2023 marks another milestone in MCP’s story as we celebrate 45 years since we started our business. But our story is all the more special because we are also celebrating 45 years of still serving our very first customer.

How the story began

This is a special story about how MCP started and how Network Homes became its first customer. So, who better to tell the story than our founder, Mick Clarke?

Q. How did you first come to work for Network Homes?

I began working life as a plumber – my Grandfather and Father were plumbers so I naturally followed in their footsteps.

In the 1970’s my dad worked for Hertford Council so when a job for a plumber came up, he put me forward for an interview and I was offered the job. The role was to carry out plumbing installations and repairs for what was then known as Riversmead Housing Association. 

In those days there were no computers or mobile phones so each day I would arrive at the depot and receive a sheet of paper with the day’s jobs listed. I’d then hop in my van and work until I finished all of the day’s jobs.

In 1978, Riversmead Housing Association moved from Hertford to Ware because they had built a new sheltered housing facility for elderly people, and it was then that they decided to outsource all repairs and maintenance works. 

To ensure that I could carry on working for them, I decided to go self-employed so that I could sub-contract for the main contractor. I was then known as Mick Clarke Plumbing and I recall that my first job for the contractor was fixing a broken stopcock!
Q. When were you awarded your own first contract?

As it turned out, in the same year, 1978, the main contractor that was awarded the Riversmead contract didn’t do a good job. Because I had a reputation for being reliable, hard-working, and always delivering work to a high standard and always on time, I was asked to take over the work and tender for the 3-year contract which I won.

I then began to build a team to help manage the work, looking after 3,500 homes across Hertford and Ware, providing all repairs, maintenance, and voids services, and providing emergency call-out services. 

Having successfully run the maintenance contract for a number of years when the gas repairs and maintenance service contract came up, we were invited to tender for the work which we again won. And that was the beginning of our long-term relationship. 

 Q. How have you maintained the relationship with the customer for 45 years?

I guess the first answer is because we always deliver and we always do what we say we will do and that level of trust runs deep. 

But our relationship is about more than being a reliable repairs and maintenance service provider. Just like the ethos of Network Homes, our social values underpin everything that we do. This is why we remain specialists in social housing. 

We understand the real needs of everyday people which is why we immerse ourselves into the communities that we work in through social initiatives that make a difference to people’s lives.

Q. How many homes do you look after for Network Homes today?

We look after almost 16,000 homes today across London, Hertfordshire and the South East.

This number is likely to increase further because Network Homes are continually investing in building more affordable homes that enable people to enjoy better standards of living.

For me personally, and I know I speak for my family and our team, it continues to be a real honour to work for the Network Homes team and for the thousands of people from all walks of life that we meet every single day.

Thank you, Mick for sharing such wonderful memories!

If you would like to learn more about Network Homes and the incredible services they provide, please visit their website https://www.networkhomes.org.uk/