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Winter 2010/11 Issue 36

sgwrs News and views for residents of

Bro Myrddin Housing Association

Looking after your pets in the cold Page 4

Recipes to warm you and your family Page 5

Competitions to win you money Page 8

Be prepared for winter Page 3

In this issue l

4 l

Fabulous, quick, easy and warming recipes


Support that’s available Forum latest

5 6





l l


Looking after your pets this winter

Home improvements Development update What’s on Book review and photo competitions

How to get in touch Phone: 01267 232714 Text:

07797 801628


Cover image: © Leon Rafael |

Write to: Bro Myrddin Housing Association, Cillefwr Industrial Estate, Johnstown, Carmarthen SA31 3RB

Sgwrs can be provided in Large print, Braille, audio or your preferred language on request. Please call us on 01267 232714. Sgwrs is published by: Bro Myrddin Housing Association Ltd Designed and produced by: Andrew Buchanan Communications


Sgwrs Winter 2010/11

Welcome to your warm and

cosy winter Sgwrs! Hello and Welcome to

your winter issue of Sgwrs. In this edition we have a variety of information and news for you, ranging from general housing issues and advice to quick and easy recipies to keep you warm during the cold winter nights. You will also find enclosed two copies of Quids In! magazine, which is full of tips on spending, saving, borrowing and earning. We suggest you have a good read of the magazine, as it has been designed to provide you with top tips and advice to help you make your money go further. If you have any money saving ideas you would like to share with other




readers, you can send them to us or directly to Quids In! We are constantly trying to improve Sgwrs so that you can get the most out of your newsletter. In this issue we have enclosed a card for you to complete and return to us free of charge if you are interested in becoming more involved in Sgwrs. By completing the card you will be letting us know that you have an interest in Sgwrs, and would like to know more about getting involved. If you would like more information about getting involved in Sgwrs, then please email me at or simply give me a call on 01267 239418. Aled Rees Editor


How to contact the Maintenance team

You can contact the Maintenance team any time during working hours – 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Thursday and 8:30am to 4:00pm on Friday – by calling 01267 232714, then selecting option 2, or Freephone 0800 316 9602.

Emergency numbers


If you have an emergency in your home when we are closed, there are two numbers to ring:

Please note that the office will be closed on the following dates: Friday, 17 December (afternoon only); Friday, 24 December (afternoon only); Monday, 27 December; Tuesday, 28 December; Friday, 31 December (afternoon only); Monday, 3 January Thursday, 31 March

n For GAS emergencies, call Transco on 0800 111999. n For all other out-of-hours emergencies (including gas and oil fired heating system emergencies) call Carmarthenshire County Council’s Careline 01558 824283. Careline is a 24-hour emergency call centre.

Bro Myrddin Housing Association Ltd is a charitable association registered under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act 1965 (23055R) and with Housing for Wales (L069). Competitions: Prize draws and competitions are only open to Bro Myrddin residents. Board members and staff may not enter competitions, unless otherwise stated. Accuracy: We try to make sure that information in Sgwrs is correct, but readers should seek independent advice before relying on any content. We cannot accept responsibility for errors in articles. We reserve the right to edit material sent in. Sgwrs may not be reproduced without prior permission.

d ready winter! d

l Before the winter sets in, it’s time to think about being prepared for the colder weather...



d the


d Is your heating working properly? For gas and oil heating contact Westward on 0845 7023820. For electric and Economy 7 heating contact us on 01267 232714. d To save energy and money, switch off the lights when you leave a room. d If you are thinking of changing energy supplier, do it before the winter starts. the


d Check your tyre pressures are correct and replace tyres if they are worn out.

d Replace worn or split windscreen wipers and check and top up your screen wash. d Check all your lights work correctly. d If you have not had your engine coolant checked, or you have topped the radiator up with tap water, get the strength checked.

Got a e nanc mainte ? Call problem E on us FRE the


d Listen to the weather reports and follow the advice in bad weather. d Try to sweep the snow from your paths regularly to stop it turning into ice. d If you can’t get out to sweep the snow away, don’t worry. The lying snow warns others to be careful.

16 0800 3 9602



With the colder weather approaching, condensation in the home could become a problem. Condensation happens with any activity that adds moisture to the air, such as having a bath or shower, or cooking food. The reason we do not see it in the warmer months is because we usually ventilate our homes more at this time of year – opening windows to let the heat out and fresh air in. In the winter, we tend to keep our windows closed to keep the heat in, but this also keeps in the moist air. When this moist air meets a cooler surface, it creates condensation and can lead to mould appearing. To reduce condensation, let moist air out by opening the bathroom window for a short while after a bath or shower and opening a kitchen window when cooking to let the steam escape. You should also make sure the vents in your walls and windows are not blocked or covered.

© Robert Nystrom |

Sgwrs Winter 2010/11


As any pet owner knows, with winter come mud, mess and mayhem... But aside from mucky paws and slippy walks, winter also brings some genuine dangers that could result in a painful time for your animal, not to mention an unwanted claim on your pet insurance. The biggest and most obvious danger to dogs and cats in winter is cold weather. Pets, especially shorthaired cats and dogs, should be given access to indoor sleeping areas during the coldest months. Many popular dog and cat breeds are not equipped to handle extreme cold weather and can quickly feel the effects of plummeting temperatures if left outside. Cats should be kept inside at night to avoid them encountering any weather-related problems. A cat will survive a night outside in the summer quite easily, but winter is a different story.

Be careful... Materials we use to cope with the cold and ice can also pose a danger to our pets. Antifreeze has a very appealing smell to dogs and there are frequent reports of dogs licking the substance from the floor or from their paws and ingesting it. Antifreeze is extremely poisonous and responsible dog owners should make sure that their

keep your

cats &

safe this

winter pets do not come into contact with the substance. Grit and sand used on the ground to reduce slipping can get lodged between paw pads – both cats and dogs suffer from this problem. Always perform a paw health check when your pets have been outside in the winter. Grit can become compounded between the toes and will cause extreme discomfort if left. When the seasons change, your routine will change, too. But dogs and cats don't understand daylight savings, so make sure you adjust their routine gradually. A disrupted routine is one of the most common causes of canine and feline anxiety, so make sure there are no abrupt changes to what your pet is used to. Gradually adjust their feeding time in the week before the clocks go back so that they aren't left feeling hungry for an hour.

dogs Skin and coat petcare checklist Dogs should be bathed regularly and brushing beforehand is recommended. Don’t wash dogs outside as water from a garden hose is extremely uncomfortable and can make them sick. Cats should have their paws inspected regularly. Ice that has gathered can cause cuts. Inspect every inch of your pet’s skin and coat with your eyes and fingers. Look for abnormalities, such as bites, parasites, injuries, lumps or changes in colour or texture. Dogs that get cold easily should wear coats or sweaters on a walk. You could also cover their feet with booties to protect their pads from salt or chemical de-icers. Wipe off any salt to keep them from licking it off.



Keep your p e warm a ts nd cosy! © Michael Pettigrew |


Sgwrs Winter 2010/11

e Just th o thing t u o keep y warm!

quick and easy



Chunky winter broth

d What you need 2 x 400g tins of tomatoes 4 carrots 2 x 420g mixed beans 175g spinach 1tbsp roast pepper pesto 2 litters of vegetable stock

Š Robert Kneschke |


How to make it Tip the canned tomatoes into a saucepan along with the stock, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and throw in the carrots. Gently simmer the soup until the carrots are cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir in the beans and spinach and heat until the spinach has wilted. Spoon in the pesto and gently mix into the soup. Serve with some crusty bread.

Mulled wine cocktail What you need

Sausages and winter mash

100g light mascavado sugar, 1 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 1 lemon, 2 clementines, 150ml Cointreau, 750ml light red wine

What you need

How to make it

4 sausages, 2 parsnips, 3 medium potatoes, 175g brussels sprouts, 4 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Put the muscovado sugar in a pan with the star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves and 150ml water. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 2 mins, then pour into a large jug and leave to cool. Add the lemon and clementines, both thinly sliced, to the jug along with the Cointreau and the red wine. Stir well, then cover and chill for at least 2 hrs, or overnight if you can. Serve chilled or over ice, with a twist of orange zest and a star anise.

How to make it Grill the sausages for 10-12 mins, turning frequently. Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the parsnips and potatoes, then cook in boiling salted water for about 10 mins. Shred sprouts, add to the pan for the last 2-3 mins and cook until all the vegetables are tender. Drain and mash the vegetables, then beat in the milk and mustard with salt and pepper. Serve with the sausages.

Sgwrs Winter 2010/11



a little can go a

Floating Support is a service that provides housing related support to vulnerable adults (over 16) to enable them to maintain their independence in their own home. Floating support services will generally be short term (less than two years) and will have the flexibility to support a person wherever they live – as distinct from accommodation-based services, where support is tied to particular accommodation. This kind of support service helps the individual to become more independent, and may mean that they can continue to live independently at home when without support it would be difficult to do so. Housing related support might include: Setting up and maintaining a home or tenancy; managing finances and benefit claims; developing independent living skills; gaining access to other services; help to make sure that accommodation is safe and secure. Floating Support services are available from: n Hafan Cymru n Llanelli Women’s Aid n The Wallich n Family Housing n Gwalia Care & Support n Carmarthen Womens Aid n Royal National Institute for the n British Red Cross Deaf n Aids Trust Cymru n Mind Befriending n Cartrefi Cymru If you are interested, or would like further information and advice on this matter, then please contact your housing officer.

Forum secures grant Bro Myrddin’s Residents’ Forum has been successful in their application to the Welsh Assembly Government for a Tenant Empowerment Grant to develop their skills to play an active part in the delivery of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. Their focus will be on the following issues: n Developing a best practice model for engaging with residents throughout the WHQS works. n Jointly developing a specification that will set out tenant choice in the works to be undertaken. n Looking at how residents can become more involved in the selection of contractors. n Developing a role for residents in monitoring the quality of the work completed. The Residents’ Forum has agreed that four of their members will form a working group to progress this work with Bro Myrddin representatives.


Sgwrs Winter 2010/11



As from January 2011 a scheme will be available providing loans, savings accounts, basic bank accounts and advice for local people. Offering affordable loans which are a cost effective alternative where a Bank or Building Society will not help.

Is it for you? Moneyline Cymru is a not for profit organisation, where all income is reinvested in the company to help more people. Loan repayments are collected directly from your bank account and, as there are no collectors to pay, costs are kept down. As long as you can provide two forms of identification you will usually have help to open a bank account too if you do not already have one. Further information will be available when the scheme starts early next year and we will make sure this is passed on to you as soon as we can.

© Ji í Kábele |

long way

l As part of Bro Myrddin’s programme of improvements to its homes and its commitment to deliver the Welsh Housing Quality Standard, the next three years investment has been agreed.

continuing to

We’re k eep i n g up the quality !

Progress at Heol Llanelli

invest in

your homes

In conjunction with the Residents’ Forum working party, which is looking at resident consultation, detailed programmes of work delivered to a high standard can now be established to meet residents’ needs. The overall budget for ‘planned maintenance’ is likely to be around £300,000 per year. This is the money the Association has to spend on improvement work. Any balance is used to cover unknown items or emergency planned works which may arise during the year.


Kitchens: The money allows for the full replacement of a kitchen or the replacement of kitchen doors and drawers where the unit frames are in good condition. Bathrooms: This work will involve the


replacement of bathrooms or the installation of a shower and tiling.

Heating: This covers either the replacement of a boiler or the full installation of a new system in a property that previously did not have gas. Windows and doors: Money here is used to replace any timber, metal or single glazed windows and doors. The work that needs to be carried out first is to be established over the next four months for year one and based on the results of our stock condition survey which takes account of all Bro Myrddin’s properties. For each and every contract, residents will be consulted and kept informed of the works to be undertaken and, where possible, given a choice of finishes. Once the work programmes are finalised – which we hope will be by February 2011 – officers will begin contacting residents to start the consultation process.

Two four bedroom family houses being built in Pontyates with funding from the Welsh Assembly Government are progressing well and will be ready for occupation in early February 2011. In conjunction with the developer, Sauro Homes, we have been discussing with the prospective residents their choice of finishes for the kitchens and bathrooms.

What we’re spending on home improvements Year


Bathrooms Heating

Windows and doors




















Asbestos survey: Following our re-survey to identify asbestos in communal areas, we have now begun to survey homes for asbestos. The first phase will be between December and March and includes around 120 homes. The focus will initially be on homes built before 2000, after which it was illegal to use asbestos in a domestic building. Don’t forget that there could be asbestos in

materials such as vinyl floor tiles and artex, so if you are planning work which might disturb these, please contact us beforehand. The company carrying out the work is Life Environmental and they will be contacting residents to arrange a convenient date and time to visit. Please make every effort to arrange access as these surveys are very important.

Sgwrs Winter 2010/11


l Three great books to read this winter, curled up with a nice hot drink! Read


one of them – or choose your own – then write and tell us about it. The best review received by 1st February will win a £10 Waterstone’s gift voucher.

ideas for a


day out...

15 December: Lessons and Carols, St Mary’s Church, Kidwelly. A traditional Carol Service with contributions from local children. 01554 890203 16 December: Carols at the Garden, National Botanic Garden of Wales. With musical accompaniment. 01558 668768 17 December: Taste St. Clears, Food & Craft Market. St Clears Town Centre. 01994 232726 18 December: Cor Meibion’s Christmas Concert, Theatr Elli, Llanelli. 0845 22635 10 18-19 December: Santa in his Grotto, National Botanic Garden of Wales. 01558 668768 28 December: Winter Wonderland, Ffos Las Racecourse & Conference Centre First Race: 12:55pm. Last Race: 3:50pm. 01554 811092 For more information, please visit

Congratulations! Congratulations to Mrs Susan Davidson of Whitland who won the Summer Anagram Competition and the cash prize of £25.


Sgwrs Winter 2010/11

£10 review d

share your pleasure by writing a book

The Family by Martina Cole Amazon: £9.49

Devastatingly powerful and utterly unforgettable, The Family will hook you in from the very first page. To Phillip Murphy, family is everything. Christine has always understood this about her husband. But there is another side to Phillip, and it's a side he never wanted his wife to see. Though even if she did, could she do anything but stand by him? Because Phillip has rules, and he expects loyalty from his nearest and dearest.

Angel by L A Weatherly Amazon: £4.26

L A Weatherly has reinvented the angel in this powerful, dark and hugely suspenseful novel. It’s the story of Alex, an angel assassin and it’s his job to rid the world of these despicable creatures.

To Alex, the only good angel is a dead one, until that is, he meets Willow, an angel whom he finds irresistible and he’s falling in love with… This is the first in a compelling and utterly mesmerising paranormal romance trilogy from a writer to watch.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton Amazon: £8.49 The Distant Hours – a bewitching tale of family secrets and betrayal. Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close but, when a long lost letter arrives with the return address of Millderhurst Castle, Kent, Edie begins to suspect that her mother's emotional distance masks an old secret. Evacuated from London as a 13 year old girl, Edie's mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Millderhurst Castle with the Blythe family. Fifty years later, Edie too is drawn to Millderhurst and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness. Edie begins to unravel her mother's past.

£25 photo competition We invite you to get snapping and to send us up to three pictures with a winter theme. The best will win £25 and feature in the next Sgwrs. Email your entries – each with a brief description – to by 1st February. Rules: Entries must be high resolution, no less than 1mb; pictures may be colour or black and white; any person in the picture must give permission for the photo to be published; original prints cannot be accepted.

Sgwrs Winter 2010  
Sgwrs Winter 2010  

Sgwrs Winter 2010