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Issue 33 • Autumn 2016
WELCOME & CONTENTS
A warm welcome to our readers Hello and welcome to the autumn edition of cchatzone.
Contents Welcome & Contents
Resident Spotlight 4 Website Communities & Good Causes
We have almost reached the end of a busy year, which has seen us make changes to how we communicate with you and how we deliver our services. Resident involvement has been paramount in achieving these changes, and I would like to thank the residents who have given up their time to engage with us. In this edition, we explore the launch of our new website, teach you how to whip up a tasty curry and pay tribute to our late President, Phyllis Baugh. January 2017 marks CCHAâ€™s 50th birthday, and we are looking for long standing residents to contribute to our campaign throughout 2017. If you would like to get involved with this, please get in touch. If you have any comments, suggestions or stories for future editions of cchatzone, please email: email@example.com
Communications & Marketing Officer
To report a repair, call Mears on: 0800 056 7068
For gas emergencies, call Smith & Byford on: 0800 169 7703
Call CCHA FREE on: 0800 054 6710 Visit: www.ccha.biz 2
cchatzone autumn 2016
SAVE THE DATE
27th April 2017 Residentsâ€™ Open Day
Check Out Croydon with us! Croydon Business Improvement District is giving local people one more reason to visit Croydon town centre.
The Check Out Croydon loyalty card, which is completely free, offers a range of discounts in restaurants, bars, gyms, shops and many other establishments. Visit our Head Office to claim your loyalty card. Visit www.checkoutcroydon.com to register for and activate your card.
Open Doors with new digital skills Residents can still book places on the final two Open Doors digital skills workshops of the year. Topics and dates are as follows: Social Media – Friday 11th November 2016 Money Saving – Friday 9th December 2016 Last year, we had over 30 residents attend, with 88% saying they found the course to be excellent. Learners will have the opportunity to obtain a City and Guilds qualification, and all attendees are entered into our prize draw to win a tablet. To find out more or to book your place, call Matt Piner on: 020 8633 8736 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Get online: residents learn valuable new skills
New Fire Safety Standards see changes to schemes
Five tips to make Christmas easier
CCHA’s Fire Safety Standards Policy states that fire extinguishers must be removed from communal areas in our properties as staff and residents are not properly trained to use them.
Christmas is a hard time for everyone: trying to get the right presents, buying the best food, attending parties and all the while keeping up with your rent. What do you do? Here are five tips to make Christmas easier:
We may provide schemes with offices or reception areas and permanent members of staff with fire extinguishers as staff will have received the appropriate training. The policy also states that fire extinguishers will be provided in high-risk areas such as: • Lift motor rooms • Plant rooms (i.e. boiler rooms) • Communal kitchens • Offices All fire extinguishers will conform to BS EN3 and will be red in colour with an indicator confirming the type of extinguisher. You can find the Fire Safety Policy in the noticeboards in the communal area of your scheme.
1. Plan ahead – buy presents throughout the year 2. Budget – put money aside each week to make the season easier: ask CCHA about credit unions 3. Be resourceful – make your own gifts 4. Sell unwanted items – you can do this at boot sales, on EBay and Gumtree etc 5. Have a swap party – invite neighbours and friends to swap toys, clothes and unwanted gifts. Your rent is a priority: make sure you can pay on time. cchatzone autumn 2016
Roots firmly planted: residents take the lead in improving their community Residents in the Valley Park area have come together as part of a project to utilise vacant land for the benefit of those in the community. The Unique Roots and Healthy Living Spaces initiative started in 2013, when Pamela Cumberbatch, a CCHA resident, noticed the need for more healthbased activities in the area. Pamela said: “We know that many of our children are bored, our elders isolated and our health is suffering. “There are few things on the estate for residents to do together, yet there is a lot of talent, from gardeners to sports instructors to people who just want to offer support.” In 2014, residents began discussing the possibility of transforming a green space outside a local community centre and an area of wasteland opposite into useable spaces. The idea gained support from the community centre, the GP surgery based inside the community
centre, the local council and three housing associations with properties on the estate. The green space has since become a picnic area and allotment, where the Unique Roots and Healthy Living Spaces initiative is developing a community-led foodgrowing project with help from skilled local people. It is hoped that this will offer residents the opportunity to learn how to produce their own food, share healthy eating tips, overcome isolation and develop community cohesion. The next step for the Unique Roots and Healthy Living Spaces initiative is to develop a gym and play area where the wasteland opposite the community centre currently sits. Having raised £10,000 towards this part of the project through
Community focus: residents have been growing their own food
the Tesco Bags of Help Grants Programme, Pamela is optimistic about bringing the ambitions of the community to life. She said: “I am a people person and am passionate about creating opportunities for us to come together to build our own vision. “This is a great opportunity to create something of real value.” If you live in the Valley Park area and would like to get involved, please contact Pamela at email@example.com
High fives all around A CCHA resident has experienced the full benefit of taking part in our High-5 Employability Skills programme this summer. Following the programme, Mamie has managed to secure full-time employment as a chef at one of London’s busiest airports. After attending two of the class-based sessions at our head office, we organised for her to visit Elevating Success, who offered her some additional support ahead of her job interview. Mamie, who has now been in her new role since late July, believes the programme has played a key role in her success. She said: “The High-5 Employability Skills programme was very useful. “The workshops helped me with the job interview and they helped arrange my CV too. Success: Mamie gained employment following the programme
cchatzone autumn 2016
“I am enjoying my new job, and I would say to all residents to participate in any programme opportunity because it can open doors for us.”
New CCHA website goes live We are very pleased to announce that our new website is now available at www.ccha.biz, to view and use at your leisure. As you are aware, we have been working hard over the last few months to ensure the new website is easy to navigate, has relevant online features and has content you want to read about. This project has been a collaborative effort between staff, website designers and our ‘website focus group’, and we would like to thank all involved for their commitment. Read more about our new website below.
What features are now on the website?
• • • • • • •
On the new website, you can: View your rent balance Apply for job opportunities View and book events Read our leaflets and newsletter View an extensive FAQs section to find the answers you need Access it easily via your mobile phone and tablet Access advice and help with benefits
How have you made sure the new website is resident-friendly?
To ensure the new website directly benefits you, our residents, we enlisted the help of two residents who formed the website focus group. The website focus group were not only involved in the planning of content, navigation and design, but were also on hand to carry out essential testing before its launch.
How can I tell you what I think of the new website?
We welcome any comments or suggestions for the future. Let us know what you think by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
New rent portal We have been working tirelessly with our partners to create a new web portal that allows residents to access their rent account to check their rent balance and update the information we hold. Each user will require a username, password and email address to gain access to the portal. The system is protected to ensure information is kept confidential. If you are interested in using the portal, please get in touch. cchatzone autumn 2016
COMMUNITIES & GOOD CAUSES
The fruits of the President’s Fund A resident at one of our supported schemes has been putting his green fingers to the test with help from our President’s Fund. Steven, a self-taught gardener, was given funding in 2014 to start growing fruit and vegetables for himself and other residents at the property. Since then, his little garden has flourished, and he already has plans to expand it. He said: “It’s very good; I’ve been doing it for a while now and really enjoy it. “I’d like to apply for funding to do more, maybe even a greenhouse with some flowers and tomatoes.” We first met Steven through an initiative to better acquaint ourselves with supported residents. Soon after, we had a meeting with Groundworks and commissioned a grow-your-own vegetable programme, which saw a Groundworks community gardener visit the scheme to hold workshops on growing and caring for plants. The garden currently boasts a raised bed, small green house, water butt and tool store, as well as some small trees, which were planted this summer. Steven added: “Being out in the sun just makes me happy. “The other residents are pleased with it and have been enjoying spending more time in the garden as a result.” For more information about applying for funding through the President’s Fund, please contact Matt Piner on: 020 8633 8736 or email: email@example.com
Growing fast: Steven hopes to add to his garden
Causes we are supporting in 2016 Every year, we support a number of causes affecting our members of staff and residents. Here are some of the causes we will be supporting for the remainder of the year.
cchatzone autumn 2016
COMMUNITIES & GOOD CAUSES
Auntie Ethel’s hearty winter curry The colder months of the year are now upon us, and we know there is nothing better to warm you up than a good hot meal. We enlisted the help of CCHA resident and dab hand in the kitchen, Ethel, who showed us how to make a delicious curry. Get your aprons on, follow the steps below and post pictures of your curries on our Facebook page (details on page 10).
Ingredients: Chicken pieces (750g) Stock from chicken (1 cup) Potatoes (2 large) Onion (1 large) Pepper (1 large)
Family tradition: Ethel’s curry recipe has been passed down the generations
Mixed vegetables (200g) Chopped tomatoes (1 can) Instructions:
Turmeric (1 tsp)
• Par-boil chicken pieces for 15 minutes.
Garlic powder (2 tsp) Curry powder (3 tsp)
• Peel and cut potatoes and par-boil for 5 minutes.
Olive oil (3 tsp) Coriander (to garnish) Salt to taste
Simple: Ethel’s curry doesn’t require fancy ingredients
• Pour oil into a large pan and bring to a light simmer, then add chopped onions and peppers. • Once onions and peppers are sautéed, add chicken and stir, allowing this to simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. • Add turmeric, garlic powder, curry powder and salt. Stir well. • Add potatoes and can of chopped tomatoes, allowing this to simmer for 5 minutes whilst gently stirring. • Add chicken stock and mixed vegetables, allowing this to simmer for 3 minutes. • Garnish with chopped coriander.
Bon appétit: ready to plate up and enjoy
cchatzone autumn 2016
Phyllis Baugh: a sad goodbye This year has seen the loss of one of CCHA’s most influential figures throughout our 50-year history. Phyllis Baugh, our President, passed away in May at the age of 94, after over 45 years of dedication to the organisation. Tracy Cullen, Chief Executive of CCHA, will remember Phyllis for her warm personality and continued commitment to the community. “Phyllis was intelligent and funny, but most of all, she was kind. “She offered her services not only to us, but to many of Croydon’s residents through her work with the community. “She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”
Phyllis witnessed CCHA pass the 500 and 1,000 homes marks over the years and was thrilled to see the opening of a scheme named after her last October. Tracy said: “I’d known Phyllis since 2008, and she has always been a constant supporter of the work we have done at CCHA. “She loved that we continued to provide more homes for the community and was so proud to see her name on one of our schemes last year.” 8
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Constant supporter: Phyllis gave 45 years of dedication to the organisation
Phyllis first became associated with CCHA in the 1970s, whilst she was manager of the Croydon Citizens Advice Bureau, where a lack of quality housing was one of the most common issues presented. She joined CCHA’s Committee of Management in 1970, became Chair of the Housing Management Committee in 1986 and took over as President in 2001, after Wilfred Wood, who was also Bishop of Croydon, stepped down.
Speaking in 2014, Phyllis was keen to see the work of the organisation continue, as a lack affordable housing remains a problem. She said: “We are all very proud of our achievements and hope there will be many more to come. “Despite our efforts and those of other associations, we still face very serious housing problems. “There is still so very much to do.”
Veteran CCHA resident joins the Board Last month, CCHA’s newest Board member was welcomed into the fold. Following the departures of Leah Ellis and Clara Danso earlier in the year, Jacqui Osmond has filled one of the resident Board member vacancies. She is a primary school teacher from South London with a keen interest in tennis, particularly when Andy Murray is playing. Having been a CCHA resident for nearly 20 years, she knows how important it is for residents to feel like their views are considered. “It’s really important to put residents’ voices forward. “I am hoping to provide the necessary representation and really look forward to getting as involved as possible.”
To help get you thinking, here are a few ideas: 1 As a resident Board member, how will you ensure you gain a true representation from the wider group of residents when addressing issues at Board level? 2 As a resident of nearly 20 years, what noticeable positive changes have you seen implemented over the years and what would you like to see changed? 3 How will you ensure residents are kept informed about changes and decisions that are made at Board level?
With this in mind, we have set up an email address for Jacqui: firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails will go directly to Jacqui and Tracy Cullen, our Chief Executive, for any resident to ask questions. Jacqui Osmond: hopes to provide a voice for residents
CCHA welcome new estate services contractor Lotus Landscapes (part of VPS) took over as our estate services contractor on 1st October 2016. They have replaced Wealdens in delivering communal cleaning and gardening services across our schemes. The company has many years of experience working alongside housing associations and was appointed after a full review of this service. The review was designed to ensure efficiency, overall value for money and meet our expectations on quality.
David Morgan, a member of our Resident Scrutiny Panel who has been in the landscaping and horticulture business since the 1970s, was involved in the selection process.
We invited 50 residents to participate in a consultation exercise to help us identify areas of priority and potential improvement, and from the feedback received, we have incorporated over 20 suggestions for improvement within the new contract. One suggestion related to more supervision and monitoring of the window cleaning service.
He said: “The responses Lotus gave to our questions were good and positive: they appeared to really know what they were talking about.
If you have any feedback regarding the new appointment or the management of our estates, please email: email@example.com
“The contract itself really clarifies what services they offer, which has been an issue in the past.” cchatzone autumn 2016
An open letter from a website focus group member From start to finish, residents were involved in the creation and testing process for the new website. We formed a ‘website focus group’, which met monthly and ensured that resident opinion was considered every step of the way. Below, you can read an extract from a letter written by website focus group member, John, about his experience being part of the project. Why did I become involved in the website focus group? Most people would say it was the lure of a free tablet. True, that is an incentive, but for me it was about being able to say, “at least I tried and contributed to something that affects us as residents”. As a relatively new CCHA resident, I suppose I am fresh and open to new ideas and different approaches. I find I am still enthusiastic about positive change. I have enjoyed my time meeting and working with everyone at the focus group sessions. You can tell everyone involved is enthusiastic and keen to succeed with this project, and we will!
Important role: residents were involved throughout the process
Have you downloaded our repairs app yet? Reporting repairs has never been easier since the introduction of our new app. The ‘MyCCHA’ app, which is downloadable on smartphones and tablets, allows residents to report repairs from anywhere, at any time. If you want to download the app, visit iTunes or the Google Play Store.
Connect with us on social media for latest updates Our social media pages are the first places you will find information on our news and events. ‘Like’ us on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to stay in the loop.
Follow us on Twitter: @OfficialCCHA
Find us on Facebook: /cchahousing Easy: a quicker way to report repairs
cchatzone autumn 2016
STAR Survey: what’s happened and what’s coming up? All information displayed below has happened or will happen as a direct result of the feedback you gave us in the last STAR Survey.
The STAR Survey showed that satisfaction with ease of getting hold of the right person had dropped to 66%.
We have produced new magnets with the contact numbers for Mears and Smith & Byford, so you know who to call for what. These are available at any of our events or if you visit our head office.
The STAR Survey showed that satisfaction around service charges and understanding them had dropped to 67%.
We have re-written and issued the service charge guidance to make it clearer.
Residents at Bedser Close had requested a new garden shed through the President’s Fund.
“I wanted to say thank you for the new garden shed at Bedser Close. I really appreciate you listening to my request and taking the time and resources to action it. It will be very useful to myself and the other residents who share the communal area.” Bedser Close resident
IN THE PIPELINE… The STAR Survey showed that satisfaction around keeping residents informed had dropped to 81%.
We have been promoting the MyCCHA repairs app at all events and promoting our Handyperson service at the relevant older persons schemes.
The STAR Survey showed that satisfaction with areas in which residents in supported housing lived had dropped by 7% since 2013.
We have been carrying out further investigation into our supported schemes as to why residents in certain areas were less satisfied.
The STAR Survey showed that satisfaction for CCHA listening to views of residents was 71%.
We will soon be re-launching how we ask for feedback through surveying.
Important gas servicing information CCHA is responsible for ensuring that all domestic gas boilers are serviced annually, and residents have a responsibility to ensure we are given access to allow Smith & Byford to attend and carry out the annual gas safety inspection. In the event that a boiler service is not carried out annually due to lack of access, we may instruct solicitors to take legal action to ensure we are granted access. We have an excellent track record in our proactive approach in this area as we take your safety very seriously. In the unlikely event that you do not provide access, you will receive a notification of legal proceedings as a last resort in order to gain access to your home. At this point, we would encourage you to liaise with the CCHA Property Services Team or Smith & Byford as soon as possible. If you would like more information regarding the Gas Non-Access process, please contact us.
Annually: we aim to service all gas boilers once a year
cchatzone autumn 2016
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Are you a photography maestro in the making? We want you to send us the most interesting, colourful autumn pictures you have taken this year. Check out the pictures on the right of the page to see what weâ€™re looking for. All of your autumn pictures should be sent to Louis Scorza, CCHA, 6th Floor Norfolk House, Wellesley Road, Croydon, CR0 1LH. If you would like a freepost envelope, please contact Louis Scorza on: 020 8633 8731, or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org Closing date: 17th December 2016
Whoever takes the best picture will win a brand new polaroid camera and film packs!
enter to a brand new polaroid camera CROYDON CHURCHES HOUSING ASSOCIATION LTD 6th Floor, Norfolk House, Wellesley Road, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 1LH FREEPHONE: 0800 054 6710 tel: 020 8680 7532 fax: 020 8688 5316 email: customers @ ccha.biz
Visit us online: www.ccha.biz
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cchatzone autumn 2016
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We are pleased to announce our autumn edition of cchatzone, our resident newsletter.