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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


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. 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.


Streets Ahead - September 2010  

Freebridge Community Housing's quarterly magazine, produced for our tenants to provide them with information and stories relating to their t...