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Your Daventry & District Housing magazine

tenantsvoice SUMMER 2013 WWW.DDH.ORG.UK T 01327 707500 E ENQUIRIES@DDH.ORG.UK

Universal Credit

Nominate now

Do it online

Need to know p2

Star Awards 2013 p5

Update for services p8

03 ISSUE

: INSIDEnges

s cha benefit e continu

Footballers say ‘Merci’ for new kits Gearing up for The Grange Improvements update


tenantsvoice

2 money

On the money If you want help to manage your money, a bank account could be the answer. With the government’s next phase of benefits changes, having an account is a must.

Need to know: Universal Credit

benefits for your dependent household.

The government’s Universal Credit, for people of working age, will come into effect from October 2013. Initially it will only apply to new claimants and people who have a change of circumstances - then it will be rolled out across the country to all claimants, region by region.

2. It will replace separate benefits, such as:

1. Universal Credit is one payment to cover all

Housing Benefit

Income Support

Job Seeker’s Allowance

Income related Employment and Support Allowance

Child Benefit

Child Tax Credit

Income related Carer’s Allowance.

3. Universal Credit can only be paid into a bank account or a Credit Union account. 4. Claims can only be made online. 5. Housing Benefit will no longer be paid to us direct, so you will need to pay your rent and service charges yourself from your Universal Credit.

I don’t have a bank account. What are my options? If you don’t open either a bank account or credit union account, you won’t be able to receive benefits, even if you are otherwise eligible for them.

If you have had difficulties providing the correct ID in

the past, the local Credit Union could help.

option if you’ve been turned down elsewhere.

We work with Northampton Credit Union and Daventry District Council to help provide easy-access bank accounts in Daventry.

We can help provide identification for our tenants, so it should be easier to open an account with the Credit Union.

The not-for-profit community bank is ethically run and trustworthy. It also offers general and Holiday savings accounts, as well as access to low-cost loans, which could be an

For more information call the Credit Union on 01604 250016, or visit the branch at the lobby area in Daventry District Council on Thursdays, between 10.30am and 12.30pm.


summer2013

Paying your rent If Housing Benefit pay your rent, Daventry District Council usually pay it to us direct. However, Universal Credit means that direct payments will stop. As Housing Benefit is included in the one Universal Credit payment this will now be paid to you instead.

This means you will need to pay your full rent to us, along with any additional payments you may be obliged to make. Direct Debit is the most convenient way to pay your rent. It automatically pays the money out of your account on a date of your choice – 1st, 7th, 15th or 21st of each month.

Get your balance We’re excited to introduce a new service to help you keep tabs on your rent account. You can now get a free rent balance text to your mobile.

Providing your mobile number is up to date, you can text the word ‘bal’ for your latest rent account balance. To sign-up and confirm your mobile number, call us or text your name and the word ‘update’ to our Customer Services team on the text-only number: 07537 410370.

3 money

When you set up a Direct Debit, we work out the payments to include rent free weeks and send you an advice statement so that you can see the amounts in advance. For a form contact our team on the usual number or email enquiries@ddh.org.uk

Money advice If you would like some help to plan your budget in advance of Universal Credit, talk to our free, confidential money advice experts. Our advisors can meet with you face-to-face, on the telephone, or email. Remember, the earlier we know there is a problem paying your rent, the more easily we can help. Call us or email enquiries@ ddh.org.uk to set up an appointment.


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4

ask the experts

q&a

Q&A

Q&A

Diane Ledger is our Tenancy Sustainment Officer, providing help and advice for a range of issues including money and health support. Contact her by emailing diane.ledger@ddh.org.uk

Wendy Phillips is our Leasehold and Land Officer, and can provide guidance on leaseholder and general issues. Contact her by emailing wendy.phillips@ddh.org.uk

Q: I want to move house. I’ve heard of HomeSwapper but I don’t know how it works. Help!

or email if there is a match for you. If you want to arrange a visit, you can do that through the website too. If you’re still not sure how it works, we can help. Call our office or drop in to see us – we can get you online and talk you through the system so you feel more confident.

Suzi from Daventry

Diane: To join HomeSwapper, you need to register by visiting their website www.homeswapper.co.uk To access HomeSwapper, you need to provide our name in full: Daventry & District Housing. Once you’ve filled in your details, the system will automatically match you to tenants who may have a home you’d like, and who might be interested in yours. HomeSwapper will alert you by SMS text

Q: I don’t have the internet at home or on my phone. How can I get online? Anonymous from Brixworth

Wendy: There are lots of places you can get online for free. Try your local library, or the one in town. If you want to apply for jobs you can sometimes get online at the JobCentre. We also

have some computers you are able to use at the Daventry & District Housing office. If you have a long way to come you can phone us in advance and reserve a machine for when you arrive.

Q: The price of everything keeps going up, and I’m finding it hard to cope. Where can I get some advice? Ben from Daventry

Diane: If you are struggling to afford essentials, it is worth spending some time getting some free, confidential, expert advice. You can do that with Citizens Advice Daventry who can provide impartial advice, or you can book an appointment with me. Both these services are completely free, and will talk you through what you have coming in and going out each month, to help you plan your money and budget. We both also check if you are eligible for benefits. You can arrange an appointment by calling us or emailing enquiries@ddh.org.uk


summer2013

Shooting Stars

5 Services

Nominate now for our Star Awards 2013

The hunt is on to find the winners of the Star Awards 2013. Nominations are now open for the event, which runs for the second time this year. The awards are designed to recognise people who have made an exceptional contribution to their community and make a real difference to the lives of others. Last year’s event was a huge success, with 28 nominations received from across the district.

The six categories include: 1: Don Bouckley Young Person of the Year 2: Evelyn Bristow Volunteer of the Year 3: Good Neighbour of the Year 4: Community Project of the Year 5: Environmental Project of the Year 6: DDH Tenant of the Year Shortlisted nominees will be invited to attend a special evening awards ceremony in Daventry later in the year.

The deadline for nominations is Monday 30 September, so don’t delay – fill out our entry form for the star in your life today! For more information or to complete a nomination form visit www.ddh.org.uk/getinvol ved/starawards or call the Community and Partnerships Team.

Above: Last years Star Award Winners


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6 people

involvement is a winner for us Our team was delighted to be short-listed in the Tenant Participatory Advisory Service (TPAS) Central Region Awards, which took place in April. our Transforming Homes project for the Excellence in Working Together category.

We entered the Community Chest Fund for the Excellence in the Community category and

Our tenants choose which projects should benefit from the Community Chest Fund, a unique partnership providing funding, materials

or manpower to local community projects. Our Transforming Homes project has seen us working in partnership with our contractor Lovell and neighbouring housing association, Rockingham Forest, to get the best deals and make a difference to the lives of our tenants.

The APPreNTIce We are committed to improving the number of training opportunities in the communities where we work. Here, Stuart Kelly (22) from Daventry tells how his apprenticeship in Digital and Creative Media has helped to develop new skills, and even led to a trip abroad… “I’ve had some really good experiences from the apprenticeship. A few months ago I got the chance to study in Germany, which was really good for my CV.

“I’d recommend an apprenticeship to anyone – training while you’re working is unbeatable and there’s always something new around the corner.” Stuart is just one of the 34 apprentices employed by Futures Housing Group, of which we are a part. We are a champion for the National Apprenticeship Service across the region, and hope to recruit more in future. For the latest opportunities check the jobs page of our website.

Caroline Godsell has joined us as Resident Involvement Officer for six months. Look out for her at our tenant meetings and events. If you want to get in touch look for @CarolineDDH on Twitter.


summer2013

gearing up for the Grange Our Transforming Homes programme is on its way to The Grange in Daventry. Tenants from around 400 properties were invited to a special launch at The Pike and Eel Pub, Tamar Square on Saturday 27 April. The event was designed to provide information on the work, meet the team and ask any questions. There was a chance to see the kitchen and bathroom samples which tenants will select depending on the requirements of each home, along with examples of the electrical upgrades

and boiler replacements. You might remember from reading our last edition that we have already fitted more energy efficient heating systems to some of our properties. There was plenty of fun for the kids with two bouncy castles, a face painter, disco, colouring competition and even Bob the Builder made an appearance! Surveying is underway and we expect the major work to start in the summer.

Swap shop If you want to move, HomeSwapper could be for you. HomeSwapper is the UK’s largest and most successful home swap service – it’s helped 29,000 households swap homes in the last 12 months. And now Daventry & District Housing is a member, all of our tenants can use the website for free. Otherwise known as mutual exchange,

swapping homes can mean you don’t have to wait for months on a housing transfer list, and you get to choose your own home. You can use HomeSwapper straight away by logging on to www.HomeSwapper.co. uk and registering. If you would like advice about your housing options or want help to understand how the government changes to welfare reform will affect you, email enquiries@ddh.org.uk

7 homes

More new homes We are excited to start work on our next batch of new homes following our first development last year. We will be building an additional 10 new homes in the villages of Barby and Crick, making the most of the land available to increase the number of affordable homes in rural areas. Last year we completed 26 homes in Weedon Bec and Woodford Halse, responding to the need to protect our rural communities by providing houses where people can afford to live. Look out for updates on the new homes in our next edition.

Plans for Daventry Road, Barby


Face your online demons 8 go digital

From Facebook Text As we went to print our most popular Facebook story was the Woodford Halse playground. In total 20 people liked the story, helping to share the good news with their friends. Mindy said: “My kids have been down to the playground over the last few days and love it.

Thanks again all of you.” For all the latest news from Daventry & District Housing, visit our page now and click ‘like’. facebook.com/Daventry& DistrictHousing Read more about Woodford Halse on page 12.

Join up to LinX LinX is our equivalent to online banking, giving our tenants the option to access their account with us 24/7. It’s free and easy to join, and simple to use. Once you’ve joined, you can get access to these popular services: ■

Check your rent account and pay your rent

Update your personal details

Report a repair and track its progress

surveys

Get ready to say goodbye to wasted paper as we replace our repairs satisfaction surveys with a more convenient text version. Following positive feedback for our text repairs reminder service, we will now send a second text to confirm the repair has been completed. You can text us your up-todate mobile number and email address with the word ‘update’ to our Customer Services team on the text-only number: 07537 410370.

To sign-up visit our website now. Daventry&Distric tHousing

Coming soon… the LinX mobile app. Watch this space for an update.

Call on me You may remember reading in our spring edition that we are investing in new technology to improve our customer experience. The new system will keep track of enquiries, helping us

to share everything you tell us seamlessly and ensuring that you won’t have to repeat yourself. At the same time it will help us understand and meet our tenants’ needs more effectively.

Having installed the system in May it’s early days, so please bear with us as we make improvements as we go along.


Face your online demons

Going digital This year we want to help as many customers as possible to get online, access the internet and understand the benefits.

may not know how to use a computer or simply can’t afford to.

You can do everything on the internet from your food shopping to paying your bills. People often use the internet for hobbies, watching TV, playing music and staying in touch with friends and family.

We want to help tenants overcome these challenges, and have recently become a UK Online Centre which allows us to offer specific support and advice. We also work with other charity organisations such as Digital Unite to provide training and support to tenants.

We know that some of our customers will not have accessed the internet before,

Our new Do It Online volunteers are already running sessions in our sheltered

schemes to help tenants get online and learn the basics! Over the next year or so we will be running various activities and introducing new technology to make sure we provide you with the best possible experience using our services online or via your mobile phone. Look out for regular news, training opportunities and support on our website www.ddh.org.uk, our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.

Tenants' Voice is changing printing magazines is the information is never the most recent, and is soon out of date.

With more and more people using the internet to find out the latest information we have reviewed the way we provide information and are changing the way we share news with you. Each year we currently produce three magazines for tenants and we try our best to provide you with the latest information. However, one disadvantage of

We have also considered the costs of the way we share information to tenants. Did you know it costs us approximately £12,000 to write, design, print and deliver Tenants’ Voice and the Tenants’ Annual Report each year? As information is now available more quickly online, and with cost savings in mind, we have decided that the Winter edition of the Tenants’ Voice will be the last printed version delivered to

all customers. We believe that the money we save could be invested in our online services, improving our website so it is more up to date, interactive and easier to use. We’ll still communicate news and service information with tenants via email newsletters, Facebook, our website, Twitter, and through the post. Our customers in supported housing accommodation will continue to have a paper newsletter delivered which will be designed and delivered at a low cost. If you want to share your views on this please contact communications@ futureshg.co.uk

9 go digital


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10 supported

Supported housing Service: one year on It is coming up to a year since we launched our new-look Supported Housing service, and things are going well. In a recent customer satisfaction survey 98% of our customers said they were fairly or very satisfied with the service. The changes were put in place after a full consultation with our customers which helped us to better understand what people want and need from our service. As a result our service is no longer a ‘one size fits all’, instead being tailored depending on individual needs. Now our customers get a menu of choice to select the right visit frequency for them, no longer

Our Supported Housing Team

dependent on the type of property they live in! Customers can also change the frequency of their visits if their circumstances change, for example increase the frequency for a short period after an operation or if family are on holiday. To make the whole service more efficient, we provided our Support Service Officers (SSOs) with portable tablets which have halved time spent on administration. This was a big learning curve for our team but now they tell us they don’t know how they coped before! Now there is more time for our team to spend face-to-face visiting our tenants, which is what they enjoy most.

Major achievements: ■

98% of customers surveyed in January 2013 are satisfied with the support service

Our approach has been called ‘best practice’ by other housing associations

Reducing hospital waiting times by providing temporary accommodation to patients who need extra support

The team feels more motivated.

The whole service remains under scrutiny to make sure it’s the best we can provide. If you have any comments, queries or questions please call us or email enquiries@ddh.org.uk Here’s to another successful 12 months!


summer2013

11 supported

Residents at Saxon House in Brixworth raised ÂŁ2,250 for the Saxon Spires Practices scanner appeal by selling home made goods at their monthly bazaar. What an achievement!

Residents John Hare and Peggy Robinson (front) helped to mark the annual Spring Online campaign by learning how to get online at Chappell House, our sheltered housing scheme in Moulton.


12 community

it’s time you tried... time bank More than 100 people have given 1,549 hours volunteering through Time Bank – the smartest way to volunteer. You can then exchange those time credits when you need a hand. If a member of your family is signed-up to the scheme, they can use the credits too. Time Bank is run by Daventry Volunteer Centre with our support. When you volunteer with Time Bank, you receive a time credit for every hour you give.

It means every time you volunteer, you can expect the same in return. And volunteering can mean doing something you enjoy. With Time Bank, you can give your time in the way you choose.

Here’s our top ten of how people are giving their time at the moment: Helping in charity shops Companionship Admin Baking cakes Dog walking

Housework Decorating Computer Skills Playing Chess Gardening

That’s champion If you’d like to help resolve issues in your neighbourhood, you can make a real and positive impact by becoming one of our Street Champions. The project is run in partnership with Enterprise waste management and Daventry District Council Environmental Services. If you are interested in becoming a Street Champion, visit ddh.org.uk for details or email getinvolved@ ddh.org.uk Working with our Housing and Community & Partnership Teams, the Champions can identify and resolve issues like fly-tipping or graffiti.

Time Bank: turning spare time into shared time Families are enjoying a brand new playground in Woodford Halse after local mums raised more than £22,000 to improve facilities – including a grant from our Community Chest Fund. Well done ladies! Look out for news of how we’re supporting the Southbrook estate in Daventry in our next edition.


summer2013

Have your say the wild way Want to have your say on our services and enjoy a fantastic family day out at the same time? There’s still time to signup for our latest family VIP event – looking for your views on getting involved and training. The event organised by the Youth Board is taking

place at Whipsnade Zoo on 22 August. We have plenty more activities for children of all ages right through the summer. For all the latest information please check our website: www.ddh.org.uk/ getinvolved

Flower power Members of our Youth Board have been helping to maintain the green space at Daventry Country Park, getting their hands dirty to create a sensory garden.

FooTbAllerS SAy ‘MercI’ For NeW kIT Martine Swords, DSLV’s girls’ football coordinator, said: “A first class effort was shown by all teams and they were a credit to themselves and the school.

The girls’ football teams at Danetre and Southbrook Learning Village (DSLV) are celebrating an international win after travelling to Paris in kit sponsored by our Community Chest Fund. Playing in the International Youth Festival of Football at Disneyland Paris in April, the budding footballers showcased the school’s crest alongside our logo.

“This is the first time pupils from DSLV have gone on a sports tour, so the teams were very excited and worked hard each week by attending training sessions to improve fitness and football skills in preparation for their matches with English teams and other teams from across Europe. “We are very grateful to DDH for supporting us with a brand new kit. A big thank you from me and the DSLV girls’ football teams.”

Five volunteers gave up their time during the Easter holiday to plant primroses, rosemary and lavender to provide a refreshing experience to passers-by. Jordan Gray (12) said: “I normally help my grandad on his allotment so I really enjoyed the gardening. “The area was overgrown but now we’ve planted flowers and herbs it looks a lot nicer.” If you’re aged between 12 and 17 and want to find out more about the Youth Board, contact Sarah Sims on the usual number or email getinvolved@ddh.org.uk

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Here's your chance to win a £20 high street voucher.

summer wordsearch

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With summer on its way, we have been dreaming of warm days and light nights. Find and circle the words on the grid and send your entries back to us for a chance to win. The deadline for all entries is Friday 30 August 2013. Name: ......................................

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Words to find Shine Ray Breeze Hot

Sizzle Sun Sea Sand

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We’re sorry for the mistake in our last edition - we still picked a winner. Congratulations to Lorraine Morgan from Daventry.

Address: .................................. ...................................................... Postcode: ................................ Tel: ............................................

Send your entry to The Community and PartnershipsTeam, Daventry & District Housing, Nene House, Drayton Fields Industrial Estate, Daventry, NN11 8PB.

We need you! We strive to improve our services and give you a better experience. But we couldn’t do it without our wonderful tenant volunteers. And we are always on the look-out for new people to join us! There is something for everyone, no matter what your circumstances.

Any amount of time can make a big difference – and you can get involved at a pace that suits you. Getting involved looks good on your CV and could help you get a job too. Please contact our Community and Partnerships Team on getinvolved@ddh.org.uk


summer2013

hitting the mark

15 awards

In each issue we update you on our performance against key targets for this financial year. For a full list of our service standards, and our latest figures, please visit our website. Here are the latest figures. 90% means that 90 repairs in every 100 were completed on time, or that 90 people in every 100 were satisfied with the service.

repairs

Target

Dec 12

Mar 13

Repairs completed within time

98.8%

99.1%

99.9%

% of annual heating services completed

100%

100%

100%

customer services

Target

Dec 12

Mar 13

Calls answered within 30 seconds

90%

86.3%

91%

Calls resolved at first point of contact

80%

82.7%

84.2%

on target

on target

help resolve complaints Following a recruitment drive in our Summer 2012 edition, we have now launched our Complaints Panel. However, there is still room for more people to be involved. From April 2013 tenants can choose for their complaint to be heard by a panel of tenants once our internal procedure is complete. The Complaints Panel will be able to make recommendations, offering the chance for tenants to

influence our decision making process and learn more about the complaints we receive. By using their local knowledge and working with tenants and Daventry & District Housing, they will be able to assist in resolving tenant complaints and issues locally. In doing so, they may also participate with us in using the learning gathered from complaints to help improve our services to you.

Where the panel considers that they are unable to resolve a complaint locally and if a complainant wishes and authorises them to do so, they have the option to refer a complaint to the Ombudsman once our complaints process has been exhausted. Interesting in helping? Email pally.gill@ddh.org.uk


tenantsvoice

Customer focus homes receive up-to-date fittings as part of refurbishment and repair work. Our assessment confirmed there were no changes required at this time.

Our teams are starting work on a new programme of Equality Impact Assessments after completing 12 last year. The assessments are all about making sure our services are accessible for everyone. We put ourselves in our tenants’ shoes to ensure the

experience is the same standard no matter what your background or abilities. Highlights from 2012/13 include assessments on saving energy, and our responsive repairs service. Energy saving: We are committed to helping our tenants be more energy efficient by making sure our

General enquiries 01327 707500

Council Tax 01327 871100

Repairs in and out of hours 0300 456 2531

Refuse collection 01327 871100

Citizens Advice 01327 701701

Street doctor (Roads, paths, street lighting & drainage) 0845 601 1113

Daventry District Council 01327 871100 (main number)

Northamptonshire Police 101

An audio version is also available on request.

For more information contact: Daventry & District Housing, Nene House, Drayton Fields Industrial Estate, Daventry NN11 8PB e: enquiries@ddh.org.uk www.ddh.org.uk Daventry & District Housing is a Charitable Company registered with the Charity Commission No. 1120949; a registered social landlord. Tenant Services Authority No. L4498 and is registered in England and Wales. Company No. 5775392.

Responsive repairs: Our aim is to provide refurbishment work and emergency, routine and urgent repairs in line with our service standards. Our assessment found that language could potentially impact on our service, however we already offer translation and deaf connect services which are available to tenants as required. This year’s assessments will include our grass cutting service and the right to buy process.

For help to understand this please contact 01327 707500

Tenants voice Summer 2013  
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