctuary’s behaviour often appears to be completely immoral or worse.

DavidBennett2013

David Bennett, Sanctuary Group Chief Executive

Many people’s lives are being damaged by a registered charity that regularly makes over £20 million profit, that pays its Chief Executive over £280,000, and that pays no tax. It looks like Sanctuary has got too big and too greedy to function properly.

Last week, I read that the group of MPs that monitors the work of the Homes and Communities Agency has launched an inquiry into the regulation of social housing in England. The inquiry will examine the work of the regulation committee since it replaced the previous social housing regulator, the Tenant Services Authority, in April 2012. Unfortunately, as usual, this looks likely to be concerned with financial regulation only. The actual quality of services provided by a large and impersonal housing association such as Sanctuary rarely seems to be questioned or confronted.

Sanctuary Housing

As a result of complaints from constituents, many MPs are now aware of the widespread incompetence and dishonesty of Sanctuary Housing Group. Sanctuary often seem to be more concerned with building their empire through property speculation, rather than looking after tenants, their properties, and their communities. These MPs and others need to fully investigate Sanctuary (and if needs be, other large housing associations too) and declare them unfit for purpose. Current regulation is totally inadequate. This is a scandal.

The MPs pictured here, along with many others, have all either directly experienced problems with Sanctuary through the complaints of constituents, or else are well aware of the general issues with large profit-driven housing associations.

Is there an existing All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) or other Parliamentary Committee that can take this on?

MPs – Robert Goodwill and Ben Bradshaw in particular – PLEASE TAKE ACTION!

Robert Goodwill MP

Robert Goodwill MP

Tim Loughton MP

Tim Loughton MP

Andy Slaughter MP

Andy Slaughter MP

Ben Bradshaw MP

Ben Bradshaw MP

Stephen Gilbert MP

Stephen Gilbert MP

Greg Hands MP

Greg Hands MP

John McDonnell MP

John McDonnell MP

Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP

Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP

Are Sanctuary Housing above the law?

Shadow Justice Minister, Andy Slaughter MP

Also see 2019 blog Deaths, incompetence and lies – the multimillion pound housing associations destroying lives 2016 blog A nationwide scandal – Sanctuary Housing and 2016 updated Housing association complaints – no regulation of service quality! and others here.

If you have had serious problems with Sanctuary Housing or Sanctuary Group, please join the independent facebook group Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide, which has over 800 members (December 2016). It offers support and advice from others who have suffered at the hands of Sanctuary Housing – the incompetence, the frequent breaking of tenancy agreements, the threats, the lies and all the rest of it.

Sanctuary Group (Sanctuary Housing Association) – a monster that must be stopped. An “exempt” registered charity who often lie, cheat, and bully people, including their own staff. Some services are very poor, repairs are often a bad joke, tenancy agreements are frequently broken by Sanctuary’s incompetence and bad practice. They are largely funded by the taxpayer (housing benefit, the government), tenants include some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and poor people in Britain. Sanctuary Group (fingers in many pies) makes over £40 million surplus (=profit) every year. The Chief Executive is on £310,000 (and has now been made a CBE – Tim 2015).

In 2012, Sanctuary were awarded £90 million through the government’s Affordable Homes Programme, the highest allocation in England. In the same year in Scotland, they received similar grants of £10 million. The Chief Executive has spoken of “delivery of 5000 homes at a combined capital investment of £750 million over the next four years”. Sanctuary completed its takeover of Cosmopolitan Housing Group in March 2013, creating the UK’s largest social landlord, with 95,000 homes owned and managed.

“A scandal which should be exposed.”
Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith and Shadow Justice Minister, May 2011 – on the performance and unaccountability of large housing associations, at the House of Commons.

“Tenants who pay their rent should be entitled to expect their landlord to address failings in a speedy way, but it looks like Sanctuary is falling well short of that.” Stephen Gilbert, Liberal Democrat MP for St. Austell and Newquay in Cornwall, February 2013. “Sanctuary Midlands is letting its customers down… It hasn’t focused on what results it is getting and whether these are effective… The Association needs to do much more to ensure that services perform well.” Ann Bennett, Audit Commission Lead Housing Inspector, April 2010 “One of the worst housing associations I have had to deal with… useless.” Tim Loughton on Sanctuary, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham in Sussex, late 2008.

Sanctuary being an “exempt”  registered charity means that the Charity Commission has no monitoring role whatsoever – it’s a tax break. Not only do they not pay tax, Sanctuary appear to be largely unaccountable to anyone at all. The Audit Commission no longer has housing inspectors. The Homes And Communities Agency, the new social housing regulator since 2012, deals mainly with financial regulation.

Francis Bennion

Prince Philip

Sanctuary Housing Association was originally founded as The World Of Property Housing Trust by influential barrister Francis Bennion (according to his website, Mr. Bennion was still vice-president of Sanctuary until his death in 2015) in 1968-69. Support came from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Royal Institute of British Architects, several MPs including the then Secretary of State for the Environment Peter Walker, billionaire Paul Getty, many other very rich and very influential people, and big support from Prince Philip and the Queen – including a personal financial donation. Oddly, Sanctuary seem to have kept this rather quiet – all a bit masonic perhaps? The Church of England Pensions Board recently signed a £250,000 contract with Sanctuary Group. Are these apparently strong links to the government and “the Establishment” the reason why no-one will hold Sanctuary to account?

(See 20th August 2011 comment for more info and link – Tim)

If you have a genuine case (whether you are a tenant, relative, student, front line or management employee, property-owning neighbour, or anyone else), please don’t give up. By standing up to Sanctuary Housing Group you are also helping many others in similar situations. Don’t be intimidated by their uselessness, lies, threats, and the problems of getting your voice heard.

DON’T GIVE UP!

Sanctuary head office

Sanctuary Group head office, Sanctuary House, Chamber Court, Castle Street, WORCESTER, WR1 3ZQ

Phone: 01905 334000

Rather than just the above or local-ish offices, impersonal e-mails or call centres, or their long-winded and very very dodgy “Complaints Procedure”, you might have more luck with the following direct Sanctuary Housing Group phone numbers and contacts at Worcester:-

Simon Clark, Group Director – Housing. E-mail: simon.clark@sanctuary-housing.co.uk Direct Dial: 01905 334064 Extension: 34064 Mobile: 07894 599107

Group Director for Housing and Communities, Simon Clark

Direct dial: 01905 334064 Extension: 34064 Mobile: 07894 599107 Email: simon.clark@sanctuary-housing.co.uk Unfortunately, Mr. Clark clearly demonstrated Sanctuary’s now legendary arrogance and state of total denial on BBC television (Inside Out South West, 18.2.13), in relation to Sanctuary’s diabolical treatment of a group of tenants living in homes officially assessed as legally unfit for habitation.

Senior PA to Simon Clark, Claire Griffiths

Direct dial: 01905 334167 Fax: 01905 334956

claire.griffiths@sanctuary-housing.co.uk

Director of Sanctuary Home Care & Extra Care, Donna Culley

Direct dial: 01905 334091 Mobile: 07900 160602
Donna.Culley@sanctuary-housing.co.uk

Assistant to Chief Executive David Bennett, Heidi Hodgkin

Worth knowing her name if you’re trying to make contact with Chief Executive David Bennett, who is based at the Worcester address.

TRY EVERYTHING AND DON’T GIVE UP!

If you have been on the receiving end of Sanctuary’s uselessness/lies/threats – don’t just moan on this blog! GO TO YOUR MP – they are paid to represent you!

Or go to your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau.

Or write to your local or national newspaper – FOR THE SAKE OF EVERYONE ELSE – PLEASE DO IT!

Some tenants get results by going to the Housing Ombudsman, but many people’s experience is that they are a waste of time.

BBC WATCHDOG (many, many people have complained about Sanctuary but no interest at all so far – Tim 2015)
Watchdog, W1 NBH 07C, BBC New Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog/gotastory/
E-mail:
watchdog@bbc.co.uk

BBC PANORAMA
Panorama, Zone D, 4th Floor, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London, UK, W1A 1AA
E-mail: panorama.reply@bbc.co.uk

Here’s a different point of view, expressed anonymously and not altogether convincingly – note the dismissive tone towards vulnerable and disadvantaged people but perhaps he/she is just doing his/her best in a difficult job?

“I’ve worked in complaints on and off for 30 years and let me make something clear to you, 7/10 people make stuff up or get it totally wrong hence their complaints are never upheld.

How about releasing the results of 20k of sanctuary residents from last year on how they view the service? The results were that the majority were satisfied with Sanctuary in many areas polled. 92 on this blog versus 20,000 – YOU DECIDE. If you are going to blog, at least be open minded and impartial.”

A “majority” in “many areas”, this is a bit vague isn’t it? And Sanctuary has over 70,000 tenants (95,000 since the takeover of Cosmopolitan in 2013, Tim), what about the other 50,000? Yes, people only have to read through a few posts here to make up their own minds about Sanctuary, no doubt about that. Obviously the posts on this blog are not the whole story – that’s probably even worse!

In 2009-10, according to page 18 of their annual report, not-for-profit charity Sanctuary Group made a “surplus” (i.e. profit) of £23.8 million. During 2010-11, profits went up to £24.7 million. Since the takeover of Cosmopolitan, profits have soared to £72 million for the year 2012-13.

Legally, no tax is paid on this.

Much of the multi-million pound profit comes from the government and the taxpayer in the form of housing benefit from some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged, and poor people in Britain.

In 2009, with the help of Barclays Capital hedge fund, Sanctuary issued £200 million pounds of bonds. These were secured against the group’s rented housing. In April 2012, a further £300 million pounds of bonds were issued. Not-for-profit casino banking anyone?

Original post:-

There may be one or two people out there who wondered what happened to the devastating noise disturbance situation my ex-partner and I were going through in 2007 and 2008.

Eventually the housing association concerned moved their tenant out (The second crazy teenage anti-social behaviour nightmare in two years – we were attacked and threatened on our doorstep, with loud screaming and swearing at all hours, amongst other things. There was a hint that the tenant had previously had an ASBO, we never found out for sure…), they properly sound-proofed the flat below ours, and their unfortunate local manager moved on. My ex is now being treated with the respect that any innocent member of the public deserves. She does actually own her flat after all!

It took five visits to our local MP Tim Loughton, a few ridiculous meetings with Sanctuary Housing, and well over twenty letters to Sanctuary and various other organizations (eventually including the now defunct Housing Corporation, West Sussex Supporting People, and the head of local police) before they took us and several of our neighbours seriously. The police and the local council were reluctant to get involved, although they were helpful at times, especially the supportive but ultimately powerless PCSOs. “It’s not a police matter”, we were repeatedly told. The Environmental Health recorder didn’t get results. No-one seemed to be seriously bothered about the stinking “skunk” cannabis, we wouldn’t have minded ourselves if they’d kept their windows closed.

For over a year, Sanctuary Housing’s behaviour was astonishing:- blatant bullying tactics, lies, dishonest back-covering and incompetence by several managers (fortunately we had evidence of this – you really should be ashamed of yourselves local manager Peter Jackson, Sanctuary Supported Housing head Tim Susans and regional manager Wendy Fletcher, what were you doing? Astrid Kjellberg-Obst and Steve Wood of Sanctuary Care Limited, is all this okay with you?), local and national offices ignoring many of our letters including a very reasonable one sent through their complaints procedure, contradictions and lack of clarity about what the law actually was on more than one occasion, written false representations of what we had written to make it mean the opposite i.e. outrageously manipulative lies, the back-tracking on their original offer of sound-proofing, the accusation that we had not been co-operating with West Sussex Mediation Services – when in fact they themselves were preventing this from proceeding by not returning the mediation people’s phone calls.

Presumably they thought they could bully us into shutting up? It was obvious there was a real long-term problem but they preferred to try and make us look unreasonable for daring to complain. In the meantime my partner had serious depression, migraine headaches and I virtually had a nervous breakdown both before and after moving out. Both of us had problems at work due to exhaustion and ultimately our relationship itself did not survive the nightmare. The neighbours across the road, a lovely friendly retired elderly couple, were extremely upset by their complaints not being taken seriously.

“Sanctuary Housing? Oh no!”, said a nurse friend of mine when I told her about all this. “They kept ignoring several serious complaints and sending us threatening letters when I was in their student accommodation in Brighton. Being a student nurse was hard enough already, the university had to get involved on our behalf, it was a nightmare”. So much for Sanctuary Management Services, their student branch. We and our MP couldn’t help wondering how many other people up and down the country have been on the receiving end of Sanctuary Housing Group’s grotesque and morally bankrupt unprofessionalism. And just plain indifference.

On their website, Sanctuary Housing describe themselves as “An industry leading social enterprise helping to set standards across the entire sector” (They’ve since dropped this headline but the attitude is still there, TB). In his patronizing, clueless and ill-informed letter of denial TO OUR MP, boss Chief Executive David Bennett couldn’t even be bothered to get our address right, apparently confusing us with a Sanctuary property in Berkshire.

David Bennett, Sanctuary Chief Executive, now a CBE

According to an article from The Guardian in September 2003, the Chief Executive of this “not-for-profit” organization was at that time receiving over £200,000 per year from tax-payers money.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2003/sep/24/

(According to another national newspaper 25.9.09, as head of this exempt charity, Chief Executive David Bennett is unbelievably now on £288,000. A social housing fat cat, the equivalent of a greedy banker. He is third on the list in this article:-

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1215947/

£288,000 for someone who, in his letter to our MP, showed himself and Sanctuary up as totally incompetent and arrogant!? September 2010 update – he’s now on £285,446. September 2013, £310,000. He was made a CBE in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list – an absolute disgrace.)

Former Group Chair, Nick Baldwin

The money is obviously rolling in as they expand their “not-for-profit” empire, around 80,000 (95,000 since March 2013) homes making them the biggest Registered Social Landlord (RSL) in the country. Thanks for sorting out our situation in the end Sanctuary, but our life together was destroyed in the meantime.

Yes, all the above is actually true! No full apology or explanation was ever offered. Useless. Uncaring. Arrogant. Disgusting.

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