A borough for everyone

""

Alert

We’ve been speaking to some of our residents about how they’ve been impacted by some of the developments in the borough, and they’ve shared their stories with us.

The borough is growing and evolving and we want to ensure that growth benefits all our residents. It’s not just about bricks and mortar – it’s making sure that we are delivering the housing, services, facilities, skills and opportunities that our communities need.

Sasha Hudson is a project support officer at Waltham Forest Council. She joined the Council 3 years ago when she was just 17 on an apprenticeship scheme, and has not looked back.

Like many young people Sasha left school after her GCSEs to attend college but felt she wasn’t pushed hard enough so decided to look into apprenticeships.  After attending an event held by the Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service, she decided an apprenticeship was the way forward.

Sasha said: “Before I met with Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service, I had no idea of the variety of apprenticeships offered. I was only 17, living at home with no responsibilities so the idea of learning and earning a wage was very appealing.”

She then arranged to meet with the service to fill out an application form and have an initial assessment. She then sent in her CV and was matched to available jobs and interviews were set up.

Sasha secured an apprenticeship in Business Administration at Waltham Forest Council. She started at level 2 which is the equivalent to 5 GCSEs and progressed to level 3 which is the equivalent of 3 A levels. 

Sasha’s career with the Council is going from strength to strength and she is now a project support officer for the Transformation team. Her role involves her organising various Council-wide events, drafting business cases for team operations along with a number of other duties. One of the highlights of Sasha’s time at the Council was when she got to meet the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, through represented Waltham Forest’s apprenticeship scheme at an event attended by the Mayor. 

Sasha would recommend the scheme to anyone and has felt supported through the whole process from the application stage right through to interview and placement, she says;

“Through the scheme and mentoring from team members in the Council I was able to understand what I wanted to do with my career.  You get to learn a lot of work skills that you wouldn’t get through education. You get to learn how to work and communicate with people in a different environment and gain those important skills that you’ll need for any job role.

“And probably the best part is the fact that you’re paid on the job as well as getting an education’

Sasha is about to start her level 4 apprenticeship in Project Management, which means back to college for 1 day a week through Skype, but once completed will be equivalent to a foundation degree.

Is an apprenticeship for me?

Apprenticeships provide the best of both worlds with high-quality, work-based training programmes, providing hands-on experience, a salary and a nationally recognised qualification.

They are a fantastic way to launch yourself into a career when you have finished full-time education or for those already in employment to develop or change their future prospects and career.

 On average an apprentice can earn £12,000 to £21,000 per year, plus unlike university you get a qualification without any fees. If already in employment you would maintain your current salary.

More information about becoming an apprentice is on our Adult Learning Service.

A strong partnership between the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector and Waltham Forest Council is helping pre-school children take their first steps to success – that is the view of Chris Sheen, who is the founder of Footsteps Day Nurseries which runs three nurseries in the borough.

Chris, who used to be a Construction Manager with the Building Schools for the Future Programme, opened his first nursery in Leytonstone during 2010 with places for 35 children. To make sure he knew more about his new area of work he successfully qualified as a Nursery Nurse in 2011.

Since then he has opened a 48 place nursery in Chingford during 2015 and in 2017 opened a 58 place nursery in a council-owned building in Walthamstow.

Chris said: “The Walthamstow nursery is a good example of Waltham Forest Council’s approach. They invited bids from people wanting to open a nursery at the 215 Queen’s Road site but they weren’t looking to award the contract to get the highest financial return, they assessed the tenders based on the quality of learning and type of education that would be provided.

“That is a really forward-thinking approach and reflects our company aim that every child should feel happy, well-settled and cared for when they come through our door and parents are confident their child will be safe.

“In all of our nurseries we have a responsibility to deliver education that will support each child to develop and take the next steps as they head for primary school but if that is to work every individual child must be content and have a strong bond with the staff caring for them.”

Throughout their day at nursery children will be involved in messy play, arts and crafts and outside play as well as reading, writing and number skills suitable to their age.

Staff are expected to be role models all the time by being polite, caring and take time with the children and with each other.

All three nurseries accept childcare vouchers from employers and participate in the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

All three and four-year-olds can get free early education and childcare through Government schemes with similar provision being available for some two-year-olds. All of these schemes are accepted by Footsteps Day Nurseries.

Chris added: “Historically Waltham Forest Council has been very good at working with providers; carrying out genuine consultation on how funding should be allocated.

“The Early Years Team has developed a hub where information can be shared, newsletters read and details of courses, along with booking details, are also available.

Chris also praised the council’s attitude to small businesses: “We have a small office in Chingford which means we can get away from the hectic nursery atmosphere to plan for the future and we benefitted from Small Business Rate Relief for that office.

More information on Footsteps Day Nursery can be found on their website

Childcare in Waltham Forest

To find out more about the Governments free early education scheme, and to search for Schools, Nurseries, Preschools and Childminders who are able to provide these places please visit our free early education entitlement (FEEE) page.

Emma has lived in Waltham Forest for over 5 years and previously lived in Walthamstow before moving to Chingford through Council ran service Lettings Waltham Forest.

Emma is a key worker, who works for a local school as a Clerk to Governors and recently moved into her one bedroom flat in Chingford through a scheme ran by Lettings Waltham Forest, aimed at key Workers in the borough and other working professionals that are looking for good quality, secure homes at reasonable prices.

The scheme’s features include zero fees for tenants, priority access to quality accommodation and deposits secured in Deposit Protection Scheme.

Emma couldn’t be happier with her new property, which has enabled her to stay in the borough and be close to her work.

Emma found out about Lettings Waltham Forest through Rightmove the online property search. She contacted the team and was really impressed with how responsive they were.

She says;

“We didn’t have a place to stay as we had just had another rental agreement fall through. The team at Lettings Waltham Forest really took our situation on board.

“Lettings WF helped us find this place within a week. Amrick from the team was so helpful, he kept in contact with us, calling us in the evenings and weekends whilst he was working on finding this amazing flat for us”.

So would Emma recommend the service to other local key workers;

 “I think that other key workers such as teachers, nurses and so on, living in the borough could benefit from contacting lettings WF, if they want to stay in borough. The team were so helpful and I couldn’t believe that we could afford such a lovely place. I would like to thank the team at Lettings Waltham Forest for going out of their way to make everything great for us”.

For more information on our key worker rental scheme and to browse the lists of current available properties go to lettingswalthamforest.co.uk

What are the affordable rental options available to me?

Alongside our key worker scheme there are other rental options available to help residents afford a decent home in the borough.

  • Social and affordable rent homes are owned by councils or housing associations, and are the most affordable with rents at usually less than 50 per cent of market rental price. These go to those who are most in need and struggling to pay housing costs, usually determined through a council housing allocation system.
  • Affordable rented homes are also usually owned by housing associations and councils and rents are no more than 80 per cent of the local market rent. Rules around who is eligible are similar to that for social rent homes.
  • Build to Rent is specially built developments for people to rent out. The homes are to stay as build to rent for at least 15 years. All the units are self-contained and rented out separately, with a professional on-site service. Leases are longer than the average, usually about three years, but renters can break their lease after six months.
  • Rent to Buy is when housing associations will rent out properties at a reduced rent so the renter is able to save up for a deposit and buy a share of the property

For more information visit our housing pages