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SPRING 2013

The Heart of Coastal Housing

enjoy

our new look magazine!

REAL LIFE SUCCESS

Sarah Symons Writer

My Life

meet Louisa James

WIN A CANON CAMERA

Coastal Life

Coastal Network

Coastal People

Stop Smoking Wales

The real Mount Pleasant

Cheryl Fantastic Forager


The

makeover

Spring 2013 COASTAL PEOPLE

COASTAL LIFE

4 My Life – Louisa James 10 Cheryl Hampton Fantastic Forager 14 In the spotlight – HST 21 Sarah Symons - Bookworm 25 Mike Davies – photography 28 Talkback with Holly Farrell

16 17 18 19 20 22

Family fun Activities to do this Spring Spring clean your life 10 Good Deeds Stop Smoking Wales For the love of food

COASTAL MONEY COASTAL NETWORK 8 Mount Pleasant 12 Working in the community 32 Social media

COASTAL VIEWS 13 Safety First 27 Your Views - Survey results

6 7

HOW WILL THE BEDROOM TAX EFFECT YOU?

17 Win a Day out to the Gower Heritage Centre 21 Win a Book about the Romans in Wales 24 Photography - send us your pics 26 Win a Canon camera

Welfare reform Money saving tips

29 Dave’s dilemmas 29 Competition winners 30 Insider Information

GOOD DEEDS

220 is designed and published in-house by Coastal Housing Group Ltd 3rd Floor, 220 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1NW www.coastalhousing.co.uk Data protection Coastal Housing Group reserves the right to use competition participants’ personal data to inform them of future promotions. Once you have entered a competition you may receive other related promotional offers. If you do not wish for your personal data to be used for this purpose then you ‘opt out’ by contacting the promoter in writing by email. The Promoter may not always be Coastal Housing Group and could be any one of a number of companies associated with providing prizes. Accuracy We try to make sure that the information printed in Homefront including prices and availability is correct at time of going to press, but readers should still seek independent advice before relying on any content. We cannot be held responsible for any changes. Colours may vary slightly due to the printing process. We reserve the right to edit any material submitted. We cannot accept any responsibility for errors in articles or advertisements.

COASTAL REGULARS

19

6

COASTAL COMPETITIONS

issue

Copyright No part of Homefront may be reproduced in any format without prior permission from Coastal Housing Group.

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Circulation 6,000 readers Tenants, Staff, Partners, Contractors and Consultants, Councillors, MPs, AMs together with a wide range of people and organisations who have regular contact with Coastal Housing Group.

DAYS OUT THIS SPRING

Love Coastal Housing’s new-look magazine 220? The name was chosen to reflect the heart of Coastal at its new home at ‘220 High Street’. There’s so much going on in this issue! Spring is a time for new beginnings and change, and here at Coastal we’re no exception - with a new look, name and articles. Inside you’ll meet Cheryl, Louisa, Mike and Sarah - people who inspire us as they tell us how their interests have become a way of life. Find out what a brilliant bunch our Housing Services Team are. Read ‘Talkback’ our latest column devised and written by our new teen columnist, 14-year-old Holly Farrell who tells us all we need to know about setting up a Blog. We get out and about in Mount Pleasant and take a look at this historical part of Swansea, meeting some of the people who live and work in the area. In ‘Money Matters’ we give you an update on the Welfare Benefit reform issue and what benefits are affected, as well as helpful money-saving tips. If you’re looking for fun things to do for free this Spring or ideas for days out with the family that won’t break the bank, we’ve provided a few suggestions. For a new you this Spring, we have options on how to start, as well as info on how Mark, Paul and Scott had a new beginning when they gave up smoking with the ‘Stop Smoking Wales’ programme and saved themselves £22,000. Our Readership Survey feedback was really positive. See the results on Page 27. Throughout the magazine there are chances to WIN a family day out, a Canon camera, 12 months magazine subscription and a signed book. Good luck everyone!

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WORKING IN THE COMMUNITY 2

220 COASTAL MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

am e T 0 2 2 The SPRING 2013 220 COASTAL MAGAZINE

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My Life

Louisa James

Meet Louisa James. There’s so much more to Louisa than just working hard as a Sales Co-Ordinator for the Pennant Homes Team in Coastal Housing.

When I’m stressed I... spend time out walking with my dog Charlie. He’s an extremely happy dog and always turns my mood around.

When I was a child I wanted to be... a writer. I had a wild imagination when I was younger and used to always write short stories.

I am most known for... my love for all animals and my ever expanding wardrobe.

WHEN I’M NOT WORKING I... volunteer in a special needs centre, which is a learning programme that supports children and young adults with various different special needs. I really enjoy this because it’s totally different from my day job, and I’ve met some wonderfully interesting people. They may see the world in a different way than you or I, but for me that’s what makes them interesting and fun to be around. It has opened my eyes to look at things differently.

If I have time to myself I... THE BEST VIEW IN THE WORLD... I would love to say Manhattan’s Skyline or Miami Beach shoreline but it’s not... This might sound odd to some people but for me it’s seeing the Port Talbot Steel Works lights coming into view as you drive into the town, because it reminds me that I’m nearly home. After spending a lot of time living away from home, that was a sight that always brought me the most comfort, so I’d have to say it’s the best view for me.

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220 COASTAL MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

buy and sell vintage clothing. I’ve always had a fascination with different fashion eras, and it’s now becoming a hobby of mine to seek out vintage clothing, have them altered and sell on. Although I end up keeping most of the products for myself!

The best piece of advice I’ve been given was... not to worry so much about the little things, as things will always work out in the end.

My favourite word is... MAGNANIMOUS. My mother always said it represents one of the qualities of my personality. However it can also be seen as one of my weaknesses too – it depends which way you look at it.

I ONCE TRIED... A career as an Airhostess. It was fun while it lasted as I got to travel the world for free and was even lucky enough to be taken out to dinner by Richard Branson while visiting Antigua. However, the downside was the extremely long hours, constant jet leg and my increasing homesickness.

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WHAT: REPLACED WHO

CHANGES TO HOUSING BENEFITS BY:

WILL IT AFFECT?

WHEN:

BEDROOM TAX Those below age 62 in April 2013 April 2013

SITUATION

CONDITION

Couples and single

Living full-time in

adults

the home

Two boys or two girls

Living full-time in

aged under 16

the home

A boy and girl aged

Living full-time in

under 10

the home

One Spare bedroom

N/A

Pay 14% of your rent

Two or more Spare

N/A

Pay 25% of your rent

OF

CRITERIA

OUTCOME Own bedroom required Share a bedroom Share a bedroom

Bedrooms

WHAT TO DO: Register on HomeSwapper at www.homeswapper.co.uk if you would like to apply for a transfer to a smaller property.

Welfare Refo rm

You can apply for a Discretionary Housing Benefit Payment* to make up the shortfall if your home has been adapted for your needs or you have a medical need for a separate bedroom. *this is not guaranteed and you should apply ASAP, or contact your Housing Officer

Benefits are changing

OTHER AFFECTED BENEFITS: • • •

HOW IT WORKS

• • • • •

The government is replacing a number of benefits to make the benefit system simpler. This new benefit is called Universal Credit. Universal Credit will be paid monthly in arrears so it is important that you budget so that your money lasts the whole month. At Coastal Housing, we have been busy asking our residents to complete welfare reform surveys. We will get back in touch with those who are affected by these changes and offer advice and assistance where needed.

From April 2013 a number of benefits are changing for people across Wales and the UK. These changes may mean that if you are entitled to benefits you may get less money and it may be received in a different way.

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220 COASTAL MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

WHAT: WHO

BY:

WILL IT AFFECT?

WHEN: WHAT

* This will affect people who are employed on a low income

DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE

REPLACED

TO DO:

PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENT Those aged 16-64* October 2015 For those of you already in receipt of this allowance, you will need to make an application for Personal Independence Payment when invited to do so. There will be no automatic switch over. * even if you have an indefinite or lifetime award

Council Tax Benefit Incapacity Benefit Employment Support Allowance Carer’s Allowance Job Seeker’s Allowance Income Support Pension Credit Tax Credits*

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WELFARE REFORMS VISIT: www.yourbenefitsarechanging.co.uk www.gov.uk www.adviceguide.org.uk www.turn2us.org.uk

Neath Port Talbot Credit Union Neath Port Talbot Credit Union offers an account with a budget facility which may be able to help. They can arrange for all your benefits to be paid into your account. It will then use the money to pay your agreed financial commitments such as bills and rent. Any remaining money is loaded onto a debit card for you to spend over the month. If you are interested, Coastal Housing will pay the joining fee and £2 deposit for you. Although you cannot spend more money than you have, low interest loans are still available for when times get tough. For more information contact 01639 632100.

Start saving now! Walk or cycle for free exercise and free transport Root out bargains at charity shops Make a shopping list and stick to it Find free papers, internet access and books in your local library Set your washing machine at a low temperature and only wash full loads

Blow away the bills Turning the tap off when you brush your teeth saves 7-12 litres of water per minute Reducing the thermostat by 1°C will save you 10% on your heating bill A hot shower uses 20% the energy of a hot bath Don’t leave the fridge door open as it increases the amount of energy used Fix a dripping hot tap and save enough hot water to fill ½ a bath in just one week

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Out & About...

Mount

Pleasant For this issue of 220, we put the spotlight on Mount Pleasant. This development features a building which was once the city’s General Infirmary and later Mount Pleasant Hospital, before being converted into a major urban housing development.

“Tenants told us they love being part of local history.”

Mount Pleasant Six tenants have been in their current homes for 30+ years The longest standing tenant of 33 years is Mrs Vinnie Maunder, who moved to her current flat on 22 October 1980.

M

ount Pleasant is where it all started for Coastal 35 years ago. At that time (for the then Swansea Housing Association) it had the twin objectives of providing affordable housing and rehabilitating the older housing stock in Swansea. With its commanding views over Swansea Bay, Mount Pleasant lives up to its name. The overall look and feel of the place has changed little in the last 150 years, with its terraces of large Victorian town houses, which over the years have housed many a sea captain off around Cape Horn. Constitution Hill acts as its centrepiece, and along with the old Hospital, which is as famous for its role as a maternity ward as it is for its Workhouse status in the 1800s, Mount Pleasant is a key landmark in the growth and history of Swansea.

Constitution Hill Is one of the steepest residential streets in the UK - with an average gradient of 1:5

COMMUNITY SPIRIT

It runs a total elevation of 185 feet

The Area Housing Officer and Caretakers Sharon, Dean and Paul who are in the area daily, have clocked up between them 27 years of work in Mount Pleasant. When asked to describe what it is like working in the area, Paul said: “colourful, friendly and vibrant” and Dean’s comment was: “eventful and challenging”. Sharon explains: “No two days are ever the same. It has taught me a lot about people and I have made many friends as a result. Mount Pleasant is a true community and I love being part of it”.

In August 1998 a cable tram opened to take passengers up and down, but closed soon after in early 1902 as it failed to secure a Board of Trade Passenger Certificate Was host to stage three of the Tour of Britain 2010 Cycling Race.

CONSTITUTION HILL CABLE TRAMWAY

Mount Pleasant and Coastal Housing Facts:

489 HOMES

8

448 FLATS

220 COASTAL MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

40 HOUSES

1

BUNGALOW

332 HOMES STARTED LIFE OVER 100 YEARS AGO – MANY AS LARGE VICTORIAN FAMILY HOMES

COASTAL’S FIRST PROPERTY PURCHASED IN MONTPELIER TERRACE WAS IN JANUARY 1978

The Swansea Constitution Hill Incline Tramway operated a cable tramway service on Constitution Hill between 1898 and 1902. It operated along Constitution Hill between the lower terminus at St. George Street (now Hannover Street) and the upper terminus at Terrace Road. The line was not a roaring success and operated for only three years, until it failed to secure a Board of Trade Passenger Certificate and it sadly ceased operations in early 1902.

The Old Hospital Is one of the best groups of Victorian buildings remaining in the City It was originally a purpose-built workhouse dating back to 1863

If you would like to live in Mount Pleasant, call us on 01792 479200. Next edition we are in Margam

It was declared a conservation area in 1963 Buildings have been named after the old hospital wards such as Penrice, Cheriton, Slade and Overton. SPRING 2013 220 COASTAL MAGAZINE

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Fantastic Forager Cheryl Hampton BE INSPIRED BY CHERYL’S TAKE ON OLD AND UNWANTED ITEMS

Cheryl Hampton, a tenant of Mount Pleasant, describes herself as a ‘Forager’. Cheryl loves to give old and discarded items a new lease of life by finding a new or alternative use for them. A naturally creative person, making something out of nothing is second nature to her.

C

heryl likes anything ‘quirky’ that has reached the end of its life - like the frame of an old table that she came across recently in Rosehill Quarry. Cheryl hasn’t actually done anything with it yet , but as she says “it will become something - it will speak to me”. Cheryl says “I’m the girl who goes out with the shopping trolley and returns with bricks and logs”. She does not actively look for any one thing in particular and rather that things find her – often from neighbours leaving things on her doorstep. A particular favourite is an old water cistern. She has found the built-in drainage from the outlet perfect for growing long veg such as carrots and parsnips.

“I’m the girl who goes out with the shopping trolley and returns with bricks and logs.”

In the Garden Cheryl’s garden would best be described as ‘tiny’. But despite its size by using all types of vessels in every bit of available space she manages to grow fruit and veg for at least nine months of the year including potatoes in an old dustbin with the bottom taken out. She grows rhubarb in an old bicycle basket - the rhubarb crown she had found thrown in a hedge. Even with a small plant as this she managed a good few crumbles and some homemade jam from it. Cheryl’s efforts have also encouraged wildlife into the garden. After spotting a frog one day, the conversion of an old bin into a wildlife pond has encouraged more and more. Cheryl says she gets her inspiration for ideas by using her imagination and by looking at the object from another point of view “I like something to be different”.

At Home It’s not only in the garden that she recycles, but uses old clothes to make cushions and quilts, curtains for bean bags, old books are turned into beautiful paper sculptures, and even old socks (with the help of some buttons and broken jewellery) have been turned into delightful cats and other animals. In her home, the stair carpet was an off cut from a neighbour. By painting the stair treads white, edging the stair carpet with masking tape, and utilising some grippers she found in a skip, Cheryl has made a very professional and effective entrance into her first floor flat.

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Where Cheryl looks Cheryl’s finds come from all over, but typically she loves to: • • •

• •

Root around in charity shops and jumble sales Go to car boot sales and her best recommendation is Singleton Hospital on a Saturday morning Looks in every skip she passes - and on one occasion carried home all the way from Gloucester a large old fashioned weighing scales complete with full set of weights Pick up things she sees literally lying around in the street Know that for everything she recycles is one thing less for the landfill.

So be inspired, use your imagination and create something new...

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Safety First

Shoot it We have two students working on a project photographing the demolition of an old derelict building in Swansea before we redevelop it. They needed a project which showed progress over a few weeks for their course. With our help they became qualified to be permitted on the building site and obtained the safety equipment they needed, and away they went.

Are you cluttering up your communal areas? As a landlord, Coastal is responsible for ensuring the safety of tenants within its properties. This includes the safe movement and exit from a building in cases of emergency. We have a duty to inspect and manage the communal areas of our properties, to ensure they are clear and allow people free access to and from the exits and entrances.

Working in the community Local opportunities We also have apprentices, trainees and some work experience involved on our site in Port Talbot. There are two carpentry apprentices there at the moment and the contractor has also taken on five new paid members of staff for the scheme. They all live close by, ensuring we are benefitting the local area.

Over the last few months Coastal Housing has been increasing its work with people in Neath, Port Talbot and Swansea, helping to provide local jobs, training and apprenticeships. We have also been looking for opportunities to link in with community projects.

Communal areas are NOT an extension of residents’ flats. If they are not clear of items – be it recycling bags, a large plant, a bike, a mobility scooter, or anything else we feel is likely to be a hazard – we will take action to make sure you remove your belongings.

IF WE DO FIND ITEMS STORED IN THESE AREAS, WE WILL: • • • •

Knock on your door or contact you, and ask you to remove them Send a letter or email confirming our request Call back to check the items have been removed If the items haven’t been removed, we will have to remove them ourselves and dispose of them.

Do not leave these things in the communal areas...

Get in touch...

In our office at 220 High Street, Swansea, we have six people with us on work placements of various durations.

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220 COASTAL MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

If you’re interested in housing, administration, support, finance, you name it..., we may be able to offer short-term placements to help with your work ambitions. To find out more about what we are doing, check out our blog at:

However you can have these...

http://chgcommunityfeedback.blogspot .co.uk/ or email Clare Watkins at: clare.watkins@coastalhousing.co.uk

If we consider any of these items are likely to be a hazard, then we will ask you to remove them. We are also working with Local Fire Officers who will be visiting properties to check communal areas are clear from obstructions too. SPRING 2013 220 COASTAL MAGAZINE

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WE PLAY HARD

Housing Services Team

Dancing, gardening, cooking, reading, cycling, at the gym, on the guitar, on the rugby pitch, dog walking, sewing, at concerts, running, caravanning, crocheting, playing football, at the theatre, kayaking, climbing, knitting, on the cricket pitch, gaming and playing darts.

in the

Spotlight

...and work hard We have degrees or post-grads in Business Studies, Design for Media, Outdoor Education, Media, Marketing and Law, as well as qualifications in floristry, business and finance, customer service, the Royal Academy of Ballet, plastering, digital video design, personnel, housing, wines and spirits, performing arts and social studies.

Have you ever wondered who is the person behind the voice you speak to, when you contact Coastal Housing? Well wonder no more and meet the team!

WHAT WE LOVE:

W

e are Adam, Ann, Bev, Chantal, Cindy, Debbie, Enid, Jenny, Joanne, Kathryn, Katy, Kirsty, Laura, Lisa B, Lisa P, Mark, Matthew, Mel, Nick, Rhian, Sarah G, Sarah Y, Su, Lisa E and Viki. Together we make up the Housing Services team, responding to repair requests, enquiries for housing, rent queries and so much more! From enquiries about where to go when homeless, how to go about transferring from a property, reports about horses in the garden or even a missing 6ft Boa Constrictor - we are happy to help.

COMBINED

“There are no two days the same.” Last year we took...

86,000 phone calls

877

With a combined age of and counting, we could be the oldest team in Coastal, but then again there’s our caretakers to meet! Before we joined Coastal, you could have found us anywhere - from working in a bank, a betting shop, a phone company, a newspaper, the Council and a coffee shop, through to working in retail, insurance, administration, as a hairdresser, with the CSA, in water sports, or even at School or University.

“Going that one step further to help solve problems, to see someone smile.”

day-to-day repairs

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CHILDREN

20

PARTNERS

17 PETS

5,000

And you can only imagine the number of cups of tea or coffee a team of 25 get through!

Our friends would say we are: Bubbly Patient

Processed over

WHEN WE GREW UP WE WANTED TO BE:

14

Between us we have...

16,000

enquiries for housing

Policewoman Teacher Ghostbuster Nurse Funeral Director Nun!

“Simply helping people”

Dealt with over

WHAT WE LOVE:

Dancer Radiographer Air Hostess Solicitor Vet Astronaut

“Feeling that I’ve made a difference”

Our Achievements... Between us we have won a hot pants competition, met William Shatner, had a son appear in the movie ‘Love Actually’, married a lottery winner, danced in a company with Catherine Zeta Jones, have a Nan who won gold at the Paralympics, been interviewed by the BBC, met Shakin’ Stevens and cleaned his room, met the Duke of Edinburgh, been the Welsh epee fencing champion, met Katie Price, had dinner bought by Brian Clough, bowled with Michael Sheen, appeared on Sky Living, met Prince Charles, appeared in an FHM calendar, been part of a comedy ABBA tribute group, appeared on Beat the Teacher, and starred in Rhod Gilbert’s radio show!

Loyal Confident Fun Reliable Driven

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Family Fun cheap days out this Spring

W

ith Spring about to be sprung, everyone is looking for leisure activities to do. It’s always good to be able to get out and about and it’s great when it isn’t too expensive, or even better, free. We’ve come up with some ideas for you and your family to try, to enjoy the season in your area, with a selection of activities that will cost you very little or absolutely nothing…

Why not spring into action with some of these activities this Spring! Empty out your kitchen tin and jar cupboard of out-of-date oldies that are well past their sell-by date

Take the camera out with you and capture the season blooming, or a new-born lamb taking its first steps

Dust off your novelty summer shorts and show them to the world for their first airing

Challenge yourself to find a new hidden treasure – be it a café or a landscape – in your local area

Go for a woodland walk and spot your first daffodil

Find new ways to recycle your uneaten Easter Eggs - making rice crispy cakes doesn’t count

Visit Clyne Botanical Gardens in May, when the azaleas and rhododendrons are in bloom

Make an outfit for this year’s Tenants’ Funday out of scraps of fabric and material you may have lying about

With the Gower Peninsula on your doorstep, why not spend a day at the coast enjoying an ice cream!

The Gower Peninsula – Britain’s first ever designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Win a family Ticket to Gower Heritage Centre, Just draw and colour a picture of ‘Spring’ Send us your work of art, with your name, age, address and telephone number on the back to: Coastal Housing, 3rd Floor, 220 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1NW Closing date: 30 April 2013

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Spring Clean your life At this time of year we often decide to spend time spring cleaning our cupboards or homes, but have you ever considered spring cleaning your life?

Some people believe that for every good deed, there’s a knock-on effect for someone, somewhere. In our busy day-to-day lives, taking time to help others is often forgotten. Sometimes the smallest considerations can make a big difference. Here are our thoughts on ways to make someone else’s day a little brighter.

Good Deeds 10 ways to do a daily kindness...

MONEY... Look at your budget. Are you spending within your means? Are you in control of your finances? Is it something you can manage on your own or do you need to ask for help?

TIME...

Open the door for someone

Smile and say ‘Hello’

Let a car out of a junction in busy traffic

Pay someone a compliment

Give up your seat on the bus/train to someone who needs it more

Call someone who you know would welcome a chat

Tell a loved one what they mean to you

Buy someone flowers

Give something to charity - be it your time, money or possessions

Send a card to someone who needs cheering up

Think of time in the same way as money. Overstretching yourself can really affect your mental health and cause stress. Take a look at your week and reconsider the time you spend on family, friends, work and most importantly yourself!

RELATIONSHIPS... Good relationships with others are vital for a healthy mind. Connect with those around you at home, work, school and in your local community. If someone in your life leaves you feeling drained it may be time to reconsider your friendship.

WORK... It may not be possible to leave your current job and embark on a new career but there are small ways in which you can make a change. Take stock and consider how you want your future to look. Start making small steps towards that bright future you want and deserve.

GET ACTIVE... Choose a physical activity you enjoy and spend time doing it! Exercising helps to keep you physically healthy and makes you feel good. It also gives you more energy during the day which will help make those routine tasks seem less of a chore.

DO SOMETHING NEW... Find a new challenge in your life. Break old habits and look at things from a different point of view. Having something to work towards stimulates the mind and will give you a positive focus.

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” SALLY KOCH

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Caretakers Mark, Paul and Scott

Caretakers

Real Life Success – A Traveller’s Tale

Take Care

Author Sarah Symons has always loved writing. She was born in the Swansea Valleys and started writing short stories at the age of 13, after she was given a typewriter.

Three years ago three of Coastal’s resident caretakers decided to make a change and gave up smoking together. Our triumphant trio reveal the secret to their success.

OPEN DOORS

1

Paul decided to quit smoking because he was struggling to catch his breath at work and he wanted to be a good role model to his stepdaughters. Paul now has increased self-esteem, more motivation and a boost in energy. He says: “The service gave me the motivation and support to take that first step. Having the regular meetings with my Stop Smoking Wales mentor gave me the drive to continue in the first few difficult weeks. Good luck to all those who take that step - take it one day at a time!”

S

2

MAINTAIN PERSEVERANCE Mark has tried and failed in the past to quit smoking on his own. He chose to give Stop Smoking Wales a try and found that doing it together with his friends helped. He says: “The advice and support they gave was fantastic - they even supplied the Stop Smoking aids for free. It’s the best thing I’ve done - the stupidest thing I did was start smoking!”

Paul, Mark and Scott have saved a combined amount of over £22,000 in just three years! That has helped fund family holidays, two weddings and a motorbike!

SECURE AIM

3

Caretaker Scott thought he’d never achieve his goal to be a nonsmoker. He always felt scared of what to expect after quitting. Since joining Stop Smoking Wales, Scott has never looked back: “Stop Smoking Wales was great for me – it was friendly, free advice and I felt no pressure. It gave me the possibility of doing something I never thought I would be able to do. With the help of my mentor, an inhaler and patches I was able to give up with relative ease over a few months. Three years on, I don’t miss it and wonder why I ever started smoking in the first place. If you’re thinking of giving up, I couldn’t recommend Stop Smoking Wales enough!”

Did you know, you are four times more likely to quit with Stop Smoking Wales than going it alone? Stop Smoking Wales is a free service offered by the NHS to anyone in Wales that needs help to quit smoking. It offers free, friendly clinics, six ‘weekly’ group sessions and provides information on helpful ‘Stop Smoking’ aids. For more information please phone 0800 085 2219 or visit www.stopsmokingwales.com 20

220 COASTAL MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

arah, a Coastal tenant currently living in Tycoch, describes herself as been ‘born with the writing gene’. “I was always making up little stories to amuse myself when I was a child”, she remembers, “and literature at school inspired me to become published”. However, looking back she now acknowledges that it was her travels that finally provided the inspiration for her to reach for her goal. An interesting secretarial career in London saw her working for the BBC, the House of Lords, as well as other major companies. Retirement brought her back to this area and in 1993, at the age of 66, she swapped her typewriter for a computer and taught herself how to use it. Her first book was ‘The Wonders of Dan Yr Ogof’. Published in 2003, this was a study of the history of the amazing caves at Dan Yr Ogof, South Wales. Sarah became a temporary member of the South

Wales Caving Club, in order to research first-hand information about the amazing discoveries within the caves. Her second book, ‘Fortresses and Treasures of Roman Wales’, looked at the Roman occupation of Wales. This fascinating history book details all the fortresses built in Roman Wales during the 1st Century. As well as including information on the three Roman fortresses on her doorstep (at Brecon, Colbren and Neath), Sarah examined Chester (Roman name Deva) across the border in Cheshire and the 20th Legion’s tile and pottery works at Holt, in North Wales. The book was published in paperback in 2012 and illustrated with her own photographs. In this modern age, it is also available as a Kindle download. Sarah says, “Visiting classical and historical sites on my travels to Egypt, inspired me to write my third book, ‘Temples Along the Nile’. Travel writing is something I have pleasure in doing and I hope I can continue with this genre for as long as possible”. SARAH’S ADVICE TO BUDDING AUTHORS: “It takes time to be published. But if you persevere, and are determine to see your name in print, you will get there in the end. And remember J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ was rejected by several publishers before she hit on the right one! Keep on trying and follow your dream. Good Luck!”

COMPETITION: If you would like a chance to win a signed copy of Sarah’s book ‘Fortresses and Treasures of Roman Wales’ then simply answer the following question:

What was the Roman name for Chester? Send your answers to: Coastal Housing Group, 3rd Floor, 220 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1NW, or email ask@coastalhousing.co.uk Please include your name, address, email and daytime telephone number.

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Love food, love lemons Love food, hate waste

(reasons you should have lemons in your fridge)

For the

Love of food

Adds zest to food – A sprinkling of lemon brings a sharp kick to any meal. Boiling eggs – Before you drop the eggs into the boiling water, try brushing some lemon juice over the shells to prevent them from cracking while they cook.

It pays to plan

Reviving soggy lettuce – To transform limp greens to a palatable taste simply squeeze a halved lemon into a bowl of cold (but not freezing) water, drop the leaves in and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Planning your meals is the most effective way to cut waste and curb food bills. Write a list and stick to it, so you don’t buy things you don’t need.

Combating Cancer – Lemon helps prevent sunburn and in turn acts as a skin cancer preventative. The natural ingredients found in the combination of tea and lemon peel protect the body from the sun's harmful UV rays – the primary cause of skin cancer.

Freezer friendly

Medicinal Uses – Gargle lemon juice for sore throats, apply as a lotion for sunburn or drink to reduce a fever.

Check your fridge for items reaching their sellby-date that you don’t have time to eat and freeze them for later.

Supermarket Checklist Look out for healthier alternatives which are lower in salt, fat and sugar. Choose wholegrain varieties when you can – they contain more fibre, and can make you feel full for longer.

TOP TIP:

“Try buying your groceries from the local market instead of supermarket chains to save £££s.”

Cupboard savvy Stack up your cupboards with the essentials that have a long shelf life. Cans, tinned beans, pasta & noodles, rice and grains are great ingredients to jazz up your leftovers.

Portion control Are you getting your portion size right? Be sure you are measuring the right amount of ingredients per person by using a portion calculator.

Beef in Red Wine Sauce Cooking Time: 3 hours Ingredients: Dash of Olive Oil 750g diced stewing beef 1 chopped large onion 2 chopped sticks of celery 2 sliced carrots 1 bay leaf 6 anchovy fillets 500ml red wine 500ml chicken stock Handful of chopped parsley

Love leftovers If you have dinner left over, bag it up as a meal for one and pop it in the freezer.

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Method: 1. Heat the oil in a casserole dish 2. Season the beef until brown and store separately for later 3. Add more oil to the dish and cook vegetables until soft 4. Add bay leaf and anchovies to dish and cook for a few minutes until broken down 5. Mix in wine and stock and boil until reduced by about half 6. Add beef and bring to the boil 7. Bake covered at 150°C, Gas Mark 2 for three hours.

Get the kids involved! Set them a task such as holding your shopping list or make a game of it by asking them to go and find the healthy food on your list. It will save time and teach them about healthy eating along the way.

Have you ever bought one of those rotisserie chickens from the supermarket and then been stuck with a surplus of roasted chicken? Chicken is a very flexible ingredient and you can always find new ways of using leftovers. Why not turn your roasted chicken into Quesadillas with the addition of leftover cheese and serve with salsa and sour cream? If your garden has provided you with a bumper crop, or the vegetable tray from last night's party went uneaten, you can use these spare vegetables wisely and mix up some classics. Quiche is a very simple dish to make and lends itself well to just about any vegetable. Simply fill up an empty pie shell with a mixture of beaten eggs and milk, shredded cheese and chopped up vegetables. Season to taste and bake until golden brown on top. Vegetables are also good stir-fried or roasted. Sauté your vegetables with soy sauce and sesame oil. Add hot pepper flakes for some spice. SPRING 2013 220 COASTAL MAGAZINE

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Lights, camera, action...

Photography competition 2013

Mike Davies shares his photography tips

With the launch of this year’s photography competition, we thought we would get some top tips on taking really good photographs from one of our key photography contributors, a Coastal tenant from Cadoxton Neath - Mike Davies.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PHOTOGRAPH AND A SNAP? Coastal Housing is now open for entries into this year’s Photography Competition.

“To my mind, a snap is a casual photograph, one that is usually taken on a compact camera, using automatic settings, without any thought to lighting, composition or other technicalities. The point of a snap is simply to preserve the memory of a person, place or an event. A photograph on the other hand, is typically taken by someone with an interest in the technicalities and art of photography. They usually use more complex cameras, set the exposures manually and they pay attention to lighting and take great care over the composition of the image.”

THE RULE OF THIRDS The rule of thirds is probably one of the most important lessons in getting a good photograph. The human eye is naturally drawn to a point about two-thirds up a page, so crop your photo so that the main subject of the picture is located at one of the intersection points rather than in the centre of the image. The same principle also works with landscapes. Patience is also very important, particularly if you want to capture wildlife or nature shots. Have a look at some of Mike’s amazing shots and see just how long he had to wait to capture them.

The theme for 2013 is: Action

Every year we look forward to receiving the photos sent in by our readers. The quality and variety of the entries is always outstanding and we are looking forward to some really exciting entries this year. Send your photographs on CD or memory stick to: Coastal Housing Group, 3rd floor, 220 High Street, Swansea SA1 1NW or email: ask@coastalhousing.co.uk Closing date: 30 May 2013

Great Spotted Woodpecker This was taken from a distance of approximately 30 feet away. Any closer and the bird would have taken off as it is very shy. Remember, wildlife will come to you, you can’t go to them. It takes hours of practise and patience, but the rewards are worth it.

Woodpecker at home Over a three-hour wait AV 18-55 mm lens. “I was waiting for the parent bird to come back, but I had a lucky surprise when this baby Great Spotted Woodpecker peeped out to see if its parents were on their way with its food.”

New life Approximately a four-hour wait AV 18-55 mm lens. “I had to wait for the mother swan to stretch her legs, but it was well worth the wait to see the newly hatched cygnets along with another one soon to make an appearance.”

Northern lights “I was very lucky to capture the Northern Lights in my back garden in Cadoxton Neath!”

The winning photographs will be included Coastal’s 2014 Calendar and entrants receive a £20 voucher per photograph and a year’s subscription to a photography magazine.

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If Mike’s words and work has inspired you and you want a chance to win a Canon Powershot A1300 camera to help you take a winning photograph in our Photography Competition, why don’t you enter our caption competition...?

? Just tell us what these two are thinking or saying to each other

Caption competition

Your Views your Magazine

Coastal Housing’s magazine is changing and we hope you like the new-look ‘220’ magazine. As part of its revamp, we asked you what you enjoyed about the magazine, subjects you like reading about and articles you would like to see. In future issues we will try and feature more of the areas you expressed an interest in. Don’t forget, we listen to you and your views count.

You told us what you like to read about best in Coastal’s magazine: •

• •

You suggested we include in future issues: • • • • • • •

Local interest news and stories – Mount Pleasant is featured in this issue of the magazine on pages 8 and 9 Eating out and restaurant reviews Hints and tips on decorating rooms Making best use of space and light Costs of running electrical devices Shopping outlets that offer loyalty rewards ‘How to...’ features – you’ll find some photography tips on page 25

Up-to-date information and news from Coastal - see an update on the Welfare Reform on page 6 and 7 A variety of subjects Competitions and prize draws – there are lots of prizes to be won in this issue including a signed book, magazine subscriptions, a great family day out, a camera and lots of vouchers Cookery and recipes

You also said you enjoyed reading about: • • •

Money- saving tips - page 7 includes some great money saving tips for you Gardening and wildlife Development news

If there is anything you would like to read about in future issues, please contact us.

Win a Canon camera Canon PowerShot A1300 Simply point and shoot for superb photos and HD movies with the versatile 16 Megapixel PowerShot A1300. Use the optical viewfinder for a comfortable view and the Help button to get to know your camera.

Send your answers to: Caption Competition, Coastal Housing Group, 3rd floor, 220 High Street, Swansea SA1 1NW or email: ask@coastalhousing.co.uk Closing date 30 April 2013

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Dave’s Dilemmas Dave The Sheep helps sort out your life

If Twitter’s 140 characters just aren’t enough for you to say everything you’ve got to say, maybe blogging is perfect for you! 14-year-old Holly looks at getting started.

Q

Create your blog What’s it about? Books? Fashion? Animals? Your life? Think of a name that’s suitable and unique. Design your page content and change everything around until it’s how you like it.

MY NEIGHBOUR UPSTAIRS KEEPS USING HIS WASHING MACHINE LATE AT NIGHT. I am generally in bed by 10pm and usually asleep by the time it gets to the spin cycle. It’s so loud, it wakes me up and then I struggle to get back to sleep again. I haven’t said anything to my neighbour because I don’t know him and I don’t want to upset him, but it’s affecting me in work as I feel so tired the next day. I’m starting to wonder if he’s doing it on purpose to annoy me. I’m at the end of my tether, please help!

DAVE SAYS:

You say you wonder if your neighbour is doing this on purpose to annoy you, but as you haven’t spoken to him about how it is affecting you, I think that this is unlikely. Many people put their washing machines on during the evening not realising it may cause a disturbance to others. In the first instance, I suggest you speak to your neighbour, perhaps when the washing machine is on one day and then you can demonstrate how noisy it is in your home. Or if it is too late in the day then speak to him the next morning. As I said, maybe your neighbour has just not realised that it is disturbing you. If the disturbance continues, Coastal can approach your neighbour on your behalf and have a look at where the machine is situated. It may be that the machine hasn’t been fitted properly and is knocking against an adjacent wall, which could be causing the noise, or we might be able to fit cushioned feet so that there is less noise. Hope this helps!

Choose which website you’ll use to create your blog There are loads of different (free) sites you can use so have a look around and ask for suggestions. ‘Blogger’ is my favourite because it’s so easy to use and there’s lots of other blogs you can follow.

Create a Blog Button Your Blog Button should sum up your blog; be unique and eye-catching. Tell people they can add it to their blog by sharing a link to yours. If you say you’ll do the same in return they are much more likely to add it!

Create your profile It’s fine to enter your age and/or gender but don’t include things like your phone number and never give out your address. If I need to enter a name for my profile, sometimes I’ll use my pets name or a favourite character, but you should never put your full name.

COMPETITION WINNERS These lucky people have all been successful in our Autumn/Winter competitions and prize draws: Meal for two at the Grape & Olive Restaurant • D Murphy, Mount Pleasant

Personalise your blog To get started, you could download a photo or an animated GIF* of your name and sign off every post with it. Even changing a little thing will make you blog more interesting and professional.

*Graphics Interchange Format – a set of images in a specific order, looped continuously like a video played over and over.

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Adjust the settings Make sure your privacy settings are as you like them. You can make your blog as accessible or inaccessible as you like.

Think about what and how often you’re going to be blogging I try not to blog too much or too little. I often balance it out and try to make routine posts such as ‘Fashion Friday’ or ‘Movie Monday’.

Follow or just look at some other blogs. If your blog isn’t getting many views/follows, then have a look at some other blogs and see what is. I find that looking at other blogs gives me ideas for my own.

A • • • • •

night at the Movies - Pirates DVD Mr Skone, SA1 Miss Morton, Pontardulais Mrs Williams, Cadoxton Mr Burtonshaw, Swansea Mr Healy, Mount Pleasant

A night at the Movies - Cinema Tickets • D Murphy, Mount Pleasant Readership Survey - £20 voucher • Mrs Scott, Townhill Slow Cooker Prize Draw • Mr Fowley, Pontardawe • Mr Morgan, Swansea • Mr Billington, Swansea

Spot the Difference - Theatre Tickets • Mrs Eastman, Sketty Colouring Competition – Colouring set • Louise, Sandfields, Port Talbot • Sean, Sandfields, Swansea Homeswapper Monthly Draw Love to Shop voucher • Jackie, Treboeth - November • Ms Morgan, Cadoxton – December • Mr Davies, Neath - January

£100 Vouchers • Mr Richards, Neath • Mr Greenslade, Waun Wen • Mr & Mrs Leonard, West Cross • Mr Griffiths, Brynmill • Mr Wallace, Mount Pleasant And 250 people received £10 vouchers

Welfare Survey Prize winners iPad • Mr Taylor, Briton Ferry Kindle Fire • Mr Raxster, Swansea • Mrs Morcom, Morriston

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Insider information

Free Gas Safety Checks By law, all gas boilers and gas fires in housing association properties need an annual safety check by a Gas Safe registered engineer. This will include: • • •

Emergency repairs out-of-hours service

Annual servicing flue and ventilation check Carbon monoxide check Mains wired smoke alarms check.

You MUST allow the gas service engineers working for Coastal Housing into your home to do their work. If we try, and fail, to get access, we will take legal action against you. “Carbon Monoxide can KILL, make sure you get your FREE gas check”

HomeSwapper Who will you swap with? HomeSwapper is the biggest and best home swapping service in the UK for social housing tenants. Every year the service successfully helps thousands of people swap homes across the UK. As a Coastal tenant this service is completely FREE for you to join, and allows you to find properties from a variety of social landlords, as well as Coastal, giving you a much better chance at finding the swap you want. There is no limit to the number of refusals you make, and you can access the site to explore your options at your own leisure. It only takes four simple steps to get started: 1. Log on to: www.homeswapper.co.uk 2. Enter your details and the type of home you are looking for 3. HomeSwapper automatically matches you to potential home swaps 4. They will email or text you the details of your matches for you to look at.

Paying your rent Your rent and any service charges are due weekly in advance and are charged to your account every Monday morning. YOU must make sure that your rent is paid on time. There are lots of easy ways to pay:

Making a comment or complaint If you have a problem with any of our services we’ll try our best to resolve it quickly and effectively. All complaints are logged and then passed on to the relevant person in the organisation to deal with it, who will become your named contact. You can also speak to the manager of the relevant team about your complaint. If the problem is out of our control to fix, we will let you know. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, then you can write to the Chairman of our Board of Management, Mr Francis Jones, at our Swansea office address.

PayPoint: Use your Allpay card (up to a maximum of £124.99 in any single transaction) anywhere you see the PayPoint sign. Post Office: Pay by cash or cheque at any post office. Cheques should be made payable to: Post Office Ltd

Public Services Ombudsman

Debit or Credit Card: Call Allpay on: 0870 243 6040 or the 24hr service at: www.allpayments.net or pay via our website: www.coastalhousing.co.uk . Follow the link from ‘Tenant Services’ to ‘Pay Rent’. You can also pay by Debit or Credit Card, but NOT cash, at any of our offices.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales will look into any complaint from a member of the public about the way they have been treated by a public body, including a housing association.

Direct Debit: Pay your rent weekly or calendar monthly in advance by direct debit. Please ask us for a direct debit form.

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales 1 Old Field Road, Pencoed, Bridgend, CF35 5LJ Phone: 0845 601 0987 Email: ask@ombudsman-wales.org.uk www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk

By Cheque payable to: Coastal Housing Group Ltd Write your name and address on the back, send to: Coastal Housing Group Ltd, 3rd Floor, 220 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1NW. Your area Housing Officer or Support Worker can check if you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to and also give free debt advice, speak to them if you have trouble paying your rent.

Address to Serve Notice Section 48(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 10987 requires that we provide you with an address at which notices may be served on Coastal Housing Group Ltd, your Landlord. Coastal Housing Group Ltd, 3rd Floor, 220 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1NW

Home Insurance for tenants “HomeSwapper made a tremendous difference to our lives. Following my hip replacement operation it meant that we could move straight into our bungalow.”

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Communal areas As of March 2012 the Welsh Fire and Rescue Service Policy stated that no storage or the charging of mobility scooters is permitted in communal areas. The rubber tyres on bikes are also hazardous in a fire so bikes cannot be stored in communal areas either. Coastal is responsible for your communal areas and it is important that all exits leading out are kept clear in case of emergency. If you have any issues or questions about these guidelines or for all rules about communal areas please refer to your tenancy conditions or alternatively you can contact any one of our Housing Officers.

Home contents insurance may be the last thing on your mind, especially when you have lots of other outgoings. But have you thought about how you would replace all your furniture and other possessions if the worst happened and you had a fire, flood or burglary?

Coastal Housing contact details:

My Home Contents insurance offers affordable contents cover for leaseholders and tenants. Call: 0845 337 2463

Swansea Office: 3rd Floor, 220 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1NW Neath Office: 41-43 Windsor Road, Neath, SA11 1NH Telephone: 01792 479200, email: ask@coastalhousing.co.uk

If you smell gas: Call the National Gas Emergency Line on: 0800 111 999 Emergency Repairs We provide an Emergency Repairs service outside of our normal office hours – at evenings and weekends. Emergency Repairs telephone: 08453 100 100 (24-hour) Emergencies are classed as: • A major leak • Total failure of electrics • Fire • Locking yourself out • Personal security • Sewage overflow • Complete failure of heating system between 1 November and 1 May. In an emergency we will visit within four hours and the repair will be completed, or made safe, within 24-hours. If the call out is NOT an emergency or it’s your own fault (e.g lost keys) then we will charge you for the work. For general repairs and enquiries: 01792 479200 or contact Coastal Housing Group Ltd.

Out-of-hours emergency office number: 0845 680 8888 SPRING 2013 220 COASTAL MAGAZINE

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TOP APPS We asked via Facebook and Twitter: “What are your ‘Top five Apps’?” This is what’s trending! Twitter - 500,250,000 active users Worldwide Facebook - 61,499,220 active users Worldwide Pinterest - 25,000,000 unique monthly visitors Worldwide Ebay - Has a global customer base of 233,000,000 Instagram - 80,000,000 users Worldwide You also liked Skype, Google Chat and IMDB

Coastal

Social Media We are #SocialPeople! Check out these cool websites that have been recommended to us: www.myhappymap.co.uk www.pickledruby.com www.lovebeingbritish.co.uk

www.hunkydoryhome.com www.stumbleupon.co.uk

AMAZING SOCIAL MEDIA FACTS

“140 billion Friend connections a day”

“340 million Tweets per day”

CHECK OUT OUR LATEST PHOTOS ON OUR INSTAGRAM PROFILE

“One out of every seven minutes spent online is on Facebook”

“3,600 photos are shared every minute of every day on Instagram”

“Every second, one new user joins LinkedIn” JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION…

Tweet us @coastalhousing Follow us on Facebook and Instagram Let us know what you think of your new 220 magazine.

“Out of the six billion people on the planet, 4.8 billion have a mobile device while 4.2 billion own a toothbrush” SPRING 2013 220 COASTAL MAGAZINE

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Spring 2013 Magazine