INSIDE THIS ISSUE: JILLâ€™S WELCOME WALKING IN MONMOUTHSHIRE CLEANING SERVICE RENTING HOMES ACT ETIQUETTE FOR DOG OWNERS AND MUCH MORE twitter.com/mon_housing
Contents & Contact
Inside This Issue...
3 Jill’s Welcome 4 Helping Us to Help You 5 Walking in Monmouth 6 Olympic Poetry 6 Cleaning Service 7 Coffee & Computers 8 Home Grown Veg 9 Dan Y Deri Flower Beds 9 No Place Like Gnome 10 Building for the Future 11 Follow The Bee 11 The Tenants’ Forum 12 MHA Chat Board 12 Making a Difference Awards 2016 13 Renting Homes Act 2015 14 Lifestyles & Smiles
16 Road to Rio 17 Changes to Housing Benefits 18 Jamie’s Home Cooking 19 MHA Sponsorship 19 Good as Gold 20 Performance Indicators 22 Tenant Satisfaction Survey Results 24 Scrutiny Panel 25 Service Testing Team 26 Accredited Training for Tenant Volunteers
27 White Ribbon Campaign 28 Etiquette for Dog Owners 30 Gambling Addiction 31 Puzzles 32 Kids Corner
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Jill’s Welcome Welcome to the 2016 summer edition of Tenant Matters. Firstly I would like to Welcome you to the first exciting tenant matters edition of the year. Since the last edition, I am delighted to have been kept extremely busy with the business of tenants supporting MHA to deliver the best service possible. Tenants have been extremely busy with the Tenants’ Scrutiny Panel continuing to play an active role in helping MHA improve its rent management service and we have been around the County with the Tenants’ Forum. Firstly in Abergavenny back in January, and then onto Calidicot in April. Attendances have been good and the next meeting is scheduled for the 20th July at Llandogo’s Millennium Hall. If you haven’t yet been to a Forum meeting but would like to go and would like more information please don’t hesitate to contact either myself by email jill. firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone contact the Engagement Team 01495 767179.
A dedicated Engagement Team has also been formed so look out for projects and activities in your local area. There really is such a lot going on. Finally don’t forget to enter the competitions at the back of the edition. If you have any views, comments or questions about Tenant Matters then please email me: jill.ray@ monmouthshirehousing.co.uk
Jill Ray Chair of the Tenants’ Forum
Following Housing and Communities Directorate’s restructure, a letter explaining the changes will be sent by the Director, David Morris.
Helping Us to Help You Many of you will be aware that MHA holds information about our tenants as part of our ‘Tenant Insight’ project. We collect this information in order to improve our services and plan them around you and your needs. Without it, it is much harder for us to know what services you need and want. It also allows us to better monitor access to services so we can make sure that we treat all tenants fairly and equally. You will shortly start receiving small surveys every few months from us to collect some information about you. Circumstances change and we want to make sure that the information we hold is right and up to date. We urge you to complete the survey and return it to us. We know that some things we ask are personal, and want to stress that you are under no obligation to provide us with all this information if you feel uncomfortable doing so.
The information you provide to us helps us in a variety of ways. Here are some real examples of how we use the information you provide: • We can identify tenants who may need help with claiming new welfare benefits. • It helps us to understand any money issues our tenants have and to ensure that we are providing the right advice to help them manage their money better. • It helps us to identify tenants who may be eligible for Welsh Water Assist to help pay their water bills. • We can plan where to hold events which will be of interest and meets the needs of the local community. We hope that you will take part in our surveys and help us get a better understanding of you and provide a better service to you and all our tenants. The information you give us is protected by law and will be treated confidential. We will not give it to any other organisation.
Lets Get Walking in Monmouth
Walking â€“ is so simple but did you know taking regular brisk walks helps you stay healthy, live longer and boosts your selfesteem and mood.
Do you have a young family? Why not join our monthly buggy walks! Join us for an hour to explore the beautiful surroundings of Monmouth, led by qualified walk leaders on paths that are buggy and little legs friendly. After the walk the children can play in the Wiggles and Giggles Play group based in Monmouth Leisure Centre, while the adults relax for a chat and a cuppa.
The Engagement Team have linked with the Fit4Life Walking Group in Monmouth and Lets Walk Cymru, which runs every Monday from Monmouth Leisure Centre at 10am for one hour. Anyone can attend and it is suitable for all We are looking for Walk leaders so if you are abilities. interested, get in contact. Details of the next There is no need to sign up or to commit to buggy walk will be on our Facebook page the group, you just turn up and walk when you MHACommunityBuzz, so keep an eye out! can. This is a great opportunity to take the first To find out more about either walks contact steps to improving your health/wellbeing and Jacob on 01495 767179 or jacob.richards@ to socialise. monmouthshirehousing.co.uk
Olympic Poetry at the Lawns Tenants from The Lawns are getting into the spirt of the Olympics by creating poems with children from Undy Primary School to capture times and experiences of when they have made an effort in their lives. The project, aimed at bridging the generation gap and directed by Arts Alive Wales, is called â€˜The Joy of effortâ€™, and will involve tenants of the Lawns and Undy Primary School in Magor. Local artists Emma Beynon and Tessa Wait will be facilitating workshops that will explore, share and celebrate the times when they have felt they have made an effort and turn these into amazing works of art in the form of poster poems and canvas bags.
Cleaning Service MHA are introducing a cleaning service to internal communal areas of blocks of flats as a result of observations and feedback from staff and residents through surveys. Following a pilot, MHA is increasing the standard of properties before they are re-let. When surveyed, new residents of the pilot said that first impressions of the communal areas could be a lot better. Of the residents affected, only 9.32% of residents responded to say they were against the proposal. Together with inspections of the communal areas, recommendations have been made to introduce the service to 101 blocks, with an external window cleaning service for 133 blocks. MHA will now be undertaking a tendering exercise for the service. Residents will be kept informed on the process and be given a start date of the service which is anticipated at the end of October. If you would like further information on the service or want to discuss the proposals, please contact your Neighbourhood Officer on 0345 677 2277 (local call rate) or 01495 761100 (if you are calling from a mobile)
Coffee & Computers Fourteen tenants and residents from Raglan have overcome their fears of computers by completing an accredited computer course, gaining new skills, knowledge and friendships.
Another surprising benefit from taking part is you become a student again so you can receive student discount! This is especially fantastic as all members of the group are over 59 years old.
‘Coffee and Computers’ was set up by Monmouthshire Housing Association in Raglan Baptist Church to provide support and advice on how to use mobile devices, laptops and how to get online. The group has been a huge success. It provides a relaxed, fun opportunity to meet friends, socialise over a cup of tea/ coffee, with plenty of biscuits and learn new skills, all of which will help to improve attendees wellbeing.
The group can now connect to Wi-Fi, know how to use a search engine and how to send emails. Maggie and Brian said: ‘We are really enjoying learning something new every week-and having the old grey cells challenged a little bit!!’
The 15 week course (based over a two hour session once a week) was delivered by Monmouthshire’s Community Learning and everyone completed the entry Level 1 in Basic Skills in Work and Life Certificate.
Sylvia said: ‘I have gained so much more knowledge and confidence. The social side of the course has also been rewarding’. The group are continuing to meet every Monday at Raglan Fellowship Hall with their laptops and tablets over a cuppa. Would you like some help? Its open to everyone - come along! For more information about Coffee and Computers contact Emily Townsend on 01495 767179 or email emily.townsend@ monmouthshirehousing.co.uk twitter.com/mon_housing
Home Grown Veg From Small Spaces By Mo Jackson, Tenant Abergavenny
I have always enjoyed messing about in a garden, sowing seeds, planting shrubs and seeing the results of my labours. So when I moved into a flat, I believed my gardening days were over but luckily, that was not the case. I found other tenants also liked gardening, so we joined forces, to enhance the communal space behind our block of flats.
I decided to take on the challenge and made two raised beds in this area and grow vegetables in them. The beds are six foot long by 3 foot wide and the raised beds are one foot high, and it is surprising what can be grown in such a small space.
I’ve grown Carrots, Broad Beans, Leeks, Cabbages, Potatoes, Beetroot and lots of other different vegetables. I’ve even grown Runner Beans in a couple of old recycling bins. All the A border of plants along the fence was soon planted and gradually enlarged, tubs of flowers produce is shared between the tenants and the were soon adorning the area, and two compost beds are now tended by myself and my next door neighbour. bins were purchased. An area in the corner of the garden was planted out by one neighbour, In the Autumn of 2014, I planted out who found after a couple of years that they wallflowers for a lovely springtime show of could only tend to tubs. colour in 2015. It’s fun to sprinkle a few seeds onto a piece of earth and follow the progress of the seeds until fully grown, and if you can eat the end result then that’s a bonus.
Dan y Deri Flower Beds
Following consultation involving local residents and their Neighbourhood officer, the residents of Dan Y Deri in Abergavenny have had their flower containers replaced. Residents said that they wanted the containers to be robust but also pleasing to the eye and with the help of Monmouthshire Housing and Tom Ward-Jackson from Keep Wales Tidy, the new containers have been installed and are ready for planting. Local Resident Albert McNab said, â€œthe flower containers make the area just look that little bit nicer and they give local children the opportunity to get involved in projects that improve the environment.â€? If you would like to improve the area where you live please contact your Neighbourhood Officer or the Engagement Team tel 01495 767179 or email engagement.team@ monmouthshirehousing.co.uk
Gnome Place Like Home
Mr Gray from Raglan has a very unique garden and is home to a number of garden gnomes. twitter.com/mon_housing
Building for the Future MHA’s commitment to building high-quality, affordable homes in Monmouthshire is perfectly demonstrated by its latest development, Old School Close in Caldicot. A mixture of high-spec one-bed apartments, two and three bedroom houses and a family bungalow, Old School Close is set in quiet, leafy surroundings on the site of the old West End Infants Nursery School on Masefield Road. The development showcases MHA’s vision to create environments where people can have a brilliant quality of life, in areas where they aspire to live and work. But Old School Close is just the tip of the iceberg. MHA has completed the build of 78 high-quality, affordable homes across Monmouthshire in the last 12 months alone. These include 16 apartments and houses at
Bowsher Court in Chepstow and the innovative Skenfrith Court scheme in Abergavenny – developed in partnership with the NHS and Monmouthshire County Council. Another new development in Caldicot, Sandy Lane, has transformed the life of double amputee Mr Roper. Following his operation, Mr Roper was supported by MHA to move into temporary accommodation while the new bungalow was fitted-out with specialist equipment. Mr Roper’s new home has enabled him to live independently again, in a home designed to make his life as easy as possible. With new, affordable homes opening imminently in Shirenewton and Caldicot, and with work set to begin on 35 new homes in Abergavenny, Raglan and Gwehelog in the coming months – MHA is well on course to deliver on its aim to build 540 new, affordable homes for the people of Monmouthshire by 2020.
The Tenants’ Forum #FollowTheBee
0345 677 2277
What’s holding you back from attending the Tenants’ Forum? Because that’s where it’s at!
#FollowTheBee is a new campaign helping MHA tenants find out about the wide range of help that MHA offers.
It’s the quarterly meeting that lets you know what’s happening at MHA and gives you an opportunity to have your say about what going on in your area. It’s also a great chance to learn new things and meet new people. We always welcome new members to the Forum and love to see new faces.
From advice around benefits changes and preparing for Universal Credit, to help finding education, training and work opportunities – the campaign will be buzzing into action this summer.
We always provide transport or reimburse travel costs and child/adult care costs, so don’t let that stop you coming along. Refreshments are also provided at every Tenants’ Forum.
Keep an eye out for the bee across MHA’s newsletters, social media channels and website for all the latest news, events, support and advice available from MHA and other agencies working across Monmouthshire.
If you would like more information or just an informal chat then please contact a member of the Engagement Team on 01495 767179 or email engagement. email@example.com
If you can’t make it to the meeting, but would like to watch the action live, go to our website on the day and click on the link for the live stream.
2016 future meeting dates for your diary are: • Wednesday 3rd August 2016 Llandogo Millennium Hall, Llandogo • Wednesday 9th November 2016 Forum AGM – St Michaels Centre, Abergavenny
Join in the Conversation on the MHA Chat Board Do you have something to say but you’re too busy to come to meetings? Do you want to get involved with us from the comfort of your own home?
Once again, it’s time for the 2016 ‘Making a Difference Awards’ to celebrate the hard work of the amazing volunteers throughout Monmouthshire. Volunteering is the lifeblood of any great community and the people who do it deserve recognition for making their neighbourhoods a great place to live, work and play.
This year we are once again looking for your nominations and the categories are as follows:
Do you want to connect with people to chat about shared interests?
• Community Champion • Achiever of the Year • Neighbour from Heaven • Outstanding Achievement in Tenant Participation • Adult Learner of the Year • Best New Project or Group • Volunteer of the year • Bright young star
Don’t delay join www. mhachat.co.uk today!
Do you know someone that works as a volunteer or volunteer organisation in your community and deserves a great evening out, along with a special thank you for ‘Making a Difference’?
Do you want to find out what benefits come with living in an MHA home?
“The message board is a great for everyone, especially those people who live in isolated locations, it offers individuals a voice in which they can express opinions about anything at all” Emlyn Lunn a tenant and regular messageboard user from Catbrook
All nomination forms need to be completed and returned by Friday the 26th August 2016. Requesting a nomination form is easy, you can email engagement.team@ monmouthshirehousing.co.uk or call 01495 767179 to request a form and free returns envelope, or from the website www. monmouthshirehousing.co.uk
The new law was introduced on 18 January 2016, designed to make it simpler to rent a home in Wales. It also brings in a number of elements that will strengthen tenants’ rights. At the moment the changes are likely to take effect in the second half of 2017. One of the biggest, is the introduction of two new tenancy agreements, which will automatically replace all of our current agreements: • The equivalent of the assured agreement will be modelled on a secure tenancy, which many of our tenants held with Monmouthshire County Council before stock transfer. • Our Starter tenancies will continue to be modelled on assured shorthold tenancy agreements. As will any tenancy agreement demoted because of anti-social behaviour. Other new rights for our tenants: • Following the death of a tenant, a tenancy will be able to be inherited for a second time, instead of just once. Carers will also be given the right to inherit the tenancy. • When one MHA joint tenant ends their tenancy it will no longer automatically end it for the other joint tenant.
What the New Renting Homes Act Means for MHA Tenants
• It will become easier for MHA to target perpetrators of domestic abuse for eviction. So what does this mean in reality? • All of our tenants will have more rights set out in law. • MHA will be required to give new tenancy agreements to everyone (as will every social and private landlord in Wales). • It’s a great opportunity for us to get feedback from our tenants to update the new tenancy agreements, before they’re introduced. The next steps for MHA will be to begin planning on how we will integrate the Act into our services. A key part of this will be carrying out widespread consultation, to give all of our tenants the opportunity to have a say in how the new tenancy agreements are laid-out. All of our tenants will be kept up to date about the Act and what it means for them, as more information becomes available.
In the meantime, for more information contact our Policy and New Initiatives Officer on 01495 761154 or chris.york@ monmouthshirehousing.co.uk twitter.com/mon_housing
...in Caldicot Recently the Lifestyles and Smiles project which was run in Caldicot was tasked with helping mums and their families with nutrition and wellbeing and participants have also had the chance to complete an accredited Jamie Oliver cooking qualification. The course was delivered by Ioan James and this is what he has to say: 14 www.monmouthshirehousing.co.uk
Hi, my name is Ioan James and I’m a qualified Health Coach. Tell us a bit about yourself: I’ve been in the health and wellbeing industry for over ten years, specialising in: posture and injury rehabilitation, cardiac rehabilitation, physique body building, educational workshops on health & nutrition positive (NLP) thinking coaching, class instructing – tai chi, Pilates, boxercise, kettlebells and weight loss programmes.
What do I enjoy most about my profession? I get a great deal of satisfaction helping others to reach their full potential in life, working with them to improve mind and body and to make healthy lifestyle choices that benefit themselves and their families. Tell us how you came to work on Lifestyles and Smiles: During January I was approached by Shane Hatherall who was the Community Investment Officer with MHA at the time, to discuss whether I was interested in being part of a twelve week pilot project called ‘Lifestyle & Smiles’. They were looking for someone, who they felt was the right person to work with a group of mums in Caldicot, helping them to improve their health and wellbeing and that of their families. After reading the project document, I could really see a great opportunity for doing something that I am passionate about which, following a great deal of discussion between Shane and me, he called to offer me the Personal Health Coach position which I eagerly accepted.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have met some wonderful individuals who have so much to offer. Everyone has been committed to making changes in their lifestyle and are appreciative of the direction and encouragement that has been provided through this project. Everyone supports and motivates each other which I have found very inspiring to see, they constantly support each other through the Facebook group and when working out together during really hard at the fitness sessions.
So what about the future? This project has in my opinion been very successful, its helped with all aspects of wellbeing, the mums feel better, are stronger and fitter, they are eating healthier and have gained a great range of skills and knowledge. They will soon be carrying out ‘Health Champions’ training and will all become a great asset and inspiration to their communities. We just need to find a way to do more of it for more people throughout Monmouthshire.
So how’s it all going? I have been working with the mums twice a week for ten weeks now and it’s been exciting to be a part of their journey. They have all worked so hard and are now really seeing the benefits, it has been tough from time to time with the ups and downs of family life, kid’s get I’ll and sometimes life just throws a spanner in the works, but ‘all in all’ it’s been an amazing experience for the mums and for me because of their dedication and commitment. The project is made up of nutrition programming and advice, and they get to complete a ‘Jamie Oliver’ BTEC Level 1 Home Cooking qualification. They get a personalised exercise programme and direct support whether in the gym or if its an outdoor workout. Improvements they have made have been around posture, cardiovascular, upper and lower body strength, mobility, nutrition & eating habits, positive thinking and eliminating negative thoughts.
Delicious salmon fish cakes. twitter.com/mon_housing
Bits & Bobs
The ‘Road to Rio Van’ is a joint initiative between MHA, Newport City Homes and Newport Live and its aim is to get young people involved in sport on the back of the 2016 Rio Olympics. The van recently visited Thornwell Pavilion Fun day on the 11th June, offering the chance to try lots of different sports including Archery, Javelin, Boxing and Volleyball. The weather held off for this amazing event bringing all ages of the community together. It was great to see many young people getting involved, trying new challenges and being inspired ready for the 2016 Olympics.
The Road to Rio van will be attending lots of community events and working with Monmouthshire Youth Service to provide activities throughout the summer – all for free. Have a look at the Rio timetable in our What’s On Calendar, which has been included with the magazine, to see where you can join in!
Are You Affected by the Changes to Housing Benefit?
Are You on Housing Benefit? If the answer is yes, then you could be affected by the changes in the amount of housing benefit or universal credit (housing element) you will get towards your rent. This is based on the introduction of a Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate to those who rent from the social rented sector.
What is Local Housing Allowance? Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the amount currently paid to private renters on housing benefit. The amount you get depends on the type of property you live in, your income, your age and who you live with. Every April these rates are set by Rent Officers in the Welsh Government. In 2015 the UK Government announced that housing benefit (and housing costs within Universal Credit) for social homes will be capped at the LHA rate. This means that the amount you get towards your rent from Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will soon affect tenants who rent from either a private landlord or a social landlord and means that you may need to find the difference to cover the rent.
Who Does This Affect?
0345 677 2277
For Example: Average 1 bed rent in Monmouthshire: £83.00 per week LHA Shared Room Rate: £54.60 per week Amount of housing benefit awarded: £54.60 per week Difference in rent / amount owed by tenant: £28.40 per week
Do you have a spare room? After April 2018, those who are subject to the bedroom tax will find that their housing benefit capped at either LHA rate or the amount after bedroom tax, whichever amount is lower, meaning that tenants will need to cover the difference in their rent. For more help, tips and information about welfare reforms #FollowTheBee! Or for more information, you can visit: • UK Summer budget 2015: www.gov.uk • Rent Officers Wales current Local Housing Allowance rates: www.gov.wales/topics/ housing-and-regeneration/welfare-reform/ rentofficers/publications
Anyone on housing benefit who has signed for • Community Housing Cymru briefing on the impact of capping Housing Benefit a social housing tenancy on or after 1st April at Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates 2016. However, the amount of housing benefit www.chcymru.org.uk/uploads/general/ you get paid to you won’t change until 1st April Impact_of_Capping_Housing_Benefit_at_ 2018. LHA_rates_-_In-depth_briefing_paper__ Single tenants under 35 will get housing April_2016.pdf benefit at a shared room rate. This means that housing benefit may not cover the rent for a 1 bed apartment if the rent is more than £54.60 (the current rate in Monmouthshire). twitter.com/mon_housing
Jamie’s Home Cooking Tenant Matters
MHA tenants and local residents from across the County have benefitted from Jamie Oliver’s approved and accredited Home Cooking course for adults, with lots of tasty recipes and healthy options for the family. The great thing is that the ingredients are low cost and can be adjusted to easily suit numbers.
was with their support that project has been a huge a success.
The participants are really enjoying themselves. All of the parents love taking their learning back to the family and cooking at home with their kids. In total five mums will complete the accredited BTEC Level 1 in home cooking course and the course has also been a great MHA’s Community Investment Team worked in opportunity for health & wellbeing and partnership with a local a business called Flying socialising, with mums often saying that they don’t get enough time with other adults. Pig & Little Piggies School of Catering and it
Visit www.jamieoliver.com for delicious recipes. 18 www.monmouthshirehousing.co.uk
Sponsorship Are you involved with a group or event within Monmouthshire that needs sponsorship and could benefit from MHA’s support?
Congratulations to our Good as Gold Winners in April 2016, all winning £50 each. • Mrs Jones of Abergavenny • Mr Thomspon of Magor • Mr Williams of Portskewett • Mr Timmins of Monmouth And to Mrs Williams of Abergavenny, pictured with her Neighbourhood Officer Jemma Browning receiving her winnings
We recently helped Osbaston CiW Primary School replace their old playground equipment. We also funded local charity, MAGIC to help support their additional needs play sessions in Abergavenny. We consider applications from foodbanks and charities and support local events, community projects and voluntary groups – if you have a project, event or support service that benefits the people in your area we’d love to help!
The next draw will take place on 4th July so get your rent account up to date to be in with a chance of winning £50.
All you need to do is fill in a sponsorship form and if your request meets our requirements you could gain funding! For more information or to request an application form, please contact Emma Assender on 01495 745762 or email emma.assender@ monmouthshirehousing.co.uk
For more information about the Good as Gold Scheme, please visit our website www. monmouthshirehousing. co.uk twitter.com/mon_housing
Performance Indicator - Quarter 4 - 2015/16 (01 January 2016 - 31 March 2016)
On or Above Target
MHA use a traffic light system to easily identify whether we are performing well or not in certain areas (above). 98.28% of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) cases have been resolved. Target - 98%
90.59% of tenants were satisfied with the repair work done in their property. Target - 97%
0.84% of rent is owed by current tenants to MHA. Target - 1.8%
There were 10.77 of new ASB cases per 1000 tenancies. Target - 18 cases
93.54% of repairs were completed right first time. Target - 94%
99.06% of emergency repairs were completed within target. Target - 98%
82.08% of urgent repairs were completed within target. Target - 98%
18 seconds is the average time taken for a call to be answered. Target - 20 secs
18.75% of offers for new properties have been refused. Target - 18%
97.24% of repairs appointments were kept. Target - 95%
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T E N A N T
R I S K S
twitter.com/mon_housing T E N A N T R I S K S T E N A N T
R I S K S
Annual Tenant Survey
Results 2015/16 Overall satisfaction with services MHA Provide 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
Satisfaction with the overall quality of your home 95%
90% 85% 80%
75% 70% 65%
Satisfaction with your neighbourhood as a place to live 92% 91% 90% 89% 88% 87% 86% 85% 84% 83%
Purpose of Survey
• Gain views and opinions of tenants
• Completed during May-July 2015
• Make comparisons to previous surveys
• Completed via postal/email/online/telephone
• Response rate of 23.64%
Your rent provides value for money 92% 90% 88% 86% 84% 82% 80% 78% 76% 74% 72%
Overall satisfaction with Repairs and Maintenance 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
MHA listens to your views and acts upon them 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
The Tenants’ Scrutiny Panel Working for You The Tenants Scrutiny Panel has continued to make good progress since adopting a new way of working, which was reported in an earlier edition of Tenant Matters. The panel which acts as a critical friend to MHA has recently scrutinised key elements of the Rent Management Service and their recommendations has been forwarded to Senior Managers and the Board.
A selection of their recommendations are as follows:
The Panel looked at three specific areas which included:
• Improve support offered to tenants making the rent service more understandable
• Accessibility of the service including opening hours • Payment methods • Communication including letters, marketing and website
• Introduce a new Freephone rent line number - 0800 085 3557 • Improved budget sheet for tenants • Improved letters which are easier to understand
Please note the new Freephone rent line number is 0800 085 3557 and you can make a payment over the phone using a debit or credit card between 9:00am and 4:30pm (Monday to Thursday) or between 9:00am and 4:00pm (Friday).
Service Testing Team You may have heard that we have re-branded the old MHA SUITs to the new Service Testing Team. And they do exactly what is says on the tin! The new name highlights the essence of what the tenants in the team do. We have a fresh approach, testing services from your point of view, providing suggestions for improvements using your opinions.
Keeping You Informed of External Works to Your Property Not all tenants felt that they were kept informed and any changes or delays to the work being carried out. The Asset Management Team within MHA has confirmed that the contractors are now going to inform tenants of any delays in person.
We have recently recruited 4 new members and have carried out a check on CAPSEL painting works – the results of which we will be able to share with you soon! For you to get an idea of how the team helps MHA, here are the results of the most recent External Works check. By making phone calls and speaking with you the team found...
Discussing Planned Works With You 26.9% of tenants felt that they were not given the opportunity to discuss the proposed works.
Dissatisfaction With Works or Outstanding Work After Being Marked Completed Dissatisfaction with works or outstanding work after being marked completed.
MHA currently send Our surveyors have letters to all tenants prior to any works to be confirmed that all works are checked on a regular basis carried out. A booklet and that a final checklist and survey is also left is produced on completed with every tenant works. We also carry following completion of out tenant satisfaction the works, or pushed surveys relating to the through the letterbox work that has been if the tenants is completed. not in.
If this sounds like something you’d like to be involved in, just give us a ring or drop us an email for more information: Lorna.email@example.com • 01495 761142 Anna.firstname.lastname@example.org • 01495 745767 twitter.com/mon_housing
David Morris, Director of Housing & Communities, presents John Swift, from Dingestow with his accredited certificate.
David Morris, Director of Housing & Communities, presents Mo Jackson, from Abergavenny with her accredited certificate.
MHA’s New Accredited Training for Tenant Volunteers MHA’s has been working with tenants to develop a new accredited training programme called Passport to Engagement. The association has developed the training programme in response to its tenant volunteers, who regularly help the association to continually improve services and make their local areas better places to live. The tenants said that they wanted more training based around the type of volunteering they do. The new and exciting programme is a mix of entry level three and full level one units. The programme can also help tenants who are looking to enhance their CV and find employment. Rob Carey, MHA’s Senior Engagement Officer said “we believe that the best results begin with volunteers understanding the issues in which they are involved and building
confidence so that tenants can express their views without difficulty. We believe that the new training programme, which has been developed in cooperation with tenants helps to achieve this”. Joyce Davidson a tenant from Caldicot said, “the fellow tenants attending the courses are really helpful and my confidence has improved dramatically since I started attending. I would also like to thank MHA for their commitment to tenant volunteers. I have learnt so much since starting the courses and I have a real understanding now of how the housing association works.” If you would like to find out more about the new training programme or would like to find out more about how you could get involved, contact the Engagement Team 01495 767179 or email rob.carey@monmouthshirehousing. co.uk
MHA Receives White Ribbon Status Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) has been awarded accreditation by the White Ribbon Campaign on the basis of its commitment to supporting the aims of the campaign, never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. Staff have received training so that when they are out and about in local communities they have an understanding of domestic abuse and are able recognise signs of it. Consequently they are able to offer help to anyone affected by domestic abuse and to signpost to local specialist services. Research has shown that whilst victims of domestic abuse may be
reluctant to disclose what is happening to them, often they are also hoping that someone will realise that something is wrong and ask them about it. MHA is also working with in partnership with a group of other social housing landlords on a project called Free From Fear to further improve our response to domestic abuse and ensure a more effective service for social housing tenants throughout Gwent. The White Ribbon Campaign focuses on men speaking out against violence against women and MHA staff will be taking part in activities designed to promote the aims of the campaign both internally and in local communities.
Etiquette for Dog Owners As pet owners, we have a responsibility to manage our pets and ensure good behavior in public. Gentle, pain-free methods are essential to training dogs and helping them bond with their owners. Being gentle, though, doesn’t mean allowing or sugar-coating bad manners. Cultivating appropriate behavior in our dogs paves the way for pleasant relations and peaceful coexistence among dog owners and non-owners alike. Read on!
1. Teach appropriate dog-to-dog introductions
It is not appropriate for dogs to “play” with other dogs while on leash. It may be cute when two 10-pound puppies do this; it’s not so cute at 60 pounds! Dogs must learn that there is a time for play, and a time to pay attention to you. If both dogs are well-behaved and focused on their owners, you can allow a walk-by so that they can greet appropriately, sniffing each other for five seconds. Allowing your dog to jump all over other dogs can result in injury (to either dog) and a bad reputation in your neighborhood! It also may erroneously teach your dog that all other dogs enjoy this kind of on-leash interaction…and many don’t.
contacting or jumping on passers-by. Even if people say, “It’s okay,” your dog needs to learn to behave appropriately in public. Some people dislike dogs, others are frightened of them, still others may simply prefer well-mannered dogs! A well-trained dog and a considerate handler set a great example of responsible ownership to their communities, and ensure that dogs will continue to be welcome there.
2. Always leash your dog
It doesn’t matter how friendly Fido is: leash laws exist for a reason. Not everyone is comfortable around dogs, and dog owners must anticipate this and be respectful. Only let your dog approach a stranger if that person asks. The same rule applies to strangers walking their own dogs. If you see another dog and owner approaching, ask first (“Can they say hi?”) and honor the other’s response. Don’t shrug off their objection because “he’s such a nice dog”: if he or she doesn’t want your dog to approach, no more explanation is necessary.
3. Prevent barking
Practice the Attention exercise so as to easily redirect Fido if he barks at people or other dogs. If you know your dog behaves this way, allow her in the yard only when supervised. If she barks at passers-by and other dogs from the car, close your side windows and cover them. Consider using a Calming Cap to reduce her field of vision, and – if there is room – crate her with a chew toy. Allowing her to bark through an open window appears inconsiderate and careless, and can frighten both people and dogs within earshot.
5. Be aware of other peoples’ feelings If your dog does something that upsets someone else (jumping up, running after them, barking at them, etc.), apologise to that person and take measures to prevent the situation from re-occurring. Do this even if your dog’s behavior appeared benign in nature. Shrugging it off as an overreaction or a personal slight will not improve your dog’s behavior and may negatively impact your reputation in the community.
6. Scoop your poop!
No excuses: few things sour dog-to-human relations more than poop left where others can step in it. Bring an excess of bags on each walk to be sure you have enough. If you run out of bags, either come back and clean it up or ask another walker if they have a bag to spare. Cleaning up every time will set a good example for others and promote an image of dog owners as caring, responsible citizens…a good thing all around!
4. Be aware of other peoples’ space Keep your leashed dog close to you and stay alert to others using the path/park/ sidewalk, etc. Your leash should be slack but short enough to prevent Fido from
For most people, gambling is a fun, recreational activity which they are able to enjoy without losing control. However for some people gambling can become a serious problem, both for themselves and for their family, friends, and those concerned about them.
events, playing casino games, gambling machines or bingo. Many people enjoy gambling, whether having a flutter on the Grand National or buying the odd scratch card, or taking part in gambling on a more regular basis. Gambling is not a bad thing, but it can be risky, so we need to keep ourselves informed and make responsible choices.
Gambling is taking part in a game during which you risk money, or something of monetary value, in order to win money or a prize. The outcome of the game is usually down to chance, so when gambling you might leave with less money than you started off with, and sometimes with nothing at all.
Have you started to worry that you may have gambled a bit too much not leaving you enough money to pay bills and are wondering where to turn to for help.
There are many forms of gambling, including lotteries and scratch cards, card games like poker and blackjack, betting on sports or
Check out these websites for useful practical advice:
Bits & Bobs
C ORNE R COLOURING COMPETITION
DEADLINE 30/9/16 • PRIZE: £10 HIGH STREET VOUCHER
Address: Please return completed colouring to Rob Carey, Monmouthshire Housing Association, Nant Y Pia House, Mamhilad Technology Park, Mamhilad, Monmouthshire, NP4 0JJ Congratulations to 11 year old Hanresh Raghubor from Abergavenny who won our Christmas colouring competition (pictured left). Well done to everyone who entered - Marc Smith (7), Lillie-Beth Aldridge (9), Jack McHallam (9), Mollie Dobbs (8) and Ellie May Hamm - you will all be receiving some art materials from us soon!
32 www.monmouthshirehousing.co.uk MHA0484