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September 2010

StreetsAhead

THE MAGAZINE FOR FREEBRIDGE COMMUNIT Y HOUSING TENANTS

HAVE YOUR

! Y A S

FIND

FREDDY

and win a prize! See pa ge 2 for details.

age 8! p n o le ic t r a e Se

Would you like to be the lucky owner of a brand new mobile phone worth

£200? See page 9 for details!

Streets Ahead is also available as a Video Newsletter in English, Portuguese, Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish Language versions. Streets Ahead taip pat leidžiamas video formatu. Video naujienlaiškis išeina anglų, portugalų, latvių, lietuvių, ir lenkų kalbomis. Streets Ahead ir pieejams arī kā informatīvs izdevums video formātā angļu, portugāļu, latviešu, lietuviešu un poļu valodās. Biuletyn,,Streets Ahead” jest także dostępny jako plik wideo w następujących wersjach językowych: angielskiej, portugalskiej, łotewskiej, litewskiej i polskiej. A Streets Ahead está também disponível como Newsletter em vídeo em inglês, português, letão, lituano e polaco.

www.needtohost.co.uk/freebridge


This Issue 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11

StreetsAhead | September 2010

The Tenant Empowerment Team Hillington Square Update / Social Media Update The Town Diary The Partnership Page

12 13 14 15

You Said We Did Have Your Say On Streets Ahead / Letters

Streets Ahead Feedback Form Shareholding Application Form

These icons offer a quick guide to the page content in Streets Ahead. News from Freebridge

News for all our tenants make sure you don’t miss important information that could affect you.

Are You Struggling With Getting Around Your Home? What Will Happen If You Don’t Pay Your Rent? How Your Income Officer Can Help You / West Norfolk Mind’s Gardening 4 Health Project

Silver Surfers Day

Streets Ahead Feedback Form

Shareholding Regulations

16 17 18 19 20

Caxton Way Planting / Welfare Competition Winner The Freebridge Grassroots Fund Update / Fire Safety Photography Competition / Money Saving Websites Freebridge Community Housing’s Performance Where To Find Us

The Tenant Empowerment Team The Tenant Empowerment Team is changing, find out how in the December issue of Streets Ahead

Features

Stories, features and photos about you, your fellow tenants and Freebridge.

Annette Hyam

Letters and messages from tenants expressing their views and opinions. Jamie Williamson

This entire publication is under copy right, and is not to be duplicated or reproduced in any way without permission. Editor: Jamie Williamson Contributions from: Jenny Bevan (Norfolk Community Foundation), Judith Carter, Robert Clarke, Barbara Davis, Gary Evans, Jacqueline Fry, Albert Havard, Darren Hudson, Sean Kent, Angus Macqueen, Jacquie Yaxley, Helen Richardson (Miss Frugal), Jamie Williamson, Jen Yaxley.

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Freebridge Bear! We would like to introduce you to Freddy. He will be making a regular appearance in our magazine and if you spot him, you could win yourself a small prize. If you find him, tell us which page he is hiding on (it doesn’t include this page!) and let us know by emailing: jamie.williamson@freebridge.org.uk Or write to: Jamie Williamson (Streets Ahead) Freebridge Community Housing Juniper House, Austin Street King’s Lynn, Norfolk PE30 1DZ Or use Facebook: Drop us a private message on the Tenant Empowerment page

Reader Response

The views expressed in this publication are those of contributors, and not necessarily those of Freebridge Community Housing.

Freddy the

The competition deadline is: 29/10/2010

Designed & Produced by Arena Partnership Limited: 01603 813 932 E-mail: mark@arenapartnership.co.uk Printed by: Barnwell Print Press Consultants: Lynn News Circulation approximately: 7,000


News from Freebridge

Hillington Square Update Your community, Your homes,

Your IDEAS

The beginning of September has seen the Hillington Square project team start meeting to discuss the first draft design for the Square.

Ideas have been gathered from the community, local groups, schools and professional bodies. There will be a consultation period of about eight weeks on the first stage designs, which will take place towards the end of this year and the beginning of 2011.

A mini newsletter has been launched for the Square to keep residents updated on the project as events unfold. Further information will be in the next Streets Ahead and on the Hillington Square website. Would you like to get involved with the project? Contact the Project Manager, Jacqueline Fry on 01553 667707

Social Media Update Since the last issue of Streets Ahead, we have seen a large increase in the number of tenants using social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter to interact with us on a daily basis.

Empowerment Team has access to social media most of the day so they are able to check what is being said on a regular basis. It’s all about providing Freebridge tenants with options.’

Our Facebook page currently has 293 fans and our Tenant Empowerment Team has 355 friends. On Twitter 142 people are following our updates.

Our tenants have recently been given yet another option when it comes to contacting us – The Tenant Portal was launched on 1st June 2010 and has been specifically designed to make things easier for tenants.

Although social media isn’t widely used by housing providers as an engagement tool, we are certainly seeing the benefits. TOWN Chairman, Albert Havard commented ‘Tenants seem to appreciate the fact that they can ask a question or make a comment while they are online rather than having to pick up the phone and possibly have to wait. The Tenant

Working Together

ICT Development Manager, Jacquie Yaxley said ‘Although we have always provided an out-of-hours service to report emergency repairs, many of you have told us that it is difficult to ring in non-emergency repairs during normal working hours as you are at work yourselves and often

Follow us >>>

Our website: www.freebridge.org.uk

do not have access to a phone. We have listened to this and have now provided a portal on our website where customers can log in at any time day or night

Our video news: www.needtohost.co.uk/freebridge

365 days a year and report a non-emergency repair via the internet. These repairs are then dealt with by our staff on the following working day’.

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News from Freebridge

The TOWN Diary It has once again been a busy period for TOWN members of late with a working party set up to look at the TSA (Tenant Services Authority) suggestion for an improvements panel to be established for further tenant involvement in the running of housing associations.

This is specifically to look at ongoing improvements in services where tenants have good reason to request the improvements panel to look, not only into areas of service where failings may be occurring but also where the service has room for improvement. Albert Havard, (Chair of TOWN)

Also to recommend to the department within Freebridge where appropriate action needs to be taken and if necessary refer these evidence based requirements of improvement to the Board of Freebridge.

With Sylvia Pomeroy stepping down it appears to be an apt time to say ‘Thank you all’ and to any other members who also made their contribution during those days of transfer. TOWN and Freebridge, will, together, over the next six months be looking to recruit members from across the whole area of Freebridge Community Housing stock as a truly representative tenant panel. These last few weeks has been a time for reflection with the suggested changes being made in tenant representation and the stepping down from both

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TOWN and the Freebridge Board due to ill-health by TOWN’s previous chair, Sylvia Pomeroy OBE Sylvia is going to be greatly missed by members of TOWN and the many hundreds of tenants she has come into contact with over the years as one of the founder members of TOWN. We all wish her well. Sylvia’s dedication, drive and tenacity, these attributes shared together with other founder members of TOWN including Irene Gammon. Anne Cleary - Fox, Paul Leader, Trudi Clapperton, and the late sadly missed Marjorie Wiffen who all helped to make the transfer from Council to Freebridge possible with the formation of the tenants own association ensuring tenants security within it. Working alongside recently retired tenant empowerment officer Rita O’Donnell, they all, together with staff, formed a team that not just door knocked and visited the nearest but also the furthest regions of where West Norfolk Council had their housing stock, to listen and talk in depth to the tenants about the transfer, they constantly burned

the midnight oil, at various times stuffing as many as 7000 envelopes with letters explaining the merits of the transfer, they regularly attended seemingly endless meetings with hours of discussion and negotiation as to tenant’s rights. Dedication, drive and tenacity are just a few of the attributes that Sylvia shares with the other members like Celia Jayne, Bill Guyan, Sylvia Calver, Barbara Davis and Michael Stone. All of these, concerned individual tenants working as a team, giving their time, energy and dedication on a voluntarily basis to help in ensuring that tenants were well and truly represented. With Sylvia Pomeroy stepping down it appears to be an apt time to say ‘Thank you all’ and to any other members who also made their contribution during those days of transfer. Not forgetting the members of Freebridge staff who contributed equally to the respected partnership formed between tenant and landlord to make Freebridge Community Housing what it is today and what it will be in the future.


News from Freebridge

From: Subject: Date: To:

Robert Clarke Safer Neighbourhood Action Panels - Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour TOGETHER Sept 2010 14:00:38 GMT All our tenants

The Partnership Page

Safer Neighbourhood Action Panels - Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour TOGETHER

You may already be aware that the Housing Department at Freebridge work very closely with Norfolk Constabulary, the Local Authority and many other agencies in tackling Anti-Social Behaviour. However, do you know about the recent changes to the ways in which we are involving local residents in directly identifying priority issues for us to tackle? ‘Safer Neighbourhood Action Panels’ or ‘SNAP’ meetings have now been established across all of the nine Safer Neighbourhood Team areas, and our Housing Team will have a regular presence at six of these panel meetings. SNAP meetings are held approximately every six weeks in the evenings, (usually from 7-9pm), and take the format of a panel comprising of the Police, Borough Council, Freebridge and other partner representatives, responding to concerns raised by any member of the public wishing to attend. The panel then makes a decision on which three or four priority concerns to tackle, and one of the organisations is chosen to format an action plan to tackle with each separate issue. The progress made on each issue is then fed back to members of the public at the following SNAP meeting, making sure that the whole process is very open and transparent and that local residents have a real opportunity to influence the priorities of all agencies concerned, in order to tackle issues that are directly affecting their quality of life. This doesn’t change the normal methods of reporting anti-social behaviour to Freebridge, however it allows residents another opportunity to speak to all agencies involved in tackling issues in their community. For further information regarding the SNAP meetings in your area, so that you can attend to voice any concerns you may have about anti-social behaviour that may be effecting you personally, please see Norfolk Constabulary’s website: http://www.norfolk.police.uk/saferneighbourhoods.aspx and look out for announcements in the Local Papers, as well as posters in prominent spots, parish notice boards etc in your area. You can also contact your Housing Officer at Freebridge who will be happy to provide more information.

Robert Clarke Assistant Director of Housing Tel: 01553 667710

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Features

Freebridge Silver Surfers Day Freebridge Community Housing joined organisations all over the UK on 21st May 2010 in hosting their own Silver Surfers Event at Juniper House Kings Lynn.

‘Silver Surfers’ Day is the biggest, national campaign to promote the use of modern technology amongst the older generation... and what a successful day it was! The number of tenants that attended exceeded our expectations, both at the main event at Juniper House and the smaller events, held at our sheltered schemes all over West Norfolk. Those who came along were given the opportunity to learn about and use various items of modern equipment. There were two Nintendo Wii games consoles set up for tenants to experience a wide range of games and activities such as bowling, tennis and boxing. Competitions between tenants and volunteers took place, and much fun was had by all. Local retailer, Young’s Camera’s also attended the event and with them

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came a wide range of digital technology. They brought along several types of cameras, a digital telescope, a digital photo frame and various other technologies that suited all ages - like a negative reader that retrieved pictures from old negatives, allowing you to save each picture to a memory stick and print them out. This stand was very popular with the tenants browsing the most up-to-date technology.

complete an ‘Information hunt’ by exploring the internet and different websites to get the answers and put their completed form into a prize draw’. Louise added ‘We would like to say thank you to all the tenants who attended to help make the Silver Surfer Day a success.

Some of the tenants got involved with the interactive whiteboard word search that we had on all day, highlighting the words and erasing them out all with the touch of their finger! Event organiser Louise Hodgkin said ‘We had a fantastic response to the Silver Surfers Day, with tenants coming to explore the laptops that we had on

display for using the internet. Some tenants had never used a laptop before and were keen to try it out. All tenants that participated in this event got the chance to

A big Congratulations to Linda Walker who was the winner of the prize draw and won £20 worth of shopping vouchers.


News from Freebridge

You said... We did... We know that we aren’t perfect, as a Landlord we still get things wrong and sometimes we just aren’t able to meet everyone’s demands. However, below are some of the changes that we have made as a result of tenant suggestions. IND THIS DID YOU FTERESTING? ARTICLE INr feedback by y you Give us EE4 followed b ts FR n g e n m ti x m te our co y d n a ly e e a spac 0 or alternativ to 8001 0800 0147722 n call us o a message e and leav g FREE4 quotin

National Customer Service Week Freebridge will be taking part in National Customer Service Week (NCSW) running from the 4th – 8th October 2010. NCSW has been created to raise awareness of the importance of treating your customers well and to value the staff that provide these services. Further information will be made available in all offices and on the Internet (i.e. Facebook, Twitter etc) in the coming weeks.

Customer Focus

You said I want to be able to report non-emergency repairs outside normal working hours. We did Developed the Tenant Portal which can be used to report repairs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You said I don’t want to be passed from department to department when I call to make an enquiry. We did We are in the process of setting up our new Contact Centre which will act as the first point of contact for tenant enquiries. You said I want to be able to give my opinion but can’t make it to tenant meetings because of other commitments. We did We started to interact with tenants via Facebook and Twitter. We now have an active online community of over 350 tenants. You said I want to be able to speak to Freebridge staff in person but am unable to get to their office. We did Last year a dedicated team of Freebridge staff visited (51) locations in a (3) month period to meet and offer advice to our tenants on a range of subjects. You said I am concerned that the decent homes work on my property will disrupt local wildlife such as bats. We did We sought advice from Norfolk Wildlife Services and adapted our DHS plan accordingly to minimise disruption to the wildlife while incurring no additional cost. You said I shouldn’t have to pay when I call to report a repair. We did Plans to introduce a freephone ‘0300’ number are in the pipeline with the line likely to be active by December 2010. You said There isn’t enough information available regarding the work to be done on my non-traditional home. We did Compiled leaflets specific to each style of non-trad home to tell tenants what work is to take place, when it should happen and how long it should take. You said We have a problem with dog fouling and youths climbing over gates in our communal garden area. We did A letter was written to each tenant outlining their Tenancy Agreement responsibilities regarding their pets, a dog-bin was put in place and anti-climb paint was applied to the relevant surfaces.

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News from Freebridge

Have Your Say On... StreetsAhead Times are changing and so are the needs of our customers (that’s you!). At Freebridge we like to try and stay ahead of the game and do what we can to not only meet your expectations as a landlord but exceed them where we can.

Letters

As a result, we welcome your input when it comes to the methods that we use to communicate with you such as Streets Ahead and more recently, social media, and if you feel that we could be doing things better, we want to hear from you.

Recently Freebridge commissioned an agency to gather together a group of our tenants from all over West Norfolk and question them about our services. The feedback that we received was extremely helpful. But now we want to see if the rest of you agree.

If you’ve got something to say, good or bad, then drop us a line at: The Letters Page, Streets Ahead, Freebridge Community Housing, Juniper House, King’s Lynn, Norfolk PE30 1DZ, or email us at streetsahead@freebridge.org.uk

Dear Freebridge Hi, I’ve been having problems with cloudywater. I have to tip three kettles away each morning/afternoon/ night before boiling it for tea/coffee etc. The pipes are also thick with green oxidation? Aside from being a waste of water, it also quite time consuming every day. Could you resolve? Mr T

and agree wholeheartedly that people’s work in the community should be commended. While we are both able to help and make life a little easier for those who are not so able, we shall continue. May I also take this opportunity to thank Freebridge on their ongoing improvement plan and for taking interest in the local community. Keep up the good work. Yours faithfully, Mr D

Freebridge response... Hello Mr T. It certainly sounds like something that needs to be looked into. I will forward your message to the relevant department. If you haven’t heard anything by the end of the week, feel free to come back to me and I will do some chasing for you. Kind regards (Appointment made by Asset Team, problem resolved).

Dear Miss Sparrowhawk (Tenant Welfare Officer) This really is to thank you sincerely for your cooperation and help with my recent problems. All the more so because this has been the first time that I have needed any practical help of any kind, apart from the Doctor and District Nurses. Strangely enough, when you rang me recently, it would have been my wedding anniversary and therefore, 52 years to the day that I first moved into my home. Your support regarding my issue is very much appreciated, especially at such a difficult time. Sincerely yours, Mrs B

Dear Annette (Tenant Empowerment Officer) Thank you for your letter. Both my Wife and I would also like to thank you for our Tenant Award certificates. We both feel that the Tenant Awards are an extremely worthy event

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The form on the opposite page specifically relates to our Streets Ahead magazine. As you can see from the images below, the magazine has come a long way since the first edition which was published in the Spring of 1989.

Dear Annette (Tenant Empowerment Officer Thank you and Freebridge for organising the computer lessons. We did not know how to use a computer until we enrolled on the course and with the help of an excellent tutor Anne we have learnt. After the 2nd lesson we bought a laptop and have gone on the net and have been able to send and receive emails. A big thank you to everyone concerned. “Silver surfers” Mr & Mrs E Dear Jo (Tenant Welfare Officer) I would like to thank you for coming to visit me and for the support that you have given me in sorting out some of my problems. It meant a lot to me knowing that I had had people that I could talk to openly without having to feel worried or scared about asking for help. I appreciate it more than you will ever know. Yours sincerley, Mrs H


News from Freebridge

StreetsAhead Feedback Form General How satisfied are you with Streets Ahead on a whole? (tick one box only) 1

2

3

4

5

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Is there anything that you specifically like or dislike?

Looking to the future, what would you like from us in terms of a news letter? Format

Streets Ahead is currently available in paper form and as a Video News Letter, if we introduced a more environmentally friendly version which could be sent via email or accessed online, would you prefer that? Yes

No

Have you ever seen the Video News Letter?

Yes

No

If you answered ‘Yes’, what did you think of it?

How big & how often?

We produce Streets Ahead 4 times a year and it is usually around 24 pages in size, do you feel that this is... (tick any boxes which apply) Too often

Just right

Not often enough

Content

Are you generally happy with the content of Streets Ahead?

Too big Yes

The right size

Too small

No If you answered ‘No’ Can you tell us why?

Is there anything else that you would like to see included in the magazine?

Would you prefer a news letter that was purely information and to have the feature stories available elsewhere e.g. on our website? Yes

No

For your chance to win a fantastic mobile phone worth £200 all you need to do is tell us your current: Name:

Address: Postcode:

Mobile number:

Email address:

Once completed please fold your form as shown overleaf making sure the address is showing and freepost it to us or drop it off at our reception.

Phone shown is example only.

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FOLD TO LINE

FOLD TO LINE

FREEPOST RSAC - BRGL - SXTL Freebridge Community Housing Rowan House Queens Road Hethersett NORWICH NR9 3DB


Application for Shareholding of Freebridge Community Housing Ltd REGISTERED NUMBER 29744R I apply to become a shareholder of Freebridge Community Housing Limited, of which I am a tenant. I agree to be bound by the rules of Freebridge Community Housing Limited and to act at all times in the interests of the association and for the benefit of the community. I have read the Tenant Shareholding Regulations set out overleaf.

SIGNED: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DATE: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

CONTACT DETAILS NAME (IN FULL): . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ADDRESS: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

TELEPHONE NUMBER: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EMAIL ADDRESS: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Please state any forenames or surnames that you have previously been known by (there is no need to include a maiden name). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Please state and give details if you are an employee or Board member of another housing provider. Please let us know if this situation changes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

IMPORTANT – Please read Tenant Shareholding Regulations overleaf before signing application. Please return this completed form and post in a stamped envelope to: Governance Team, Freebridge Community Housing, Juniper House, Austin Street, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE30 1DZ. For any enquiries, please telephone the Governance Team (01553) 667754 or email enquiries@freebridge.org.uk

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Tenant Shareholding Regulations •

All shareholders agree to be bound by the Rules of Freebridge and agree to act at all times in the interests of the association and for the benefit of the community. You will be sent a copy of the Rules of Freebridge on acceptance as a shareholder.

All applications for shareholding have to be approved by Freebridge’s Board of Directors. This means that there could be a delay of a few weeks between your application and you hearing back from us.

Each share has the nominal value of £1, but you will not have to pay this. It will be paid from a special budget set aside by Freebridge.

Shares have no right to interest, dividend or bonus.

No tenant can hold more than one share.

Shares will be offered to every person over the age of 16 who agrees to be bound by the Rules and is registered as a tenant of the association. (If you are on a starter tenancy, you will become eligible once your tenancy becomes fully assured.)

Shareholders can only belong to one class of shareholding (tenant, independent, Council).

All shareholders will be entered in a Register held by Freebridge.

A tenant shareholder will cease to be a shareholder if they: - - - -

cease to be a tenant are in serious breach of their tenancy agreement become an employee of Freebridge take up a post, or have held a post within the past four years, in a managerial role or in the Housing team at the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk - become, or have been within the past four years, a King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Councillor - fail to attend or submit apologies for two general meetings - are expelled for “conduct detrimental to the association”.

FAIR PROCESSING NOTICE Freebridge Community Housing is collecting these details to enable us to process your application to become a shareholder. Unsuccessful applications will be kept for one year. Successful applications will be kept until one year after termination of shareholding and the details will be used to contact you in the course of duties as a shareholder. Some details of successful applicants will also be entered permanently into the statutory Register of Members and Duplicate Registers of Members. Should you require further information, please contact the Governance Officer (01553 667754) or the Data Protection Officer via the Freebridge ICT Servicedesk (01553 667800).

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News from Freebridge

Are You

Struggling With Getting Around Your

Home? Did you know that Freebridge Community Housing in partnership with Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council can provide aids and adaptations to enable people with a physical disability to live as independently as possible.

If you are a Freebridge tenant and either you or a member of your family has a disability we may be able to help you by: • Assisting you to complete a self referral for Social Services to consider providing special equipment to help you with daily living • Assisting you to complete a self referral for adapting your present home • Arranging for minor aids to be installed • Assisting with re-housing you to a suitably adapted home

Special Equipment from Adult Social Service Depending on your needs you may only require some equipment to help you live in your present home, such as a walking frame or bath and kitchen aids.

Adapting Your Present Home If provision of special equipment is not enough to help you to live independently, Social Services can recommend a range of adaptations. Adaptations are permanent changes to your home and range from minor fittings to major alterations. This type of adaptation is more complex and the changes that can be done will depend on the layout and structure of your home. Examples of this type of adaptation are replacing a bath with a level access shower, widening of doors, kitchen alterations and replacement of outside steps with a ramp.

Minor Adaptations by Freebridge These are simple adaptations, for example: raising the height of sockets, provision of grab rails at the bath or shower, lever taps and external handrails. These can be requested via the Repairs Team on 0800 169 1694

Re-housing If your present home cannot be adapted to suit your needs, you will be considered for re-housing via the Councils ‘Homechoice’ housing scheme to a house that has the facilities to help you to lead a full life. Freebridge staff can assist you in completing the registration forms. Decisions on re-housing are made by the Staff from Housing, Social Services and the Council and each application is considered individually.

Who Can Apply For Adaptations If you or a member of your family has a disability you can apply for aids and adaptations. When you apply we will arrange for specially trained staff to visit your home to carry out an assessment. If you would like to apply or would like to discuss your needs please contact the Tenant Welfare Team on: 01553 667700

Working Together

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News from Freebridge

What Will Happen if You Don’t Pay Your Rent? As you are aware, Freebridge Community Housing is a charity, not for profit organisation. Therefore if we do not collect your rent that is due every week, we will not be able to provide all of our customers with the quality of service that they deserve and that we aim to provide, such as repairing and maintaining their homes.

?

If you are ever unable to pay your rent, please contact your Income Officer immediately by either writing to us, calling in to see us or telephoning the Income team on 01553 667700.

Our aim is to help you to overcome any difficulties you may have paying your rent, not to evict you - eviction is always the last resort. Unfortunately though, and contrary to popular belief, if you do fall into arrears and you do not make and keep to an arrangement to repay the outstanding debt, it may lead to you being evicted from the property, even if you have

Community Housing property in the 2 years following your eviction. It is then also at Freebridge Community Housing’s discretion to accept a former evicted tenant after the exclusion period, where a number of factors will be considered before a decision is made regarding re-housing, i.e. if all rent arrears have been cleared or if there are any outstanding debts to Freebridge Community Housing.

Our aim is to help you to overcome any difficulties you may have paying your rent, not to evict you - eviction is always the last resort. children or nowhere else to go. Following an eviction there is a 2 year exclusion period for any former tenant, meaning we will refuse any application you may make for another Freebridge

Date

Household Details*

May 2009

Single adult

May 2009

Parent and 2 dependent children

July 2009

Single adult

July 2009

Single adult

August 2009

Single adult

August 2009

Single adult

September 2009

Parent and 2 dependent children

September 2009

Couple and 3 dependent children

September 2009

Couple and 4 dependent children

November 2009

Couple

December 2009

Couple and 1 child

February 2010

Single adult

February 2010

Parent and 3 dependent children

March 2010

Single adult

Please see below a list of households that were evicted by Freebridge Community Housing from April 2009 to March 2010. Please don’t become one of them in 2010-11:

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* Based on records held by Freebridge Community Housing. Please remember – Your Income Officer is here to help.

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News from Freebridge

How Your Income Officer Can Help You Paying your rent is one of the most important parts of your Tenancy Agreement. At Freebridge Community Housing we understand that from time to time you may struggle with your finances. If you are having difficulty paying your rent, the most important thing you should do is to contact your Income Officer. Your Income Officer can offer advice and assistance either over the telephone or face-to-face within our office, with private rooms available if needed. When you contact your Income Officer he/she will aim to help in as many ways as possible, such as: • Agreeing affordable and realistic repayment plans to repay your arrears.

• Helping you to claim Housing Benefit or resolve any queries with your existing Housing Benefit claim. • Identifying ways of maximising your income by looking at what welfare benefits you may be entitled to apply for. • Completing a referral for on-going support with your rent arrears, help with budgeting your outgoings and any other financial difficulties you may be experiencing. • Setting up direct deductions from your Income Support/Job Seekers Allowance to pay your arrears. • Completing applications to the Norfolk Credit Union to access low cost loans and savings accounts. After sending numerous letters, attempting telephone calls and carrying out personal home visits, if arrears continue to go unpaid then your Income Officer will serve a ‘Notice of Seeking

Possession’ in order to start legal action. This may then result in a Court Order being made by the County Court which forces you to move out of your home. Whether you have a small arrears balance or if legal action has already started, your Income Officer is here to help you. As a result of our preventative action, Freebridge Community Housing saw a reduction in the number of evictions carried out due to rent arrears last year. In 2008/2009 27 evictions were carried out, reducing to 14 carried out in 2009/10 as detailed opposite. If you receive an answer phone message, letter or a card through your door to say your Income Officer is trying to contact you please respond immediately – it will be important.

Please remember – Your Income Officer is here to help.

West Norfolk Mind’s Gardening 4 Health Project Our award winning allotment is situated in the heart of North Lynn and is in fact made up of 5 plots. It started as a large field of wild grass, stinging nettles and other weeds but has been transformed into a vibrant and viable piece of land. This has only been possible thanks to the hard work from our allotment team. The group are made up from service users, volunteers, staff and members of the executive committee who together have shaped the way the allotment has developed into what

Enthusiasm

it is today. We have split the land into a number of individual plots that are easy to manage, as well as having a “kitchen garden” where we grow larger crops for use by our service users and in our community café. The project is funded by Time To Change (www.time-to-change. org.uk) whose aim is to end the discrimination faced by people with mental health problems and improve the nation’s wellbeing. We have been impressed with the positive impact the allotment has had on a number of service users in our care. They have benefited from getting involved with the planning, preparation, planting and harvesting of our crops and working as a team –

as well as being out in the fresh air doing exercise and eating healthily. We were pleased to be awarded the silver standard Opportunity Award in 2009 from the Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities and were the winners of the B&Q One Planet Living award in 2008. If you would like to volunteer for the allotment, please call (01553) 776966.

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Features

Caxton Way Planting Before

After

The Fairstead Community Agreement launched during the spring of 2008 states that: This Community Agreement is an agreement between residents and those who provide public services in Fairstead. It shows how we will work together to improve the neighbourhood. Through working together we want to ensure that Fairstead is a clean, attractive and safe place for everyone to live. The Agreement covers the whole ward of Fairstead, which includes the original Fairstead Estate and the newer additions of Bishop’s Park and King’s Reach. The Fairstead Partnership is always examining ways to support the Agreement to improve the environment in which people live, and are constantly on the lookout for areas which would benefit from a bit of TLC and a tidy up. One such area was identified last autumn

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when children from the Fairstead Primary School joined a walkabout with Improving Neighbourhoods and Freebridge Community Housing as part of the Multi Agency walkabout schedule. The area concerned is at Caxton Close on Winston Churchill Drive. A border strip running between the pavement and the adjoining wall had become neglected and full of weeds as the accompanying photographs illustrate. It was considered that this strip of land would benefit from a clean up and some planting to improve the look of the area. On Tuesday 6th July the children of Fairstead Primary School, together with the Borough Council, Improving Neighbourhoods and Freebridge Community Housing set about preparing the ground for the planting which had been kindly donated from the BC Nursery. The children were initially supervised

by teachers from their school, but it soon became apparent that they were more than capable of planting the flowers in the correct way without any adult assistance. They rapidly had the cultivated soil covered with flowers, which transformed the appearance of the area. They were clearly pleased with their work, as were the adults present. The final touch was provided by the Borough Council team who watered the flower bed to give the plants the best possible start in their new location. The accompanying photographs show the children busy at work during the planting period. This event proves yet again that the children of Fairstead

are taking an interest in their environment and are keen to improve the area where they live for everybody’s benefit. Hopefully, this will provide an incentive to others, both adults and children, to improve their communal areas and also illustrates the benefits of Partnership working in the community. The Borough Council and Freebridge, together with other agencies, are keen to develop this beneficial partnership working. The partnership is always keen for local residents to take part in the Multi Agency walkabouts to provide much needed local input, so vital in deciding what needs to be looked at and acted upon. Just ask the children of Fairstead Primary School!

Welfare Competition Winner Freebridge Community Housing ran an event at the South Lynn Community House over the Easter school holidays for teenagers aged between 14 and 16. Phaedra and Jo (Welfare Officers) and Joyce (Housing Officer) organised this event in partnership with the Purfleet Trust and the Matthew Project, with guest speakers from both organisations. The event covered two topics for discussion; the first on housing and housing rights for young people, what help you can expect if you found yourself homeless and where to go for the correct help and advice; and the second topic was substance misuse, distinguishing fact from fiction on the effects and dangers of using drugs/alcohol/tobacco. A prize was awarded to Jessica upon the correct completion of the quiz, WELL DONE JESSICA!


Features

The Freebridge

Fire Safety

Grassroots

Fund Update The first wave of grants have been allocated Back in June we reported that Freebridge had pumped £30,000 into a new Grassroots fund which would provide regular opportunities for voluntary and community groups in West Norfolk to apply for £500 grants to cover a variety of their financial needs. The aim of the Fund is to support community and voluntary activity that addresses the needs of the wider community while also benefitting Freebridge tenants. We are happy to announce that the first wave of applications have been returned and reviewed and the grants have been allocated accordingly with the following groups receiving a portion of the funds available: • • • • • • • • • • •

21st Kings Lynn Scout Group D.A.F.T. Crafts Friday Drop in Group Live Wires ADHD & ADD Support Group South Creake War Memorial Institute (W.M.I.) Trustees Southery Youth Club Terrington Youth Club The Burnhams Youth Club DID YOU FI The Happy Mardlers Day Centre ARTICLE INTENRD THIS ESTING? West Norfolk Befriending Give us you r feedback b West Norfolk Carers Association y texting FREE

2 followed b a space and y your commen ts to 80010 or alte call us on 08 rnatively 00 0147722 and leave a message quoting FREE 2

If you are considering applying for the next wave of grants (available early in 2011) and you would like to know more about the application process or to make a general enquiry, contact the Grants Team on 01603 623958 or at info@norfolkfoundation.com – we’re happy to discuss applications or projects beforehand.

Hi, we are Steve Collins and Steve Keen and are part of a new group of eight frontline fire-fighters who have been put in post specifically to enhance public safety in rural areas by helping retained Fire Stations who use on-call fire-fighters to stay fully crewed throughout the daytime. At this time of year we all need to remember some important points: • Dispose of matches and cigarette ends carefully and safely • Don’t have a bonfire of any size during extremely dry weather • Don’t light fires or barbecues in places such as dry heath land • Keep barbeques away from fences and hedges • Report all fires immediately by calling 999

Are you safe from fire in your home? To find out if you qualify for our free smoke alarms with fitting including alarms for the deaf call the number below:

0800 9178137 and quote RSO

Customer Focus

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Features

Photography Competition Do you have an eye for photography?

Adult and Under 16’s 16’s. Images should be submitted as jpg files by email or on disk. The theme of Freebridge’s photography competition for 2010 is ‘Views of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk’. The theme is open to individual interpretation, but photos should capture or express something particular to West Norfolk. The competition is open to Freebridge residents and employees. The best pictures will take pride of place on the walls of Freebridge offices. There are 2 categories for entry -

The overall competition winner will receive £200 worth of vouchers to spend in Youngs Cameras in King’s Lynn. 2 runners up from each category will receive £20 in shopping vouchers. Full details of the competition and copy of the rules are available on our website www.freebridge.org.uk/news.asp or on request 01553 667810. Closing date for entries 31st October 2010

Money Saving Websites by Miss Frugal

www.vouchercodes.co.uk This is a fantastic website, extremely helpful for every day goods and services and simple to use. For some of the companies listed such as Tesco it will highlight current offers such as 10% off clothing purchased online, or other offers that you click on and you will simply be directed to the appropriate section of their website. For other offers it will tell you what is available and you can then download and print off a coupon to use in store.

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Another advantage is that you don’t have to sign up to anything unless you want to be updated with current new offers available. You would think that companies wouldn’t publicise these codes/offers as widely as they do, in years gone by there was usually some work involved on the part of the consumer in order to obtain a discount code such as buying a newspaper but not any more people! Why spend more? Shop smart at vouchercodes.co.uk.


News from Freebridge

Freebridge Community Housing’s Performance April – June 2010 The following information is about Freebridge’s performance in key activities during the First Quarter of the financial year Apr to Jun 2010.

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As always, if any tenant has any suggestions upon how we might make further changes and improvements please contact Jamie Williamson in our Tenant Empowerment Team on: 01553 667738 or at: jamie.williamson@freebridge.org.uk 2009/10

Performance Area

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2008/09

Qtr 4 Qtr 3 Qtr 2 Qtr 1 Qtr 4 Qtr 1 Apr – Jun Jan – Mar Oct – Dec Jul – Sep Apr – Jun Jan – Mar 2010 2010 2009 2009 2009 2009

Trend Performance 2009/10 Trend (see (see key at foot of page)

during 2009-10

Annual Target

Emergency repairs dealt with within target time (24 hours) – All Contractors

100%

99.6%

99.2%

98.1%

99.7%

97.0%

99.3%

98.5%

Urgent repairs dealt with within target time (1 week) – All Contractors

98.4%

96.5%

95.1%

95.4%

93.7%

95.1%

95.2%

96.5%

Routine repairs dealt with within target time (1 month) – All Contractors

97.5%

94.8%

97.8%

91.1%

93.8%

95.7%

93.5%

96.0%

Rent Arrears of current tenants (excl HB Arrears), as a percentage of the total rent due for the year

1.3%

1.8%

1.8%

1.8%

1.8%

1.4%

1.4%

1.5%

10 days

14 days

17 days

22 days

58 days

82 days

12 days

12 days

Number of tenants evicted for nonpayment of rent

2

3

2

7

3

4

27

27

Number of Anti-Social Behaviour cases dealt with by Housing Officer Team

56

93

81

125

201

145

562

562

Number of legal actions for ASB commenced in the Quarter

2

3

3

3

7

14

67

67

Average Re-Let Time for empty properties - ‘Net’ figure including allowance for Major Repairs

key at foot of page)

Decent Homes Improvement Programme: April – March 2011 Element

April 10

May 10

June 10

July 10

Aug 10

Sep 10

Oct 10

Nov 10

Dec 10

Jan 11

Feb 11

Mar 10

Total YTD

Target Qtr 4 cumulative

Kitchens

37

45

54

136

204

Bathrooms

31

47

54

132

216

Wiring

34

37

41

112

172

Windows

91

56

67

214

260

Doors

21

33

47

101

140

Heating

35

41

50

126

155

Communals Total

0

0

0

0

0

249

259

313

821

1147

Status

Key to Red, Amber, Green ratings system RED - Quarterly - Performance has worsened within the activity area during the quarterly period compared to the last. Annually – the annual target for the Association is presently not being met and progress towards this is worsening.

AMBER - Quarterly - Performance has remained unchanged within the activity area during the quarterly period. Annually - Performance has improved and positively progressed in regard to an annual target whilst not yet meeting this in full.

GREEN - Quarterly - Performance has positively improved within the quarterly period compared to the last. Annually Performance against the annual target for the Association is presently matching or exceeding this target.

Additional information can be found in the Annual Report accompanying this magazine!

Working Together

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Where To Find Us Freebridge Community Housing Main Office Juniper House Austin Street, King’s Lynn Norfolk PE30 1DZ

Telephone: 01553 667700 Fax: 01553 667701 Email: enquiries@freebridge.org.uk Office Opening Hours: 8:45am - 5.15pm (Mon-Thurs), 8:45am - 4.45pm (Fri) Bank Holidays, Saturday and Sunday closed.

Out of Office Hours: The main telephone number (01553 667700) will divert to 24 hour emergency service.

Repairs: 0800 169 1694

Please report all repairs using this telephone number (which you will not be charged for).

House Exchange: www.freebridge.houseexchange.org.uk Freebridge Community Housing Northern Area Office Valentine Road, Hunstanton Norfolk PE36 5EZ

Telephone: 01485 534219 / 01485 534654 Fax: 01485 535073 Email: enquiries@freebridge.org.uk Office Opening Hours: 10:00am - 1.00pm (Mon, Weds, Fri Only) For afternoon appointments please telephone. Bank Holidays, Saturday and Sunday closed.

Freebridge Community Housing Southern Area Office Priory Centre Priory Road, Downham Market Norfolk PE38 9JS

Telephone: 01366 384696 Fax: 01366 386798 Email: enquiries@freebridge.org.uk Office Opening Hours: 10:00am - 1.00pm (Mon, Weds, Fri Only) For afternoon appointments please telephone. Bank Holidays, Saturday and Sunday closed.

Freebridge Community Housing North Lynn Estate Office 4 Walpole Road North Lynn, King’s Lynn Norfolk PE30 2DZ

Telephone: 01553 773133 Email: enquiries@freebridge.org.uk

Office Opening Hours: 10:00am - 1.00pm (Mon, Weds, Fri Only). Bank Holidays, Saturday and Sunday closed. Out of hours visits to office by appointment only.

The Freecycle network is made up of 4,675 groups with 6,407,000 members across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely non-profit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. www.freecycle.org

Useful Contacts Homechoice 01553 616678 West Norfolk Homechoice holds the housing register for those interested in social and low cost housing in West Norfolk. They advertise and allocate properties belonging to partner landlords of Homechoice (including Freebridge). Further information can be gained on www.west-norfolk.gov.uk, clicking on the West Norfolk Homechoice link, or by telephoning 01553 616678.

Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk 01553 616200 www.west-norfolk.gov.uk The CLEANUP Team 0500 253 2687 Litter, fly tipping, graffiti, dog fouling.

Abandoned Vehicles 01553 616335 Where to report an abandoned vehicle.

Bulky Item Collection Service 01553 776676 For the disposal of bulky items.

The Refuse & Recycling Helpline 01553 776676 All domestic waste and recycling problems / issues.

Police (Non-Emergency) 0845 456 4567 To report any non urgent problems / anti social behaviour.

Welfare Benefits Hotline 0800 731 2253 Advice and assistance with claims.

Adult Social Services 0844 800 8014 Supporting vulnerable adults.

Children’s Services 0844 800 8014 Supporting vulnerable children.

Youth Service 01553 773565 Advice and information for young people on topics such as sexual health, drugs, bullying and teenage pregnancy.


Streets Ahead - September 2010