In Touch - Issue 49

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Issue 49 | Spring

nants

The essential magazine for Council Te

Inside this issue: Homes Investment - £72.675m to be invested in your homes! Social Housing Charter - New Government standards for landlords like us.


Back in the ‘Good Old Days!’ Welcome to ‘In Touch’. I hope that you are all well and most of you have had your first Covid-19 vaccination by now! As I write this, the Government’s restrictions are beginning to ease and hopefully we can return to a little more normality (and the pub) very soon. As well as dealing with a pandemic, the Government has recently released its White Paper on Social Housing (more about this on page 7), which deals with all manner of things, including the standards that Councils should reach when it comes to their housing and tenancies. There are some housing providers in England who are not quite up to scratch. So it is reassuring to hear that Bassetlaw is planning to spend more than £72 million on our homes over the next five years. This got me thinking about the expectations that we have of Council accommodation now and how standards have changed since my Grandad’s day! In around 1921, my Grandad, Grandma and five children got the key to a rented two-up two-down terrace property with another key for their very own toilet. And what a luxury that was!

Previously they had shared one with several other families in the back yard that consisted of a wooden seat with a round hole in it, which was emptied once a month by a man with a horse and cart. Fast forward 30 years and in 1951 they still cooked on a coal-fired range. As a miner, new legislation meant Grandad got a coal allowance, so now they had affordable central heating of sorts, with open fires in the two bedrooms and one in the front room. The outside toilet was now flushable, they had a cold water tap over the sink, so no more hand pumping. But above all they had one light bulb precariously dangling in the kitchen. Oh, and yes, a battery powered radio. I’ll never forget the sight of Grandad going to bed early one night like Wee Willy Winky in his nightshirt, bedsocks and a candle on a holder. People of my generation may wax lyrical about the ‘good old days’, but I can’t help but wonder how today’s housing standards will be perceived in another 100 years and if they will be viewed as being as primitive as my Grandad’s day. David Smith In Touch Tenant Editor

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Promising times ahead of us Back in March we took a moment to reflect on a year of Lockdown and the huge affect that Covid-19 has had on all of our lives. It has been an extremely difficult year and I sincerely hope that you and your families have been able to stay safe and well. On behalf of the Housing Service I would like to say that we have all done our best to support tenants through this time and provide as many of our services as possible, no matter how difficult this may have been. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that we haven’t always got things right and, as much as we would like to, we cannot always provide the outcomes that some tenants may expect. As I write this column, a sense of optimism is hanging in the air thanks to the Government’s Roadmap and the series of milestones that it has laid out. This will allow us to move forward and continue to improve our services to you, focus more on involving tenants in order to shape our

services, learn from your experiences, and make them better. Just some of the ways we plan to do this are included in this issue, for example the £72.675 million that we will be investing in tenants homes over the next five years, the exciting plans we have to renovate our Independent Living Schemes, a new housing development in Manton, and how we will work with the Regulator of Social Housing to ensure that our Housing Service as a whole meets all of the expectations laid out in the Government’s Charter for Social Housing. It certainly promises to be a far more promising and exciting year ahead, but we must not lose sight of what we are required to do before all the Government’s restrictions could possibly be lifted on 21st June. In this time please stay safe, remember - Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air - and continue to follow the latest Government advice! Alison Craig Head of Housing for Bassetlaw District Council

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energy efficiency. This is so that we can minimise fuel poverty by ensuring properties have good levels of insulation, A-rated boilers, solar PV, renewable energy and efficient well maintained heating systems. As part of this budget, over the next 12 months we’ll be installing around 228 kitchens and 214 bathrooms, re-tiling 42 roofs, installing 50 doors and around 300 windows.

Building Safety We also have a commitment to ensure that tenant’s homes are safe to live in and meet the highest safety standards in areas such as Gas and Carbon Monoxide, Electrical, Fire, Water, Asbestos, and Lifts, Access and Equipment.

Investing in your homes Over the next five years, Bassetlaw District Council plans to invest a total of £72.675m in the homes of its tenants to ensure they are safe, comfortable and meet the Government’s ‘Decent Homes’ standard. In some cases, the Council plans to go beyond this standard and over the next 12 months, a total of £11.5m will be spent in five key areas that include: Delivering Decent Homes; Maximising Energy Efficiency; Building Safety; Regeneration of Estates; and Developing New Homes.

We are now delivering the biggest investment in housing for almost 10 years Alison Craig, Head of Housing

The Council currently owns and manages more than 6,700 properties and this announcement is part of Bassetlaw’s 30 year Business Plan for the Housing Revenue Account, which was agreed at the Council’s Cabinet meeting in January 2021. Alison Craig, Head of Housing at Bassetlaw District Council, said; “It’s vital that we continue to invest in our properties so that tenants have decent, warm, and energy-efficient homes to live in.

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We will spend a total of £7.8m over the next five years to ensure that tenant’s homes are safe to live in.

Decent Homes and Energy Efficiency Over the next five years, we will invest a total of £23.8m to maintain decency levels and improve the energy efficiency of tenant’s homes. In order to identify the work that is needed in tenant’s homes, we have been undertaking Stock Condition Surveys of 30% of our properties each year. This process began in 2019/20, continued in 2020/21, and a further 30% of the stock will be independently surveyed in 2021/22. Currently 100% of tenant’s homes meet the Decent Homes Standard, but we need to continue to invest in properties to modernise them and improve their

That’s not all There are many other areas of Housing that we must continue to invest in, including £2.7m on Adaptations to ensure that tenants living with a disability can continue to live in their own homes.

“This is the biggest investment in housing that we have made since the Government ended their Decent Homes Funding in 2012/13. When the Council brought the housing service back from A1 Housing, it promised to identify savings and re-invest this money back into tenant’s homes. “We are now delivering on this promise with the biggest investment in housing for almost 10 years. As a result, over the next five years we will be carrying out this work in tenant’s homes and in communities across Bassetlaw and we hope that tenants will continue to be satisfied by the standard of their homes.”

Over the next five years, we have committed more than £25m to these and other projects to build new housing that meets the needs of all current and future tenants.

We will also be investing £1.7m in other areas including; • T he Lifeline System - an emergency call system for our elderly and vulnerable tenants - by upgrading the technology and looking at payment methods for those tenants who have the system installed in their homes.

Environment and Neighbourhoods We also know that tenants deserve a nice environment to live in, which is why we have committed a total of £11m over the next five years to maintain estates and neighbourhoods with programmes that include roads, footpaths, parking and garages. It will also see our first estate regeneration scheme commence on the Carlton Wimpey Estate at Carlton-in-Lindrick.

• I n order to maintain a Housing Service that best meets the needs of our tenants, we will also be investing in things like vehicle replacement, IT infrastructure, systems and equipment.

New Build and Refurbishment We have a good track record of building new homes, and to continue this we already have plans in place to build 120 new homes in Manton and begin a refurbishment programme of our Independent Living Centres.

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Expert advice on hand with TPAS

Return of Tenant Conference Bassetlaw District Council’s Tenant Conference will be back in 2021 and will give you the opportunity to learn more about what we have been doing over the last 12 months and what we have planned for the years ahead. It was not possible to hold a Tenant Conference in 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic, but the event will now return on Wednesday 14th July. Should the Government’s Roadmap to reduce Coronavirus restrictions progress, we hope to allow a limited number of people to attend, as well as making this a digital event so that all tenants can be part of things from the comfort of their own home. On the agenda will be an update on our Annual Report, which gives information on how we have performed over the last financial year, our future plans, including how we will be investing £72.675 million in tenant’s homes over the next five years, information on the services that are available to tenants, and much more. A venue and a time is yet to be confirmed. However, should you wish to attend the Tenant Conference either in person or virtually, we will be releasing more details closer to the day. Should you wish to register, or learn more please email anita.fairweather@bassetlaw.gov.uk or contact our Customer Services Team on 0800 590542. You can also register via our online form at www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/tenantengagement

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Bassetlaw District Council is a member of TPAS, the Tenant Engagement Experts, because we believe that engaging and involving our tenants will help us find solutions to improve services, save money and bring lasting change to communities. TPAS is a membership organisation, dedicated to bringing tenants and landlords together. By joining TPAS, Bassetlaw is supporting its tenants and staff to access membership benefits including the latest tenant engagement training practices, specialist advice, housing briefings and a free helpline. TPAS chief executive, Jenny Osbourne said: “TPAS are a not for profit organisation that has been in existence since 1988. By joining our membership network, Bassetlaw District Council are not only supporting their staff and tenants to work together more effectively, they’ll also be at the heart of driving the national tenant engagement agenda along with over 230 landlords and 2.7 million social housing households across the country.” TPAS also provide opportunities for tenants to access training, regional networking events with other tenants and the latest housing involvement news. To take advantage of these resources, visit www.tpas.org.uk to register your details. They also operate a free enquiry service for those interested in getting the most out of your engagement activities. 0800 731 1315.

New Housing Charter In November 2020, the Government launched their White Paper on Social Housing: The Charter for Social Housing Residents.

To know how your landlord is performing, including on repairs, complaints and safety, and how it spends its money, so you can hold it to account.

White Papers are policy documents produced by the Government that set out their proposals for future legislation and provide a basis for further consultation and discussion with interested or affected groups. This allows final changes to be made before a Bill is formally presented to Parliament.

To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly, with access to a strong ombudsman who will give you swift and fair redress when needed.

This White Paper – The Charter for Social Housing Residents – sets out what the Government will ask housing providers, like Bassetlaw District Council, to do across a range of different areas and work with the Regulator of Social Housing to ensure all of these requirements are being met. Bassetlaw District Council’s Housing Service already meets many of these requirements and we have already begun to look at any areas that may need to be improved before this charter becomes legislation. The summary here briefly sets out what the Government is asking of housing providers. We will also be working with the Regulator of Social Housing to ensure that our services meet both the expectations of tenants and the Government.

What does the Government’s Charter say:

To be treated with respect, backed by a strong consumer regulator and improved consumer standards for tenants. To have your voice heard by your landlord, for example through regular meetings, scrutiny panels or being on its board. The government will provide access to help, if you want it, for you to learn new skills to ensure your landlord listens. To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in, with your landlord keeping your home in good repair. To be supported to take your first step to ownership, so it is a ladder to other opportunities, should your circumstances allow. If you would like to learn more about the Government’s charter, please visit www.gov.uk/ government/publications/the-charter-for-socialhousing-residents-social-housing-white-paper

To be safe in your home. We will work with industry and landlords to ensure every home is safe and secure.

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Bringing people back together Social isolation has become an increasingly used term over the last 12 months as the Coronavirus Pandemic has kept family, friends and loved ones apart for long periods of time.

Join our Review Groups A lot has changed over the last 12 months or so, including how tenants are able to evaluate and have an input into how Bassetlaw District Council’s Housing Services are delivered. We want to hear what you think as tenants; listen to your experiences of our services, learn how they impact on your day-to-day life and how they affect your community. That’s why we are asking tenants to be part of a number of new groups that will work with the Council’s Housing Team to review the services we offer and make recommendations of how they can be improved.

We are looking for tenants who are able to dedicate a small amount of spare time to help improve services for the benefit of fellow tenants and to be part of a number of Review Groups that will initially look at services including: Allocations, Repairs, Customer Care and Service Standards, Tenant Engagement and Compliance. Rewards including Love2Shop Vouchers will be provided for each review that takes place. If you think you would like to get involved or would like more information, please contact our Tenant and Resident Engagement Officer, Anita Fairweather on 0800 590 542 or email her at anita.fairweather@ bassetlaw.gov.uk

The need for vulnerable people to shield has also increased social isolation, especially among our older residents and those who are suffering with health problems. This lack of social contact can, in some cases, have an increased negative impact on people’s mental and physical health. As the Government’s Roadmap begins to open up society and increase the amount of social contact that people can have, Bassetlaw District Council is putting plans in place to ensure that as restrictions allow, we can start to bring people back together in a safe way.

could be a lifeline for some people. I want to reach out to people and help to bring back a bit of community spirit once the Government allows it. “Just some of the things I hope to do is organise events and gatherings that allow people to interact with one another again. This could be things like games evenings to day trips to exercise classes and mindfulness sessions. Anything that will help to improve people’s physical and mental health.

The work that I’ll be doing could be a lifeline for some people. Jane Wright, Social Inclusion Officer

Jane Wright, our Social Inclusion Officer, will be using her experience as a Warden to tackle social isolation in our communities. Initially working in the Independent Living Centres and with older tenants living in our communities, she will also look to work with residents throughout Bassetlaw and key partners in the district.

“I also want to bring people into our Independent Living Centres to allow our residents to meet people who live in the same community. Also by working with other organisations like BPL, who run the Council’s Leisure Centres, and BCVS, we can offer even more services to our communities once the time is right.”

“When it is safe to do so, I want to bring people back together again,” said Jane. “Even without the Coronavirus Pandemic, there is a lot of social isolation in our communities and the work that I’ll be doing

If you would like to know more about the work that Jane will be doing, or work in partnership with our Social Inclusion Officer, please call 0800 590 542 or email customer.services@bassetlaw.gov.uk

Get Involved in your way We are currently asking tenants and residents how they would like to be involved with the Housing Service.

Please visit the Council Housing section of our website and you’ll find the survey in the Tenant Engagement section.

Should you wish to be an involved tenant, please complete our short survey that will tell us how you wish to engage with us in the future. For example, by being part of future consultation and tenant groups, helping us to promote tenants’ views, and having your say on Housing Services.

You can also keep up to date with the latest news and information from Bassetlaw District Council by signing up to our digital Newsletters. Simply visit the homepage of our website and click on ‘Sign Up to Newsletter’, or follow us on social media - @BassetlawDCHousing

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Rapid Community Testing If you’re one of the thousands of people in Bassetlaw who are already taking advantage of asymptomatic testing, or if you want to start getting regular tests, there are now two Rapid Community Testing centres in our district. Around one in three people who are infected with Covid-19 have no symptoms, so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. These community testing sites provide rapid tests, otherwise known as lateral flow tests, which are just one of the ways we can help to stop the spread of Covid-19 and help to reduce infection rates. All Nottinghamshire residents over 18 are now able to access free, rapid lateral flow tests for themselves and their families twice a week. The test sites can be found in the Buttermarket at Retford Town Hall (DN22 6DB) and a mobile test unit that will be stationed in the Priorswell Road Car Park, opposite the Canch, in Worksop (S80 2BU).

You don’t need an appointment, it’s completely free and you should receive your results in around 30 minutes. Retford’s Centre is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8am to 6pm, Wednesdays 7am to 5pm, and Saturdays 8.30am to 3pm. Worksop’s mobile unit is open every Wednesday and Saturday between 10am and 5.30pm. You can also collect Home Testing Kits from these sites and will be eligible for two boxes of seven tests per person or four boxes per family. These are also available from the Government’s website www.gov.uk/coronavirus Even though more testing is available, we must continue to play our part and follow the Government’s advice, be mindful of the most current national restrictions and continue to practice Hands, Face, Space - Fresh Air.

Bassetlaw Health Bus delivers essential care Vulnerable residents who live in some of the most rural and isolated parts of Bassetlaw will be able to access vital healthcare thanks to a new Health Bus. The Bassetlaw Health Bus is a mobile clinical consultation room that will be operating in the district in the coming weeks. This vehicle was created through a partnership between Bassetlaw District Council and the Riverside Surgery in Retford. Most recently, the Health Bus has been used to support the vaccination delivery programme with patients who are housebound and have not been able to visit their doctors through the lockdown period. As well as hosting GP surgeries, the Health Bus can accommodate health and wellbeing clinics, other more specialist clinics such as mental health, weight management, Men’s and Women’s health, as well as being used for Covid-19 vaccinations, childhood vaccinations, flu jabs and blood tests. Dr Eric Kelly, Chair of Bassetlaw CCG and Partner at Riverside Surgery, said: “The Bassetlaw Health Bus, or as I like to call it, Bassetlaw’s mobile GP surgery will go out to patients rather than patients come to see us. “We can take it to supermarket car parks, rural villages, schools, anywhere and everywhere to provide

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healthcare and health promotion for the citizens of Bassetlaw. This has been particularly important throughout the latest lockdown period and as an additional way to roll out the Covid-19 vaccinations.” Alison Johnson, Practice Manager at Riverside Surgery, added: “The Health Bus provides a wonderful opportunity for the practice and other health and social care providers to extend service provision in Bassetlaw, providing health education opportunities to the community. This will be an asset to patients who live in more remote areas, and to patients who have mobility problems in addition to the excellent healthcare that is already provided in Bassetlaw.” Christine Staniforth, Strategic Housing Manager at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “I’m very excited about this project and it’s the perfect timing for this innovative resource. Through partnership working with GP Practices and the Better Care Fund, we are able to make a real difference to the lives of residents and enable the healthcare practitioners to provide additional care for their patients.” “This vehicle will help so many people. It is a great initiative that will be used to support local communities and get healthcare out into the rural areas of Bassetlaw.”

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Local landmark for vaccine The vaccination programme in Bassetlaw continues at pace with over 50,000 people in the district having been vaccinated against Coronavirus by the end of March 2021. In just three months, over 50,000 residents in the first 9 cohorts of people received their first jab thanks to the efforts of the three GP Primary Care Networks (PCNs), Bassetlaw District Council and partners of the Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group who have worked hard to develop safe and effective ways to deliver the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

Vote safely in 2021 Elections Local Elections are scheduled to take place across the country on Thursday 6th May, including in Bassetlaw, where residents will be asked to have their say on who represents them at Nottinghamshire County Council and as Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Neil Taylor, Returning Officer for Bassetlaw District Council said: “We understand that people may be worried about the voting process this year amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s why our Elections Team are working hard to ensure that you can safely cast your vote, however you chose to do so.

While the elections are some time away, the Elections Team in Bassetlaw have been working hard to ensure that you are able to stay safe while casting your vote.

“If you choose to vote in person, you can expect to find many of the measures you’ve become used to in shops and banks over recent months, such as hand sanitiser, social distancing signs and face masks.

There are a number of ways to have your say in the elections - you can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, which is known as a proxy vote. To vote on Thursday 6th May, you must be registered on the electoral roll or have applied to register by Monday 19th April. In addition to the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Nottinghamshire County Council elections, a number of other elections are taking place in Bassetlaw. These include: By-Elections for Bassetlaw District Councillors in the wards of Tuxford & Trent, Ranskill and Sutton; a Parish Council ByElection for South Leverton; and Neighbourhood Plan Referendums in Blyth, Everton, Hodsock, Rampton and Walkeringham.

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Dr Eric Kelly, Chair of the NHS Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local GP, said: “Our local PCNs have been working extremely hard to ensure we have vaccinated the most vulnerable and high-risk people in Bassetlaw. We’re delighted to be making excellent progress and reaching the 50,000 milestone is an excellent achievement for Bassetlaw. “It’s important that as many people as possible come forward for the vaccine so we can get immunity to the virus which has caused so much disruption and taken many lives over the last year.

“Every one of us can also help support the reduction of COVID rates by following the rules to contain the virus and remembering hands, face, space at all times whether you have had the vaccine or not. The vaccine is safe, simple, and will offer you and those around you the best protection against this virus.” People in the priority groups which have already been announced have not missed their chance to get vaccinated and can book appointments by visiting www.nhs.uk . Alternatively call the national telephone number 119 where they can choose a time slot and location that suits them. Local people in Bassetlaw in the eligible groups can still choose to wait to be invited by a GP PCN where they will be contacted directly and be offered a suitable and convenient slot to receive their vaccine dependent upon availability. For more information about the vaccine, for the latest updates on which eligible groups are being called forward, and to read some frequently asked questions, please visit www.bassetlawccg.nhs.uk

“But you also have the option to vote by post or by proxy and local democracy remains extremely important. It gives people the opportunity to have their say on a range of local issues that affect their daily lives.” Further information on the elections that are taking place in Bassetlaw can be found on the Bassetlaw District Council website at: www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/ council-and-democracy/elections-in-bassetlaw/ Any residents who have questions can also contact the Council’s local elections on 01909 533 252 or by email at elections@bassetlaw.gov.uk You can also find more information by visiting www.electoralcommission.org.uk

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Grand designs unveiled An exciting new project to redevelop and refurbish the Council’s Independent Living Centres, beginning with Larwood House in Worksop, will begin this summer.

Communal Spaces including a Lounge, Kitchen and accessible landscaped Gardens; a store for Personal Mobility Scooters; a Drying Room and a Treatment Room for visiting mobile hairdressers.

Independent Living Centres are a collection of selfcontained apartments and flats that specifically cater for older residents who wish to live in a community setting.

The renovation will also include a new entrance hall with canopies, two extensions to provide increased floor space, a new garden room and external cladding and rendering to give the building a more contemporary look and feel.

Last year, the Council successfully opened Priory Court in Worksop and is about to embark on a refurbishment project that will bring all of its Independent Living Centres up to a similar standard. The £3 million Larwood project will be led by specialist design and build company Fortem, who were appointed through the EEM Procurement Framework. Larwood House is currently made up of 32 bedsits and a number of communal rooms and shared facilities. This project will transform the building into a collection of bright, modern, attractive and welcoming homes that will enhance communal living and social interaction. New features will include: 18 self-contained onebedroomed apartments with fully-accessible wet rooms and either a private patio or Juliet balcony;

Alison Craig, Head of Housing at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “This is another exciting project that will improve the lives of our older tenants. “We are all extremely proud of the standard of living that we are able to offer residents at Priory Court and the state of the art facilities that are provided there. It is our ambition to achieve this standard across all of our Independent Living Centres so that we can offer older tenants a safe, comfortable and modern home in a community setting.” All existing residents will be assisted to move into the Council’s other Independent Living Centres or alternative accommodation while the work is taking place. They will also be offered the opportunity to return to Larwood House when the renovation is complete. Work is expected to begin this summer and is anticipated to take between 12 to 15 months to complete. The Council’s remaining Independent Living Schemes in Harworth and Bircotes, Retford and Misterton, will be refurbished over the next seven years.

Skills Hub set for April start A state-of-the-art Skills and Education Hub that will give Bassetlaw residents a better future and address skills shortages for the NHS and local businesses is about to take shape. The former Bridge Court building at the gateway to Worksop Town Centre will be transformed from a long-term neglected eyesore into a modern and contemporary learning facility as Bassetlaw District Council, along with its partners, enter the next phase of realising a shared vision. The Worksop Access to Skills Hub will offer opportunities across a range of subjects including health and social care; digital and digital transformation; green technologies and low carbon and construction. It will create 50 jobs and support 300 learners. Funding of £3.5million was confirmed by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership as an allocation from their Getting Building Fund (GBF) on 15th February. Since then, the Council and its partners have wasted no time in putting plans into action. David Armiger, Assistant Chief Executive at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “This skills and education campus will give thousands of Bassetlaw people the

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opportunity to elevate their ambitions and improve their future prospects. “It will also bring a derelict building back into use, support growth in our town centre, bring more people into Worksop and give confidence to the many businesses that have been decimated by the Coronavirus pandemic.” The RNN Group will be the main education provider, in conjunction with University of Derby, who will look to expand the current and established level of provision provided by their North Notts College campus. They will offer Access to Higher Education Diplomas from Levels 4, 5 and 6. The project also works in partnership with the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Bassetlaw Integrated Care Partnership to meet the Trust’s workforce demands, providing an increase of higher skilled jobs in the medium term. Building partners Lindum Group are scheduled to move onto the Bridge Court site from Monday, April 19th and will take approximately a year to complete the project.

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Talk to DWP about your UC rent change

Rents to rise At the end of February we wrote to all tenants to advise you that your rent was going to be increased for the coming year. The Government sets the amount of rent that we are allowed to charge along with any increases or decreases that take place on an annual basis. From Monday 5th April and for the next financial year, it has said that rents will rise by the increase of the Consumer Price Index*, which is 0.5 per cent, plus another 1 per cent, giving a total increase of 1.5 per cent. If you pay by Direct Debit, your payments will be amended automatically and we will have notified you at least 10 working days in advance of this change. If you are in receipt of Universal Credit you must advise the DWP as soon as possible, that your rent charge has changed. For those tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit, this will automatically be deducted and the Council’s Revenues and Benefits Service will notify you of any changes to your entitlements. As part of our commitment to improving the services we provide, this additional income will allow us to increase the level of investment in your homes, amounting to £72.675 million in the next five years.

If you’re on Universal Credit and claiming housing costs to pay your rent, you must let the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) know of this change in your rent. To make this easier for you, the DWP will have sent you a ‘To Do’ notification to your journal in the first week of April 2021. If you do not receive a ‘To Do’ notification in your Journal you will have to select the ‘Report any changes to your housing costs’ option instead. You must complete the ‘To Do’ task or report the change in housing costs after the 5 April 2021, but before the end of your April 2021 Universal Credit assessment period. If this is not done you could miss out on the payment you are due. If you don’t tell the DWP about your rent rise, your Universal Credit won’t be increased to cover your new rent and you could also miss out on benefits you are due.

Council Tax increase Council Tax in Bassetlaw has increased for the next financial year and will see the District Council portion increase by around 2.80%. Following approval at March’s Full Council, from 1st April 2021, Bassetlaw District Council is increasing its portion of Council Tax by £5 for Band D properties, which is equivalent to a 2.80% increase or 10p per week. Almost 51% of properties in Bassetlaw are in Band A, and they will see an increase of £3.33 or 6p per week.

Without this increase, our budgets simply wouldn’t balance and vital services could be put at risk. David Hill, Interim Director of Corporate Resources

David Hill, Interim Director of Corporate Resources at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “Council Tax is an important source of income for Councils and this £5 increase had already been assumed by the Government. As such, it has already been factored

into their Financial Settlement with all Councils for the coming year. “We understand that a year of the Coronavirus Pandemic will have severely hit some of our residents’ incomes and that an increase in Council Tax will not be warmly welcomed. “The Council has also felt the impact of the Pandemic, both physically and financially; and the combination of losses of income and increased cost has been significant. “Without this increase in Council Tax, our budgets simply would not balance and vital services that people rely on could be put at risk. Further reductions in income and increased expenditure are likely to be on the horizon and we must plan accordingly for this. “Since the start of the reduction in public sector spending in 2010/11 the District Council has seen the cumulative effect of its Revenue Grant reductions for service investment and the local economy grow to a level of £49,600,000 in cuts over the last decade. This is equivalent to £422.23 lost to Bassetlaw for every man, woman and child in the district.”

Unfortunately, we can’t tell the DWP on your behalf, but if you need help with your journal please speak to your Income Officer.

We hope that this helps you to understand why your rent has gone up, and if you would like to talk to someone about your individual circumstances, please contact our Rent Team on 0800 590 542. *The Consumer Price Index is an average of the amount that the prices of a number of household products and services have risen by.

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Warm Homes Hub Did you know that as a Bassetlaw tenant, you can benefit from a range of free financial support services through the Warm Homes Hub. This includes: • a professional benefit check service to help you discover the financial support you are eligible for • help towards the cost of gas, electricity and water bills with one-off vouchers or discounts • support with finding the best energy tariff for your pocket Ms P (pictured) who received support from the Warm Homes Hub team said: “I got into debt with

To enquire about any of the Warm Homes Hub services, call 0115 985 3000 or complete an online enquiry form.

Getting things right for you If you think that Bassetlaw District Council’s Housing Service has done something wrong, we want to know about it so we can address the issue, provide an explanation and make sure we improve things for the future.

Full details of how you can make a Service Request or a Formal Complaint can be found in the ‘Make a Complaint’ section of www.bassetlaw.gov.uk where you’ll also find information about the Housing Ombudsman and contact details.

We want to deal with matters professionally and proportionately by the most appropriate route to achieve the right outcome. You can also be reassured that any issues raised will be treated in confidence and without prejudice.

You can also request this information by calling our Customer Services Team on 0800 590 542 or by email at customer.services@bassetlaw.gov.uk who will advise and guide you through the process.

Before you make a Formal Complaint, your issue may be dealt with as a Service Issue. You can raise this by getting in touch with our Customer Services Team in the first instance to see if the matter can be easily and quickly resolved. Our Complaints Policy and Procedure has also been designed to make things as easy as possible for you to make a complaint.

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Six key areas of safety

everything and I really didn’t know where to turn. I suffer from anxiety, and I feel a weight has been lifted off me. Thank you!”

You can also find more information about the Housing Ombudsman, and how you can progress any complaints with the support of a Designated Person, who can be: a Bassetlaw District Councillor, a Member of Parliament, or a Member of a Tenant Panel, by visiting www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk emailing: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk or by calling 0300 111 3000.

When it comes to the safety of your home, we take things extremely seriously and have put in place regular checks and inspections in six key areas. All of these areas come under the term ‘compliance’ and they include: Gas and Carbon Monoxide, Electrical, Fire, Water, Asbestos, and Lifts, Access and Equipment. In this issue we want to give you some more information about just three areas and what we do to keep your home safe to live in. The information below highlights the measures that we take to ensure that we comply with regulations and uphold the highest possible safety standards. We are also responsible for the work of companies who carry out these checks on our behalf, so we monitor their performance and keep records of the work that has been carried out. All of these inspections will be made by appointment, all of the workers will carry identification and you can call us to check the identity of anyone who visits your home.

Asbestos We know the types of properties, and areas of properties such as Communal Areas of flats, that may contain materials that have asbestos in them. In the majority of cases we will remove all asbestos while the property is empty or while work is taking place.

This includes conducting surveys prior to installing things like bathrooms, kitchen and re-roofing properties. These are done by specialist companies who work on our behalf. We also ask companies to carry out audits of these surveys and any work that is done to ensure that they meet safety standards.

Water When it comes to water safety, we will carry out an inspection of your home every five years. We began by identifying high and medium risk areas and have completed the majority of these homes. We are now working on lower risk properties. We will carry out a Water Risk Assessment in Hot and Cold water systems, including water tanks, taps, wastepipes and outside taps, to try and detect any contaminations, such as Legionella. In the vast majority of cases, no contaminates are found. We will also provide you with advice on keeping taps and wastepipes clean and scale free.

Lifts, Access and Equipment There are around 300 properties that have some form of lifting equipment in them, such as stair lifts and hoists, in addition to buildings that have passenger or platform lifts. Each year we will inspect this equipment and carry out any repairs that are needed to ensure that it is safe to use.

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Be responsible with rubbish As the latest national lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease, it seems like many of us have spent this time having a good clear out!

check that they are a licenced waste carrier and ask to see their documentation, request an invoice or receipt and make a note of the vehicle registration number.

If this sounds familiar and you’ve given your loft, garage or shed a spring clean, please make sure that you dispose of your waste in a responsible way.

Please remember that a reputable collector will happily provide you with this information! If they don’t, your waste could be dumped somewhere in Bassetlaw and if the waste is traced back to you, you could face an unlimited fine or prosecution.

There are plenty of options available and if you are happy to do this yourself, you can take your waste to one of the Household Recycling Centres in Worksop or Retford, which are currently open between 8am and 8pm every day.

Recycle your garden waste Now that spring has arrived, so has the time to get out into your garden and spruce up your back yard. Bassetlaw District Council’s Garden Waste Collection Service can help with the regular outdoor chores by taking away your Garden Waste for just £32 per season. The service started at the beginning of March, but if you’ve not signed up yet, don’t worry, there’s still time to subscribe and receive fortnightly collections until the end of November.

The things you can recycle in your brown bin include grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, leaves, small branches and twigs, dead plants, weeds and cut flowers. Not only will you be saving yourself a trip to the tip, but you’ll also be helping to recycle more waste in our district.

If you can’t take your waste to the tip, you can book a Bulky Waste Collection through Bassetlaw District Council. Collections start at £13 for the first item and then £9.50 for each additional item. You can find more information on what can be collected by visiting www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/bulkywaste If you want to pay someone privately to take away your waste, please remember that it’s still your legal duty to ensure it is disposed of responsibly. Always

Fly-tipping is a crime and there is no excuse or justification for it and a large proportion of fly-tipping takes place because those responsible don’t want to pay for the waste to be disposed of correctly. You can also do your bit to tackle fly-tipping by reporting it to us online or over the phone. If you see anyone fly-tipping or witness any suspicious activity, please report this to us along with any details you have. You can fill in our online form on our website at www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/recycling-and-waste/flytipping or call our Environmental Health Team on 01909 533 533.

You can find more information on this service, sign-up, or re-subscribe by visiting our website at www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/gardenwaste or you can call 01909 535 146.

Sign up to our E-Newsletter Bassetlaw District Council has launched a brand new FREE e-newsletter where subscribers can keep up to date with all of the latest news, information, events and services provided by the Council.

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The newsletter is sent direct to your email inbox on a regular basis and if you would like to sign-up, simply visit www.bassetlaw.gov.uk and click on the ‘Sign Up To Newsletter’ button at the top of the page.

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New Facilities for Award-Winning Park

Read Across

Kids Club

If you can solve our Read Across you could win a £20 Love2Shop voucher. Answer the 10 different questions down and then read across the shaded squares to reveal a well known sportsman.

If you can complete our Kids Club puzzle, you could win a £20 Love2Shop voucher and a goody bag.

Which countries are these four flags from?

Facilities at the award-winning Canch Park in Worksop are set to take a major step forward with a brand new refreshments kiosk, toilet and Changing Places. Work began on the brand new Bassetlaw District Council facility in March and the building will include a refreshments kiosk and outdoor seating, a Changing Places facility, a disabled toilet, a baby change and parent WC in addition to four unisex toilets. It will be situated opposite the splash pool, within an area of the sensory garden. Improving the public facilities at the Canch, which has achieved Green Flag status seven years in a row, has been high on the Council’s agenda for a number of years after the project was given the go ahead in April last year.

Once you have identified all our flags, tell us your name, age, where you live and a phone number. Then, follow the instructions at the bottom of the page.

Craig Taylor, Head of Neighbourhood Services at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “The Canch and Memorial Gardens are an extremely popular destination for residents and visitors to Bassetlaw, and this new addition will improve their experience even more.” The project is expected to be completed by early September 2021.

Mayflower sails into Kings’ Park A new piece of play equipment inspired by Bassetlaw’s links to the Mayflower, the ship that transported Pilgrims from Plymouth to America in 1620, has arrived at Retford’s award-winning Kings’ Park. The new equipment has a variety of features including slides, nets, game and search panels, climbing walls, stepping platforms and talk tubes to encourage and support children’s learning and development. Craig Taylor, Head of Neighbourhood Services at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “The new apparatus has many features which encourage children’s learning and communication, as well as inclusive and accessible features such

as wheelchair friendly ramps to allow children the opportunity to play and learn cooperatively together – it will be a welcome addition to Retford’s award-winning park.” The bespoke equipment has been designed to appeal to children aged between 3 and 14 years old and has replaced the old timber multi-play unit.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Colchester’s county Wartime PM Third month Bird and type of crossing Bah ___! Scrooge’s catchphrase Korean martial art Former Cuban leader, Fidel ___ Handheld lighting device Napoleon’s battle Eighth Zodiac sign

Fill in your details and follow the entry instructions:

Name:

Age:

Where you live: Telephone: Please send all competition entries to: Customer Services, Carlton Forest House, Hundred Acre Lane, Worksop, Notts S81 0TS

Or email a photo or scan of the entry to: customer.services@bassetlaw.gov.uk Closing date for all entries is 10th September 2021.

Name: Address: Telephone: Bassetlaw District Council will not store your personal data supplied as part of any competition entry and will only use it for the purpose of determining a competition winner. Once a winner has been drawn, all data will be deleted.

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Flag it up!

Winners Congratulations to Cshaedi Adams and Joe Rhodes, both from Worksop who were our lucky winners from Issue 48.

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0800 590 542 www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/housing customer.services@bassetlaw.gov.uk Text us on 07860 021 511 Find us on Facebook - BassetlawDCHousing Twitter @BassetlawDC Visit us at: Retford Office 17B The Square, Retford, DN22 6DB Worksop Office Queen’s Buildings, Potter Street, Worksop, S80 2AH Carlton Forest House Hundred Acre Lane, Worksop, S81 0TS All offices are open on an appointment only basis.

If you need any help communicating with us or understanding any of our documents, please contact us on 0800 590 542.