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Win a ÂŁ20 cinema gift card - see back cover to find out how

your quarterly magazine from family mosaic

benefits capped 3

Nationwide limits

youth challenge 8

Show you can shine!

find a great job 9 Have faith in yourself

autumn 2013

OWN YOUR DREAM HOME AN AFFORDABLE WAY TO HOME OWNERSHIP q see pages 4 and 5


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editorial we can...

news round-up

fill the gap

welfare reforms

In London, the gap between the cost of renting one of our homes and the cost of renting a home privately, or buying one outright, is huge and growing. ‘Shared ownership’ helps fill that gap. It lets you part buy a share of a property. Some of you want to move but can’t because the shortage of social housing means the waiting lists are too long. Some of you want to buy your home, as an investment in your family’s future, but can’t afford the deposit.

Shared ownership is a great solution to problems like these – if you’re employed and you want or need to move. We can even sell you a share of the home you’re renting from us now if you’re a Family Mosaic tenant. Nearly all of our new housing developments have some properties available for shared ownership. We build and sell about 300 of these homes every year and they always sell quickly, much more so than the other homes we build for sale.

inside this issue 4, 5

8

10

shared ownership

youth action

home moves

get with the programme

Transfer policy

Now we can put you through your paces for one of the three Duke of Edinburgh awards

photo credit: c0ver shot - charlotte Sexton, EDITORIAL portrait - paul SANDERS

girl talk moving on up The affordable way to get on the property ladder in a rising property market - double page feature

Inspiration from leading women in business

9 finding work

Local news and events near you, including the cost of buying in your area through shared ownership

11

your services

warmer homes Home insulation drive to start off in east London

gas safety

6, 7

regional news

It's about homes, not football players. We want it to be fit for purpose and we want your views on our latest proposals

Vital inspections due

true life Believe in yourself, and our employment team's service, Jennifer Carty tells other job seekers

front cover stars

12 word search Home ownership special

Contacting us

Children at Old Oak Community & Children's Centre in Acton take advantage of a play and stay session to form their first band

There are risks, just as there are with any way of becoming a home owner. House prices can go down as well as up. Your circumstances may change - you may change jobs or lose a job. Your income might drop or something else might make demands on your budget. But our research tells us that most of you aspire to own your own home. If you genuinely want to make that move we can help.

Brendan Sarsfield Chief Executive

connections is your magazine Connections is written for you, to tell you about changes to your services and local news. But we are looking for people to send in ideas, write articles and take photos about things going on in your community. If you’re interested, contact the editor at charlotte.sexton@ familymosaic.co.uk or call Charlotte J020 7089 1140. If you would like to get Connections by email, or would rather not get it at all, please tell us!

volunteer befrienders support fire evacuees

don't get left behind Has your housing benefit been cut?

Benefit cap rolled out nationwide

In April, the government brought in the bedroom tax and began ‘capping’ benefits in some boroughs, as part of its welfare reforms. Because of the changes, some of you will have had your housing benefit cut. You may have applied for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) to help make up the amount lost. In most cases, a DHP is only paid for a few months so when it ends you need to apply for it again. Please think about your other options. Can you afford to ‘stay and pay’ or is it time to move to a smaller home.

On 12 August the benefit cap began applying to people in every borough across the country. Couples and families of working age, where no one in the household works, now have their total weekly benefits capped at £500. Benefits for single people are capped at £350 a week. That includes any housing benefit. If the DWP has contacted you to say you are affected and you would like a benefit check, advice on budgeting, or help finding employment, please contact one of our welfare rights advisers.

For advice on applying for a DHP, to find out who is exempt from the bedroom tax or for advice on capped benefits contact one of our welfare rights advisers (see back page for numbers). For advice on moving to a smaller home, contact the housing options team by calling q 0300 123 3456.

Volunteer befrienders among you have been pushing the boat out for older tenants evacuated from their sheltered housing after a fire. All 35 tenants have been put up in temporary homes, and their situation has been much eased by a big jump in the number of visits they have had from befrienders.

More volunteers needed

There are many more isolated and lonely Family Mosaic customers in London who would benefit from our befriending service and we badly need more volunteers. Could you spare up to two hours a week to visit someone? All our befrienders are given training and guidance and they also give each other lots of mutual support. The befriending programme supports Family Mosaic customers in London and some other regions. To find out more about befriending call volunteer programme coordinator Toni Rushton on q020 7089 1096 or email volunteering@ familymosaic.co.uk

new talent to chair the board

Rent draw winners The following tenants have won £250 each following our quarterly draw of all tenants who make sure their rent account stays in credit. South: Mrs Sullivan, SE21 East/Essex: Mrs Sebastiao, E9 North/west: Mr Dooley, N19

welfare reforms

We are delighted to announce that British Gas director Ian Peters joined the board as our new 'non-executive' chair on 19 September.

Private sector expertise New chair Ian Peters

Ian is managing director of residential energy at British Gas, responsible for 10 million customers. He is also a longserving board member of Carers UK and

will bring a wealth of relevant skills and experience to Family Mosaic. 'It is a privilege to take over the reins as chair at such an important time in the evolution of Family Mosaic,' Ian says. 'Housing associations face many challenges and opportunities. I am confident that I join a responsible, well-run organisation, and look forward to helping shape its future.'

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Who can buy using shared ownership? your income

●● in London your total household income

moving on up 4

must be under £66,000 a year for a one or two bedroom home or no more than £80,000 for a family-sized home (three or more bedrooms) ●● outside London, your total household income must be £60,000 or less

Do you dream of owning your own home but worry that you’ll never save enough to get a mortgage? Or maybe you think the idea too far-fetched. With shared ownership, it could be possible Shared ownership is a lowcost way to take your first step on the property ladder. It works by letting you buy a share in a property while paying a subsidised rent to us on the share we hold. Over time you can gradually buy out our share, so ultimately you could own it outright. The size of your first share in the property will depend on what you can afford to pay for with savings and a mortgage. You could buy as

little as a 30% share to start with, or as much as 75%. You will have to budget for monthly repayments on your mortgage, for rental payments to us, and for normal household running expenses and repairs. Most shared ownership properties have a 125-year lease which gives you broadly similar rights and responsibilities to that of someone who owns their home outright.

To find out more about upcoming shared ownership properties near you and the cost of buying locally, see centre pages.

Why buy a shared ownership home? ●● a home in a prime

location with good transport links ●● a much smaller deposit than you would need if taking out a full mortgage

●● white goods like the

●● you should either be a first time

buyer or a newly formed household, for example starting again after a relationship break-up

your finances

●● you must be able to buy, at least,

the minimum share on offer

●● you must pass a financial assessment. ●● You must have a good credit history ●● You will need £4,000 to cover the

How to apply for shared ownership At Family Mosaic, we have been able to help people in very different situations buy through shared ownership – young or old, in full-time work or freelancing, living on their own or moving in with family. All had just one thing in common – they couldn’t afford to buy on the open market.

Step 1 - Find a property or housing development that you like using the search options on our sales website www. familymosaicsales.co.uk Step 2 - During office hours, call us on q 020 7089 1315 or contact us online. If you are interested in properties in Essex, you must first register your details with the local Homebuy agent. To find out if you qualify for shared ownership, call us on q 020 7089 1315 or visit www.familymosaicsales.co.uk where you can download Your guide to shared ownership for FREE.

cost of buying. This sum will include solicitors' fees, mortgage arrangement fees, moving costs, etc ●● You will need extra funds to put down a deposit. This will reflect the cost of the share you buy, your mortgage lender's requirements and your credit rating. ●● You must be employed, self-employed or otherwise able to show you can afford to pay for home ownership in the long term. Student loans, bursaries and similar are not accepted. Housing benefit will not cover mortgage payments.

How do we choose who gets priority? We give priority to anyone giving up a housing association or council tenancy and people in the armed forces. Other priorities vary by borough, set by the local council or written into planning conditions. Typically, people living or working in the borough will get priority. Family size and location and your current housing situation are also important factors as is the outcome of a financial interview and identity checks.

Freelancer Lesley, now 60, was renting in Highbury and house-hunting locally but knew she couldn’t afford to buy on the open market. She was delighted to find that she could afford to buy through our shared ownership scheme. Lesley has taken a 35% share, valued at £98,000, of a one-bedroom flat in a popular part of Islington. The flat’s full market value is £280,000. Lesley says: ‘Because of my age and working freelance, I was certain I wouldn’t qualify. The sales team recommended a broker and solicitor who were patient and helpful. 'It took six months but the team was really supportive in getting my application approved, which could have been very difficult on my own. ‘Shared ownership has given me freedom to enjoy life without a large mortgage payment each month. I feel so lucky living in the area I love but at an affordable price.’

Max had been renting a house in west Kensington with four others for five years and he jumped at the chance to buy a flat locally. Now 35, he had been saving for years, hoping to buy a home on the open market. Shared ownership, he realised, would let him buy on his own and much sooner than he’d thought possible. Max says: ‘I was just coming to terms with having to move further out so was relieved to find that I could stay in my hometown as a home owner. Being able to secure a twobedroom flat was astonishing.' Max’s new home was on the market for the second time, having been sold back to us by its first 'shared owner'. ‘The best part is knowing I’m going to live in an established community,’ Max says. ‘I’m looking forward to putting my own stamp on things. It’s going to be a place that is my own space!’

max

fridge and washing machine are part of the deal, along with excellent built-in fittings ●● instead of spending money on rent, you part-own a home and can save for a bigger share.

new household

lesley

shared ownership

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shared ownership near you

from east London

biggs square on the buses

football gives career a kickstart!

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Inspir ing: Coyen, right, with fellow coaches Frank and Dylan

Over 50 children from Biggs Square in Hackney Wick signed up to the Youth Academy’s new Biggs Square Kids Club (BSKC) at the start of the summer holidays.

Energy to burn

The club was set up to give the children fun ways to use up their boundless energy. A barbecue at

the club’s launch helped fuel their energy, but weekly visits from the Hackney Play Bus offered plenty of great ways to burn it off! Lots of parents from the square helped run the club as volunteers and, following high demand from parents and children, football sessions on Thursdays were added to the Monday bus visits.

Do you live at Biggs Square and want to get involved? We would welcome volunteer help with the following activities over the next few months: ●● gardening ●● arts and craft ●● Macmillan Cancer funding

coffee mornings (starting on 5 October) ●● After school (began on 4 September and will be held 4-6pm every Wednesday until the beginning of December).

To find out more about BSKC activities or to take part, contact Sandra on q 07932 821 028 or email hbskidsclub@gmail.com

Coyen Roseman, one of the coaches running the Biggs Square football sessions, joined our Football Academy four years ago, in 2009. Now 21, Coyen told us he had joined the academy to make new friends and better use of his time. He’s met both goals, forming several strong friendships and completing his Football Association level 1 qualification. But not only is Coyen putting his football qualification to good use at Biggs Square, he has also become a trainer with our Get Connected project, helping to teach other people to use a computer. ‘I’m grateful for and appreciate all the support and help I’ve received from the Youth Academy,’ Coyen says. Senior coach Frank says: 'It  has been great working with Coyen. Coyen is motivated and engaging and has an excellent rapport with his peers and the players. He has been a real asset to the Football Academy.’

Available now! 2 Wharf View Court, Poplar Two-bedroom flat with balcony in a four-storey block built in 2001 and now on the market again for the first time. Features include secure door entry system and car parking space. Close to central Poplar’s shops, restaurants and bars. Excellent links to public transport, including All Saints DLR and Canary Wharf tube station. Price from: £245,000 Minimum share: 50% Valued at: £122,500 Monthly rent: £246.54 Monthly service charge: £115.73 (estimate)

Reality check! Can you afford the cost of shared ownership? Full market value

£275,000

Your share (min %)

30%

Your share’s value

£82,500

Deposit needed (10%) £4,125

Coming in winter 2014 Lime Wharf, Hackney

One-, two- and three-bedroom flats at Branch Place in N1, on the banks of Regents Canal. Just a short walk or cycle ride from Upper Street in Islington, offering high street shopping, eating out and nightlife. Central location with excellent transport links. Prices: to follow

Mortgage needed

£78,375

Estimated monthly rent on unsold share

£320.83

Estimated monthly mortgage payment

£490.22

Estimated monthly service charge

£125

Minimum single income needed

£33,926

Minimum joint income £37,658 needed

Total monthly outgoings

£936.05

Plenty of puff from Celia

val’s fruity fundraiser

Val Glanville, our unofficial community champion at Lichen Court in Ilford, has raised a whopping £450 for charity Cancer Research by organising a strawberry tea. Funded by the Maisie Sheed Trust, Val’s Lichen Court neighbours enjoyed tea with scones, jam, strawberries and clotted cream. The grown-ups took part in bingo and a raffle to raise money while a bouncy castle and face painter kept the younger guests entertained. Val feels passionately about Cancer Research UK and has been raising money for the charity for years. We say: keep up the good work Val!

Mortgage calculation is based on 95% repayment loan over 25 years at interest rate of 5.69% (assumes paying 5% deposit). Rent percentage interest is 2%. This figure is a guide only. You must get advice from a qualified adviser.

local news

7


youth action 

8

wake up and get with the programme! Do you want new experiences and challenges, and to uncover hidden talents? The Duke of Edinburgh’s award programme does just that. An adventure from start to finish, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. All you need is to be aged 14 to 24 and to know there’s more to life than watching TV. We’ve just become a licensed DofE organisation so can now support you while you work towards a bronze, silver or gold award. The nationally-recognised scheme has three elements: volunteering, skills and physical activity. Each can be matched to your interests. The award is well respected by employers so might even help you get a job in the future! To take part in the programme or find out more, call Youth Academy team leader Reg Amoah on q020 7089 1099 or email reg.amoah@familymosaic.co.uk

Phew - summer's over! The Youth Academy has had a very busy summer supporting activities and events across London and Essex, from coach trips to Southend, pictured, to a children’s gardening project at Biggs Square in Hackney. We also supported parents, working parents in particular, by helping with the cost of summer activities for their children. Our Summer of Choice programme gave financial support to over 160 parents, helping to pay for activities that included rock climbing and dance. One customer said: 'Thank you so much for all the Youth Academy's support over the summer. It was fantastic for the children to take part in activities they've always wanted to do and kept them out of mischief. I am really grateful for all the work you do in the community.' To find out what other opportunities the Youth Academy can offer please email Reg Amoah reg.amoah@family mosaic.co.uk

finding ∩ work girl talk: young women take tips for success from biz whizzes A group of ambitious young Family Mosaic women took part in one of a series of Girl Talk debates in July, run by the Rafiki Network. The monthly event, this time held at Google's Shoreditch campus, is being staged at venues across London to bring young women together for inspiration, motivation and advice from successful career women. The July debate focused on achieving your aspirations, and asked whether graduating from university was essential to becoming a success. Some speakers said that they had achieved their success without a university education. The key they said was to choose your interest, then focus on it, channel your efforts and do your research. Don’t let anyone dictate and define your life. You are in control of your destiny. 'It was lovely to see so many successful black women in one room sharing their stories and bringing us all through their journeys,' said Tanika Yearwood.

bootcamp was just the ticket case study: jennifer cartY ‘Since becoming unemployed in 2011, my journey back into employment has not been easy,’ writes Jennifer Carty of Forest Hill. ‘But it has been worth every bit of the effort and energy I have put into gaining employment. Lost independence

‘My last job as an administrator

gave me independence and kept me busy, particularly after losing my two brothers within the space of just 10 months. ‘But now, here I was unemployed, depressed, sometimes unable to eat and struggling to pay the bills. My confidence and self esteem had reached low levels. Some days I just didn’t want to get out of bed. ‘In January this year I met Patricia, one of Family Mosaic’s employment team. She was so

kind, patient and encouraging. She would regularly find jobs that I could apply for and sent me emails offering support. ‘Then one day she mentioned the employment boot camp. At first I was sceptical, thinking that it was just another government scheme that wouldn’t help. ‘I didn’t feel like I needed help with literacy, numeracy or writing a CV, or assertiveness, nutrition or exercise. What I needed was A Job! ‘But I had nothing to lose so decided to give it a go. After all, there was only so much voluntary work I was prepared to do! ‘When one of the trainers told me, ‘there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be employed,’ I felt my confidence and selfesteem begin to return. I’m so glad I did it.

We believe that having a good job and gaining new skills makes people happier, healthier and wealthier. We believe that given access to the right support, guidance and opportunities, people can achieve their full potential. We are here to support the journey.

employmentteam@familymosaic.co.uk

Outgoing: Southend trippers

employment team

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❝ Now I don’t have to ‘report’ to the Jobcentre... and I can make plans for my life ❞ - Jennifer Carty

‘It was not only enjoyable but it ultimately led to my getting a job as receptionist at a dentist surgery. ‘I am so very grateful for all the help and encouragement I’ve been given by Family Mosaic’s employment team. ‘I would also say to anyone who is currently unemployed: don’t give up! It can happen. Now I don’t have to ‘report’ to the Jobcentre, I have my independence back and I can make plans for my life.’ If you want help finding a job or are interested in finding out more about our apprenticeship placements, just call the employment team on J020 7089 1345 or email employmentteam@ familymosaic.co.uk


home moves

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our full planned policy proposals You can pick up our transfer policy consultation information sheet from any Family Mosaic office or download it at www.familymosaic.co.uk

transfer list: sharper focus on greatest needs We want to change the focus of our housing transfers policy to better help people in the greatest need and to encourage those of you who are able to help yourselves to do just that. Head of Housing Options Clive Meredeen explains why

The main planned policy changes The main change will be making our housing transfer list open only for tenants: ●● in the most urgent need ●● who are ‘down-sizing’ ●● who our housing managers say have to move for safety reasons or something equally important ●● who have to move because their home needs extensive repairs or is to be sold.

your services

calling the customer care line...

just dial ✆ 0300 123 3456 » then press 2 open 8am-8pm ● mondays to fridays open saturday mornings ● 9am-1pm

keeping warm

You said… the information we held about repairs and appointments was inaccurate. We now... make sure that our

customer care line records all of the relevant information when you report a repair so that we have a clear record if needed.

Other planned changes are designed to improve the way our transfer list and ‘choicebased’ lettings system work.

When will it happen?

We are proposing two stages for the changes. The main change will apply to new applicants from 1 February 2014 and existing applicants from 1 October 2015. The other changes will apply to new and existing applicants from 1 April 2014.

Happy move: Mrs K is happy in her new home, after downsizing from a larger property

Last year we introduced new fixed-term tenancies, replacing the older style tenancy ‘for life’. We did this partly because there is a very serious shortage of social housing. But it’s also so that those of you who can move on do so because our homes should be there for people who have no other way of finding a home.

Why change

We are planning big changes to our transfer policy. The changes have been triggered by three things. First, the number of you asking to move remains at a level much higher than the number of homes we can offer. Second, a huge number of transfer offers are being

turned down. Third, we know some of you are in a position to sort out your own housing needs without much help from us.

Transfer list closes to people with non-urgent needs

We plan to stop adding people to the list who need to move because of overcrowding, poor health or disability, from 1 April next year. People in this category already on the list will be taken off it on 1 October 2015. We will make sure you understand your other options for 'rehousing' and if you apply for your local council’s housing register we will work with them to make sure that you are treated the same as other local people.

Tell us your views

If you are on the transfer list you will get a questionnaire by midOctober. It will also be posted on our website. To ask questions and tell us your views on the policy proposals, get in touch between Monday 16 September and Monday 18 November: qPhone our helpline, open from 10am-4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays on q020 3478 9926. All calls to the helpline will be returned within five working days. hEmail transferconsultation @familymosaic.co.uk  In person at drop-in sessions in at Albion House on Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9.30am-12.30pm. No appointment needed.

you said and we listened: Shaping up our services

This month we launch our affordable warmth project so we might soon be making your Family Mosaic home more energy efficient by installing loft insulation or draught proofing.

Three boroughs

We will be starting in Newham, Waltham Forest and Southwark. If you live in one of these areas then look out for news from our affordable warmth team.

Making sure gas is safe to use in all your homes It is vital for your own safety that we get any gas boilers and gas-fired appliances that we have fitted in your home properly checked once a year.

Gas inspectors

We work with an organisation called Gas Advisory Services to make sure all gas works are carried out safely, within the law and to a high quality standard. GAS also offers advice on energy efficiency, cutting energy bills and (for us) improving our service. Your role is making sure Gas Advisory Services is able to get into your home to carry out the

safety checks. They will write to you telling you when they are planning to visit your home. If you cannot be in on the date and time they give, please call them to arrange an alternative appointment on q01322 331 312, choosing option 1.

Look out for the proper logo

You said… we needed to improve the way we manage extensive works being done to individual properties. We now... make sure our

surveyors oversee each property needing extensive works until all works are completed so you know who to contact and where to get updates.

You said… that our policy setting out your responsibilities and ours for repairs to fixtures and fittings was not clear. We are... reviewing our guidance to make sure that it is very clear what fixtures and fittings you are responsible for looking after and those that we look after.

customer care line We are very sorry that calls to our customer care line have come up against delays since we brought repairs calls back in-house. We are trying hard to bring waiting times down and hope you will soon notice some sustained improvements. Thank you for your patience.

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win £20 cinema gift card

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win cinem£20 gift c a ard

There are 18 words about shared ownership hidden in our wordsearch. The first person to send in a correctly completed wordsearch wins a £20 cinema gift card. Send your entry to Sales Team, Family Mosaic, Albion House, 20 Queen Elizabeth Street, London SE1 2RJ.

get a good new habit Change4Life is asking families to make just one healthy change when the children go back to school in September, and to keep it going for six weeks from the start of term. Sign up for a FREE Smart Restart and your family will get email and text messages offering support and encouragement. And for the kids there’ll be special offers, competitions and virtual rewards. To keep on track, there’s a freephone smart app linking you to tips and ideas for turning that one change into a long lasting healthy habit. Just go online to www.nhs.uk/Change4Life to sign up to our six-week back to school programme, download the app and get tips and tools to help you on your way. Call centre: longer opening hours

limits screen time a new spo rt

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healthier lu nches healthier snacks

recruiting: tenant scrutiny panel The Family Mosaic Independent Tenant Scrutiny Panel is looking for new members. Please email resident.scrutiny @familymosaic.co.uk or  call q020 3544 9409.

Staying in touch with us General needs housing or leasehold enquiries: Customer care line q0300 123 3456, option CustomerCareLine@ familymosaic.co.uk Open from 8am to 8pm weekdays 9am to 12pm Saturday mornings Report repairs 24 hours a day online at www.familymosaic.co.uk or q0300 123 3456, option If you live in London press 1 If you live in Essex press 2 Head office Albion House, 20 Queen Elizabeth St, SE1 2RJ q020 7089 1000 www.familymosaic.co.uk Essex office Pembroke House, Northlands Pavement, Pitsea SS13 3DU q01268 498 500 Care and support London q020 7089 1000 Essex q01268 498 500 Welfare rights officers To speak to a welfare rights officer call the customer care line on q0300 123 3456, option or call the adviser for your area: north and west London q020 7089 1323 south and east London q020 7089 1187 Hackney and Essex q01268 498 563 Employment team (formerly Pathways2work) q020 7089 1345

Interested in shared ownership? For all enquiries about shared ownership contact us at wwwfamilymosaicsales.co.uk h sales@familymosaic.co.uk q 020 7089 1315


Connections autumn 2013 east