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Grapev ne Tenant Newsletter / Winter 2013

Special Feature on Property Maintenance

2014 Calendar on Page 28


From the Executive Director Linc Homes

Welcome

Contents in this issue we cover....

Hello and welcome to the Winter edition of Grapevine. In our special feature this quarter, we are looking at our repairs and maintenance service (page 11-15). Meet our contractors and read our tips for staying warm throughout the Winter.

Welcome 2 Keeping in touch 3 Summer snaps 3

Competition winner 3

Convalescent & respite breaks 5 10 quick money saving tips 6-7 Payday loans & loan sharks 8 Grants and benefit checks 9 The Priority Assistance Fund 9 Hobbies & crafts 10 Property maintenance 11-15 Health & wellbeing 16-17 Want to move home? 18-19 Ty Canol celebrates 25 years 20 Home improvements 21 Catching up with... 21 Tenant Service Testers 22 Grapevine feedback 22 Getting around the house 23 Fire safety 24 The job clinic 25

Useful contacts 27 2014 Calendar 28 Page 2 | Grapevine Winter

I hope you find the Grapevine a useful and enjoyable read. We always love to receive feedback, so if you have any comments, Linc-Cymru Housing Association,  please get in touch. 387 Newport Road, Cardiff CF24 1GG

Trevor Saunders, Executive Director Linc Homes

Freephone: 0800 072 0966 Email: contactcentre@linc-cymru.co.uk Website: www.linc-cymru.co.uk

Linc's Holiday Opening Hours Monday 23 December 2013: 8.30am – 5pm Tuesday 24 December 2013: 8.30am – 5pm (Head Office is open in the morning and the afternoon is a phone service only) Wednesday 25 December 2013: CLOSED Thursday 26 December 2013: CLOSED Friday 27 December 2013: 8.30am – 5pm Monday 30 December 2013: 8.30am – 5pm Tuesday 31 December 2013: 8.30am – 5pm (Head Office is open in the morning and the afternoon is a phone service only) Wednesday 1 January 2014: CLOSED Thursday 2 January 2014: 8.30am – 5pm

Approved by Grapevine Reading Group Reading G vine ro e p



up

Estate inspections 26

At this expensive time of year, it is easy to overspend, and so we give tips on Money Saving, and how to access affordable loans (page 7-9). Don’t forget, our Money Advice Service is free, and could help you save money, or increase your income.

Gr a

You said we did 4

The Grapevine Reading Group has approved the content of this newsletter. The Group is made up of tenants from Linc's 134 Club. For information on the 134 Club or to find details on joining, please visit www.linc-cymru.co.uk/134-club


From the Chair of the Tenant Panel

Keeping in touch A message from the new Chair of the Tenant Panel: Hi, I’m Alan Short and I’m the new Chair of the Tenant Panel. I was elected at our meeting in October and I’m very much looking forward to helping the group to run effectively to continually improve the services provided by Linc. I’ve got lots of experience of getting involved at Linc. You will have heard about the new Contractors Linc have just appointed. Well, just to say, I was involved in making that appointment along with another Panel member. We were there to make sure the new service meets with tenants' expectations and that they put you central to their service provision. We’d love to hear your feedback now that they have been appointed. It was with great sadness that Lorraine stood down as Chair, not just to her but us too. I’d like to express, on behalf of the Panel all our thanks for the great work she has done as a Chair and figurehead for Linc Tenants. She is very well respected. The great thing is that she will now be able to become even more involved as she continues to take an active role as a Panel member.

Competition Winner The Summer Grapevine Quiz Competition The lucky winner of the Grapevine Quiz competition is Valerie from Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent. Valerie answered all the questions in the quiz correctly and wins a £25 prize!

Congratulations Valerie!

But, I’ll leave you with this. As a Tenant Panel we are keen to hear from you. We’d love you to get more involved and please don’t hesitate to contact us via our Tenant Participation Officer, Karen Jeffreys on 029 2047 4023. Seasons greetings!

Alan Short, Tenant Panel Chair

Summer Snaps Tenby Beach, photographed by resident Tracy Fear from Blaenau Gwent

Your Photos from summer 2013

Grapevine Winter | Page 3


Tenant News

You said, we did Customer feedback is very important to us as it helps us to understand what we're doing well and where we could improve. At Linc, we always value your comments and take positive action where possible. Here are some recent examples of improvements we have made from listening to your feedback and suggestions.

we did

you said You asked us to look at an area of no man's land located next to your property as it was becoming a fly tipping spot.

before

With tenants consent, we moved the fence between your property and the unoccupied land, extending your garden. This has resulted in no more dumping and a happier neighbourhood.

after

you said

we did

Tenants at Plas Bryn Extra Care Scheme said they would like a special evening supper.

With help from the local chippy, staff at Plas Bryn organised a classic 'Fish and Chips' supper which was thoroughly enjoyed by tenants.

you said

we did

U ARE INVITED   YO us out You said you wanted to help at the Newport Residents Festival in September earlier this year. CLIMBING WALL

Free ice if you co cream m a survey plete on the day

idents’ s e R FESTIVAL 2013

you said

G TLIN WHIT

s Activitiethe for allily fam

AT: NEWPORT LEISURE CENTRE ON: SATURDAY 7 SEPTEMBER, pm 11am-3pm

You said you would like to see more information for tenants on our website including how you can get involved in groups and influencing the services we deliver. REGISTER YOUR ATTENDANC E BEFORE THE 4 SEPTEMBER YOU WILL RECEIVE A FREE LUNCH VOUCHER. IF YOU ARE A NEWPORT CITY HOMES RESIDENT YOU CAN REGISTER BY CONTACTING RACHAEL DAVIES, COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT OFFICER, ON (01633) 277814 OR BY CALLING INTO ONE OF OUR OFFICES. IF YOU ARE A TENANT OF ANY OF OUR PARTNER ORGANISATIONS PLEASE CONTA CT YOUR LANDLORD TO REGISTER.

In partnership with

Page 4 | Grapevine Winter

We involved you in setting up and running a stand to meet, greet and talk to Newport residents. You also helped run the Money Advice competition and shared information about our newly regenerated Lysaghts Institute, which has been brought back to life.

we did We have set up a tenants section on our website called 'Getting Involved'. This includes lots of information on different ways you can get involved and help us to improve our services.


Tenant News

Linc launches convalescent & respite breaks

Your News in pictures

Happy 100th Birthday to Mrs Cook, a resident at Cwrt Gwalia, Bridgend. Congratulations!

Are you recovering from an illness or a stay in hospital and need help to get your strength back? Are you caring for a loved one or do you have someone who cares for you? From time to time, you may need a short break. Convalescent and respite breaks can enable you, a relative or patient the opportunity to take a short break, in a safe and welcoming environment. Care breaks are available throughout our 7 Extra Care Schemes across Newport, Cardiff and Blaenau Gwent, offering personalised care and support, tailored to individual needs. If you would like to learn more about these services or you might know of someone who could benefit from a care break please visit: www.linc-cymru.co.uk/respite

Or contact Victoria Hughes on: Tel: 029 2047 4048 Email: vhughes.respite@linc-cymru.co.uk

From ÂŁ28 per night

Happy 100th Birthday to Joyce Jones, a resident at Penylan House Community Nursing Home in Cardiff. Joyce celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday 20th September. Congratulations!

locations cardiff

newport

blaenau gwent Grapevine Winter | Page 5


Money Advice

10 quick money saving tips Try these tips and you might just make a few savings each month...

1. Washing

Spend less on your laundry by washing at 30 degrees and air drying instead of using a tumble dryer.

6. food waste

Reduce your food waste. The average houshold throws away approximately ÂŁ600 of food every year! For tips on reducing this visit: wales.lovefoodhatewaste.com (they also have a free Money Saving app)

2. energy Saving

If your energy tariff gives you cheaper energy during off peak hours, consider using appliances such as your washing machine overnight (if this doesn't disturb your neighbours).

3. utility bills

Reduce your utility bills by shopping around for the best deal. Websites such as www.uswitch.com and www.gocompare.com are useful for this.

4. claiming

Make sure you are claiming everything you are entitled to. If you are unsure, please contact Linc's Money Advice Team for help.

5. heating costs

Reduce your heating costs by turning your thermostat down by one degree, drawing curtains when it gets dark, using draft excluders and turning radiators off in rooms you don't use. Page 6 | Grapevine Winter

7. sharing trips

Reduce your transport costs by sharing trips with neighbours. Maybe you could do your weekly shop together, or take it in turns to do the school run.

8. clothes swap

Want a new outfit? Instead of running up a big catalogue bill, why not hold a clothes swapping party with friends and neighbours. Everybody brings something they no longer need and leaves with something they want.


Money Advice

9. treats & offers Visit www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals for information on current deals on shopping, restaurants and family activities.

10. water bill

Save money on your water bill by finding out about Welsh Water schemes and considering a water meter. Please contact Linc's Money Advice Team for more information.

Tips from the money advice team!

This is what you said you liked about our Money Advice service..... "Helped in every way possible." "Useful information on everything I needed to know." "The officer helped me to reduce my bills and gave me lots of advice."

Our Money Advice Team are here to give you free advice on anything from budgeting to helping you make the most of your money. Call the team today for advice over the phone or to arrange a home visit: Landline: (Freephone) 0800 072 0966 Mobile: (standard rate charged) 0300 123 1134 Email: contact.centre@linc-cymru.co.uk Text: 07537 410024 (include your name and address or tenant key if you have one)

"I had just separated from my husband. The Money Advice Officer spoke to the council on my behalf and sorted out my housing and council tax benefit. It was all sorted out in five days after his visit, whereas the council told me I would have to wait five weeks." "Sorted money out and saved me pounds and pounds." "Saved me ÂŁ120 on electric, saved me hundreds on water rates and introduced me to Moneyline Cymru so that I could apply for a loan for new carpets. I opened a savings account with a credit union so I'm sorted for Christmas."

We are here to help. Contact us!

Grapevine Winter | Page 7


Money Advice

Find out all the facts

loans...

PAYDAY LOANS... Like us, you may be confused by all the adverts about borrowing money and taking out loans. We’ve heard some of your concerns about similar initiatives so here, we turn our attention to PAYDAY LOANS and share some facts.

What are they? They are short term loans for small amounts of money. Interest rates are very high.The money you pay back is taken out of your bank account which you agree to. Charges will be added for late payment and the lender will keep on to your bank about paying the money back.You can stop the payments being taken out by contacting your bank but you will still have to pay the money back.

Beware of extending a payday loan.... You may be offered longer to pay the loan back but this will come with charges, interest and fees.

Struggling to pay it back? Seek good advice by contacting us early to share your concerns. Ignoring the problem will make it worse! Pay day loan lenders are meant to follow Good Practice guidelines. If they don’t, you should contact the lender and try to sort things out. If you are still not satisfied, you can complain to the Financial Ombusdsman Service (FOS) or trade association.

Other ways to borrow money... Pay day loans are an expensive way to help people over temporary problems. They are not suitable for longer term difficulties. A loan from a credit union is more affordable - check if there's a credit union in your area. If you have a bank account, you may be able to agree an overdraft. But be careful of going overdrawn without permission. If you're on a low income and need money in an emergency, you may be able to get help from the Discretionary Assistance Fund. Contact Linc's Money Advice Team for further advice: 0800 072 0966 Page 8 | Grapevine Winter

LOAN SHARKS...

Don’t get bitten! Here is some important information about loan sharks to be aware of: • A loan shark is anyone who is lending money without having a licence. They are often people within your community that you already know. • They will offer to lend you the money, but you will not have a written credit agreement or receipts of payments you have made. • Repayments are often twice the amount you initially borrow, sometimes more. • Violence and intimidation is often used. They may act polite and dress smartly to win you over. What to do if you are a victim of a loan shark or you want advice? Call the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit on 0300 123 3311 (you don’t have to give your details) or call the Money Advice Team at Linc for help with budgeting and accessing other legal and affordable loans on 0800 072 0966.


Money Advice

Tips from the money advice team! What is the Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play programme? Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play provide grants and benefit checks for families on a low income, who have had a child in the last 36 months or are 28 weeks or more pregnant. The programme supports children and families in the most desperate need. It directly provides them with household essentials, such as a child's bed, a cooker or educational books and toys. It also includes a benefits check to make sure they are receiving what they should receive, and volunteer support to help families undertake simple DIY tasks to improve their home environment for children. If you are in need of help please call our Money Advice Team for more information and to see if you qualify. Further details can also be found on the Save the Children website www.savethechildren.org.uk

Grants & benefit checks!

Are you a Swalec customer? A little extra help

The Priority Assistance Fund will give Swalec customers extra practical support. This includes energy efficiency advice and making the most of your money, as well as help with your energy costs.

How can they help?

Swalec may be able to reduce or clear any outstanding debts you owe them in relation to your gas or electricty accounts if they are your supplier. They can provide: • Advice on saving energy • Information on heating or insulation grants • Making your money go further • Information on other organisations who may also be able to help • Referrals for the Warm Home Discount scheme, where appropriate What they can't help with: • Help with fuel debt you owe to another supplier • Give you money or loans • Help with any bills you have already paid • Provide you with help towards any other debts

Call the Money Advice Team for further information on 0800 072 0966

Grapevine Winter | Page 9


Tenant News

Hobbies & crafts NATTY KNITTERS Why not kick start the new year with a new hobby and a chance to make new friends? The Natty Knitter's comprise of a fun and friendly group of ladies that love to knit and chat together. They meet every Tuesday afternoon, between 2pm and 4pm at Sandfields library in Port Talbot. The knitting club is for all ages and abilities, and items are even donated to different charities within the local area. So far, Natty Knitter's have created items for the shoe box appeal, making hats, scarfs and glove sets. They also donated over 150 jumpers to babies in Africa, and are currently making and selling cardigans and jumpers for local charity Ty Hafan.

Knit and natter your way through Tuesday afternoons at Sandfields Library. Share pattern ideas, get hints and tips or learn how to knit if you don't know where to start!

Everyone is welcome! If you are interested in joining the group, please feel free to contact the library on 01639 883 616 to make an enquiry or just to pop along.

Thank you to Ceri Doyle, Linc tenant & member of Natty Knitters, for introducing us to this crafty group!

What’s on

T: 01633 284911 The Lysaght Orb Drive Off Corporation Road Lliswerry, Newport, NP19 0RA

www.lysaght -institute.com If you are interested in booking any of the rooms in Lysaght or wish to know more about the classes noted below, please contact Lysaght Institute on the above telephone number or visit our website.

MONDAY 10.00 - 11.0 0 19.15 - 20.00

WEIGHT WATCHERS – Julie KETTLERCISE - Moira

18.3 0 - 19.15 16.30 - 21.30

ZUMBA – Rhianne SLIMMING WORLD

09.30 13.00 14.00 19.00

-

WEIGHT WATCHERS – Patricia BALLROOM DANCE - Wendy SEQUENCE DANCE – Wendy ZUMBA – Kim

18.3 0 17.00 18.00 19.45 20.00

- 19.3 0 - 18.00 - 19.00 – 20.45 - 21.30

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY 10.30 14.00 16.3 0 20.00

Book now to avoid disappointment!

THURSDAY ZUMBA – Michelle LANGUAGE CLASSES - Daria WEIGHT WATCHERS – Jean BELLYDANCE - Safeena ROCK CHOIR – Suzie

FRIDAY 14.00 - 16.00

TEA DANCE – Pam

09.30 - 11.30

TINY TOES BALLET - Emma

20.00 - 22.30

SOCIAL DANCE – Pam

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Page 10 | Grapevine Winter

01633 284911


Special Feature ~

Property Maintenance Your new heating & plumbing contractor  Other contractors working on your homes  How to report a repair  Meet your new Maintenance Technician  Winter tips from the Property Maintenance Team 

11


Introducing Liberty Gas... A message from your new heating and plumbing service and maintenance contractors With over forty years of experience, the Liberty Group is a people-driven company specialising in domestic gas service maintenance and heating systems. We are very pleased to have been awarded the contract to deliver the services required to you, the customer. We are a locally based company with an office in Cardiff, and we will provide you with a dedicated team of staff and engineers drawn from the local community. Working together we will keep you safe by checking your heating system every year and keep you warm by repairing your boiler as quickly as we can. Our Engineers will be smart in the Liberty uniform and ensure that they look after your home whilst carrying out the work, showing you the utmost respect. Our aim is to become a trusted partner to Linc tenants and residents, offering high quality services that meet your individual needs, leading to high levels of customer satisfaction. Our mission is to continuously improve the service we provide and we welcome any feedback that you give us.

Linc says... Liberty's tendered bid includes enhancements such as: • 2 hour appointment slots • Text messaging of appointments • A dedicated customer liaison officer • 24 hour contact centre • Minimum 90% right first time fix Tenants should find no interruption to the service, however we hope that we will soon see real developments in the new service, which includes improvements suggested by tenants as part of the awarding of the new contract.

12

Tenants say... Linc tenants Brian and Alan, supported the property team in making the appointment of Liberty Gas. The two tenant representatives said: "It was very interesting." "I didn't know there was so much involved." "I really felt involved in the decision making."


Other contractors working on your homes R&M williams building group R & M Williams Building Group have an excellent working relationship with Linc and provide us with many services including Responsive,Void & Planned Maintenance, Disabled Adaptations and Construction & Refurbishment. "We have a fleet of 19 vehicles and 26 multi-skilled operatives to enable us to respond to repair requests for Linc residents across South Wales. In April this year, we took over the process of taking repair requests from tenants and residents, resulting in more accurate repair order requests so that the repair can be completed ‘right first time’. Linc receives live updates from R&M on every repair order, as and when they happen." R&M Williams undertake approximately 9,500 repair orders for Linc each year and are currently achieving a 94% tenant satisfaction rating.

gerald davies ltd Gerald Davies Ltd are a Grounds Maintenance and Landscape Construction company operating in South Wales. "We currently employ 65 skilled and experienced staff, some of whom have been employed with us for over twenty years. We have provided the planned grounds maintenance and landscape service for Linc since June 2006, including grass cutting, hedge & shrub pruning, weeding of planting beds, weed and moss control to hard surfaces. We also carry out reactive maintenance works i.e. tree felling, tree pruning and the implementation of new planting schemes. We have fully trained dedicated staff who work closely with maintenance officers, scheme managers, and tenants. We also attend estate inspections to monitor standards and suggest improvements to the landscape." Gerald Davies look after 90 sites for Linc. They regularly meet with tenants and staff on Estate Inspections, where you can make comments about your estate and how it is kept. Estate Inspection dates can be found on Page 26, and on our website.

unicorn southern ltd Unicorn Southern Ltd. is a family run painting and decorating contractor based in Bridgend with over 20 years experience working with housing associations. "Since 2009, we have been partnered with Linc to provide a professional and high quality service to improve the condition and appearance of Linc properties. One recent project was at Capel Court Extra Care Scheme in Newport. We worked closely with the staff, tenants and interior designers 'Just Imagine' to improve the communal areas of the scheme. The refurbishment of the lounge/dining area included the installation of a restaurant style serving area, allowing residents to enjoy their food in an area with the feel of a nice restaurant whilst enjoying the company of their friends and neighbours. As a company based in South Wales, we are proud of the positive impact that our work has on the daily lives of Linc tenants. Our aim is to provide a friendly and high quality service and to give people a home they can be proud of."

Unicorn decorate the externals of approximately 550 Linc homes per year. Feedback from tenants has been excellent.

13


How to report a repair You can report repairs using any of the following methods:

1.

By Telephone... Heating & Plumbing: 0808 208 2432 (free from landline) 0330 123 9622 (free from mobile) All other repairs: 0800 072 0966 (free from landline) 0300 123 1134 (low cost from mobile) 5pm - 8.30am emergency calls only

2. 3.

Visiting our office... 387 Newport Road, Cardiff CF24 1GG On the Linc website... www.linc-cymru.co.uk (for all non-emergency repairs)

4.

By email...

5.

By letter... 387 Newport Road, Cardiff CF24 1GG

6.

contact.centre@linc-cymru.co.uk

To any member of Linc staff if they visit your home

When you report a repair, please give as much information as possible.

Meet your new Maintenance Technician... Hi, I'm Alex Morgan and I joined Linc in August this year as your Maintenance Technician, working alongside Chris Crawley (pictured below). Chris and I carry out maintenance work and Health & Safety checks to all Linc properties throughout South Wales, including nursing homes, extra care, intermediate rentals, sheltered and supported housing. Our aim is to keep all who reside at our homes safe and well looked after. Keeping up a high standard of repair and maintenance work is a key part of our role. Our work can range from fire alarm testing to redecoration work which we are currently carrying out at Wyncliffe Gardens in Cardiff - giving all three apartment blocks a much needed coat of paint and general spruce up! If you see Chris or myself out and about in your area, please say hello!

Pictured left to right: Alex Morgan & Chris Crawley

Don't forget us Have you got a long holiday planned, going into hospital or are you going to be away from your home for more than four weeks? Please don’t forget to let us know for security purposes! Call the contact centre (Freephone 0800 208 2432) or your scheme manager/ warden and let them know how long you will be away for.

14


Winter tips from the Property Maintenance Team Are you ready for winter? As it starts to get colder outside, you’ll want to stay warm inside! Try these tips and you might just save a few pennies too...

check your heating bills If you’re not sure whether you’re getting the best deal from your energy supplier, check what else is available.There are special tariffs available for elderly residents or disabled tenants. Linc’s Money Advice Team is on hand to assist you - call 0800 072 0966.

turn the heat down

Turning your heat down by just one degree could save you up to £50 per year.

plan ahead

Why not set up a saving account with your local credit union to make sure you have enough money to pay your bills on time? Call the Money Advice Team on 0800 072 0966 for assistance.

what to do if a pipe bursts • Turn the stop-cock off immediately. • Turn off your heating system. • Switch off the electricity supply at the mains switch if water is likely to come into contact with electrical wiring or fittings. • Open all hot and cold taps to drain the system. • Contact Linc to report the emergency.

look after yourself time it

Put your heating on timer, to come on just before you go to bed and switch off after you have gone to bed. If it is very cold, set it to come on earlier and go off later rather than turning your thermostat up, as this is more effective.

• Eating regularly keeps energy levels up during winter. Include plenty of hot food and drinks. • Wear lots of thin layers to trap body heat. • Stay active. • Get a flu jab – see page 17 for further information.

get rid of draughts

Close curtains after dark and shut doors to keep heat in. Fit draught proofing around windows and doors.

15


Health News

Health & wellbeing Don't die of embarrassment!

Men and women aged 60 to 74 from across Wales are being invited to take part in a free NHS bowel screening programme which could save their life. The programme, which is managed by Public Health Wales, Screening Division, aims to reduce the number of people dying from bowel cancer each year across Wales. The screening test consists of a home testing kit, which is sent through the post every two years. People are invited to complete the test in the privacy of their own home and post it back free of charge. They will then receive their results within a couple of weeks. Hannah Jones, Screening Engagement Specialist said, “We want as many people as possible to benefit from this simple test that could save their life. Screening detects bowel cancer at an early stage, often when there are no symptoms, and when treatment is most effective. Although it may be difficult to talk about bowel cancer, we urge people to overcome their embarrassment and complete the test kit.” Bowel cancer, often referred to as colorectal cancer, is the third most common cancer in men and women in Wales but is also one of the most treatable if detected at an early stage. David Jones, 68, a retired haulage contractor from Pontypool, knows just how important it is to take the test. His results showed that blood was present in his sample and he was referred for further examination. The colonoscopy examination, where a camera is inserted into the back passage to look at the bowel, revealed that David had several polyps which could turn cancerous if left untreated. He said, “There was nothing wrong with me so when the testing kit came through the post I literally thought ‘why bother?’ I felt 100 percent fit, had no symptoms whatsoever. I thought it was a bit of a nuisance to be honest, until the nagging machine – my wife Wendy – started! To be honest, it was quite simple, not complicated or messy and I’m so glad I did it.”. Following his examination, David returned to hospital to have his polyps removed and is now passionate about encouraging other people to carry out the bowel screening kit. He said, “It amazes me how people can’t be bothered. I’ve spoken to many people who’ve told me that they’d thrown the kits away because they didn’t have any symptoms and can’t be bothered, as they think cancer won’t happen to them. But when I tell them my story, and they see how well I look now, they rethink their decision”. For more information on Bowel Screening Wales please visit the website www.screeningservices.org/bsw or telephone the freephone helpline number on 0800 294 3370. Page 16 | Grapevine Winter


Health News

Breathe easy

Friendship and support for people living with a lung condition

Breathe Easy is the British Lung Foundation's network of support groups, bringing people affected by lung disease, their families, friends and carers together. Breathe Easy delivers vital hope and support when it is most needed and campaigns for better treatment and care.

Sounds great, how do I find a group? Get in touch today to find your nearest Breathe Easy group. Visit: www.blf.org.uk/breathe-easy Call BFL helpline: 03000 030 555 Email: breathe.easy@blf.org.uk

Food for thought

1 person in 5 in the UK is affected by lung disease

Get in touch

Get the jab!

At the newly redecorated Capel Court Extra Care Scheme in Newport, a workshop on healthy, nutritional meals and snacks was recently demonstrated to tenants living at the scheme, along with their families and members of staff. The Linc catering team explained the importance of nutrition in older people, offering advice on the types of healthy food to buy, and how to prepare quick and easy meals. They also discussed the importance of safe food storage and highlighted potential dangers lurking in the kitchen. The turnout at the session was excellent and feedback from tenants and their families was very positive. Thank you to the Linc catering team for putting on such an enjoyable and interesting workshop! Grapevine Winter | Page 17


Tenant News

Want to move home? Linc have signed up to a new initiative called House Swap Wales. House Swap Wales is run via Facebook and has been set up to help tenants affected by The Bedroom Tax (under occupancy charge) find smaller homes to avoid having to top up the rent. But, House Swap Wales can also help larger families find a bigger home.

Helping tenants across Wales to swap homes using Facebook

Like our Facebook page

2

use facebook to search

If you are on facebook, or plan to get on facebook you can visit the House Swap Wales Facebook page and become a member of the group that matches the area you want to live in. You can then put up a photo of your property and tell people where you want to live. There is a short video on the page to help you and show you what to do. contact us for advice

Before you do anything – please contact us for advice. You will need to find out whether you are able to move. Moving depends on certain conditions such as not being subject to a court order, the property is an adapted property, or too large or too small for your household.

1

Post your property

Join a group

3

4

Find a swap!

www.houseswapwales.co.uk facebook.com/houseswapwales

www.houseswapwales.co.uk Sponsored by facebook.com/houseswapwales

To find out whether you will be able to move visit facebook.com/HouseSwapWales or contact us to tell us you are interested. Freephone 0800 072 0966 or email contact.centre@linc-cymru.co.uk Page 18 | Grapevine Winter


Tenant News

Information you will need to know Mutual exchanges and paying for gas safety checks… Linc is obliged by law to allow Secure Tenants to exchange their tenancy with another tenant living in a property owned by a social landlord (Local Authority or Housing Association) and under The Guarantee for Housing Association Residents (published by the Welsh Assembly Government in 2010) the same right is afforded to Assured Tenants. Linc Tenancy Agreements reflect this and the Tenants Handbook provides detail on pages 87-88 as to how this is dealt with. Whilst supporting the right of tenants to a “Mutual Exchange” we must recognise that there are differing reasons for an exchange, and for each exchange there are costs involved both for tenants and for Linc. Linc is obliged by law to carry out a safety check on the electricity and gas installations when a new household moves in. Tenants wish to exchange for a variety of reasons, including personal choice. There is a cost to Linc associated with each move and Linc thinks this should be borne by the outgoing tenant. A policy decision was taken in May 2013 to pass the cost of the safety checks on to the outgoing tenant, except in exceptional circumstances or where a tenant’s income has been reduced due to welfare reform changes. The cost of the safety checks which are payable in advance is:Electricity – £83.58 Gas – £ 19.28 We will undertake a review of this policy in six months to look at how it is working and any resulting consequences. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns freephone 0800 072 0966 or email contact.centre@linc-cymru.co.uk

Grapevine Winter | Page 19


Tenant News

Ty Canol Celebrates You talk about linc 25 Year Anniversary What's Top...

Ty Canol, our sheltered scheme in Fairwater, Cwmbran marked its 25th anniversary with a special afternoon celebration on Tuesday 17th September.

"You're nice and find houses for people" "Awesome community day" "Nice houses and gardens" "If there's a problem... you sort it" "I received great advice about maintaining my garden" "Repairs are getting much better"

What's Not... "All these Benefit Changes (UK Government) and the ones that are going to come in" "Some tenants don't look after their properties" "More fun days would be good" "It would be great to have a downstairs toilet"

Page 20 | Grapevine Winter

Ty Canol opened its doors in 1988 and has witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, the birth of the internet and five different prime ministers in its 25 year history. Tenants, family, friends and guests were joined by the Mayor of Torfaen to mark the occasion.

Message to all tenants The Tenant Advisory Panel (TAP) members are currently undertaking a number of surveys based on the communication to tenants about the Financial Viability Judgement (FVJ), 30 years forecast and Housing Association Regulatory Assessments (HARA). The survey information will be collected as part of TAP's research along with other evidence to form a final review of the communication improvements between tenants to the Regulatory Board Wales (RBW). If you are interested in taking part in these surveys please visit www.tapwales.org.uk/news


Tenant News

Home improvements Want to make improvements to your home or garden? We could contribute towards the cost. If you are looking to carry out improvements to your house or garden, such as garden enhancements like laying a new patio or decking, we could help you by match funding up to the value of £250. In order to qualify you need to: 1. Be a tenant of Linc 2. Not been in arrears for 12 months or keeping to all agreements made to pay 3. Not have received a self help payment in the past 12 months 4. Not be the subject of neighbour nuisance disputes 5. Demonstrate that the work will not be detrimental to the property

The Self help scheme

There is a limit to the total amount available so let us know your plans as soon as possible. If you feel you could benefit from this scheme please contact your Maintenance Officer who can give you more information and check your eligibility.

Catching up with... Evelyn Sear, Support Worker at Llys Enfys Extra Care Scheme, Cardiff Describe a typical day for you at Linc… Every day is different although it usually involves a number of appointments to see tenants. Throughout the day, I might arrange a visit to the theatre for an immobile tenant, sort out their finances with credit companies or offer emotional support. I try to help whoever needs it. It’s never dull and I love chatting to tenants.

What do you enjoy most about your job? I love the fact that I am surrounded by living history at work. I hear such interesting, funny, sad and inspiring stories from the tenants about their backgrounds. And, I love the fact that I can help to make a difference in people’s lives in a positive way.

If you had a free afternoon… I would go for a walk in the hills or go out on my bike. If the weather is bad, I’d happily be in front of the fire with a book, pot of tea and cake.

Describe your favourite meal… My favourite meal is a well-made curry; not too hot but nicely spiced. Grapevine Winter | Page 21


Tenant News

Tenant Service Testers Researching….Checking....Questionning….Recommending During Spring 2013, the Tenant Service Tester's set out to check whether Linc's Money Advice Team are doing all they say they are doing. After several months testing the Money Advice Service, they have now reached an end to the review. Steve Waite, a Tenant Service Tester said: "We have done all the research ourselves. I contacted tenants who had received a service from the Money Advice Team and asked the questions to find out if Linc were working according to the standards they set. I enjoyed speaking to tenants and we got a great response." Now that the research has been done, Tenant Service Testers, who are tenants just like you, now have to prepare their Findings and Recommendations as part of a Final Report that will be presented to Linc staff, the Linc Tenant Panel and the Linc Homes Committee. The Tenant Service Testers would like to thank all those who took part in the survey and will now be entering all those who replied into the prize draw to win a £25 voucher.

Feedback from the Grapevine Reading Group We have had a lot of interest from the Grapevine Reading Group. Below is a small selection of the comments and suggestions we received after the Reading Group reviewed the Summer Grapevine.... • • • • • • • •

An overall nice, summery feel Please include more about the contractors at Linc (see pages 11-15) I would like to see more information on Universal Credit The content is excellent Please include any changes resulting from Estate Inspections (see page 26) Write about different estates and how to keep them looking clean Very informative and offers a wide range of help on being a Linc tenant Shows a tremendous amount of community spirit from youngsters right through to the aged • I look forward to the next one • Well done to all those who took part in creating it

Page 22 | Grapevine Winter

Reading G vine ro e p

Gr a



up

Thank you to the Grapevine Reading Group for taking the time to look through the newsletter and submitting comments. The feedback has helped us to create this Winter edition, and continue to develop the design and content. If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Karen Jeffreys on 029 2047 4023 or email karen.jeffreys@linc-cymru.co.uk


Tenant News

Having trouble getting around the house? If you are struggling to get around your house such as, getting in and out of the bath, going up and down the stairs or just struggling to turn your taps on, please let us know as we may be able to help. Over the past 3 years we have installed:

Your News in pictures

Tenant Panel member, Joan Etchells, welcomes the Mayor of Newport to the Linc stand at the Newport Residents Festival in September. He congratulated tenants on their hands on approach.

110 level access showers 

27 stairlifts

8 disabled adapted kitchens plus various other works 

Mary and John, from one of our sheltered housing schemes have benefited from the installation of a disabled adapted kitchen, a level access shower and ramped access.

Mary said: “The kitchen I had put in is wonderful. The men who designed it really met my needs. Thank you.” John and Gillian, from one of our general needs properties, required a level access shower, after finding it difficult to get in and out of the bath. We were able to install this for them.

Mr Donovan turns 106! On the 19th August 2013, John Donovan living at Glyn Anwen Extra Care Scheme in Newport turned an impressive 106. John has three daughters whom he always speaks highly of, and puts his good health down to peace of mind and not taking life too seriously.

Gillian said: “This has made a big difference as we are disabled, especially my husband. It is so much easier with a walk-in shower. That is why I wrote a letter to you as a big thank you.” For both of these properties, we were able to claim grant money from the Welsh Assembly to assist in the cost of the works. If you think you could benefit from these types of work or you have a question, please contact Sarah Hancock, Customer Liaison Officer on 029 2047 4738 or email sarah.hancock@linc-cymru.co.uk or speak to your Housing Officer.

Congratulations John!

Grapevine Winter | Page 23


Tenant News

Fire safety In the home Tenants and residents may be aware that there is a risk of on-going industrial action from the fire services. As the winter season draws near, the risk of fires at home become more prevalent. There is no need to be unduly alarmed as the Fire Services have plans in place to ensure that there are emergency services during the strike period. Decorations But, there are some simple steps that you can do to ensure you remain as safe as houses during this period....

8 simple steps to follow:

• Do not use candles too close to curtains. • Never leave them burning in an unattended room. • Always ensure that candles are extinguished properly. • Christmas decorations are a significant fire risk. Always switch them off when you leave the room. • Never leave them on overnight or when you go out.

Smoke Alarms • Test them regularly to make sure they work. They Matches will significantly increase the likelihood of saving • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children. you and your family should there be a fire. • Batteries should be checked once a week and Smoking Materials changed at least once a year. • Always use a proper ashtray. • Extinguish smoking materials properly. • Never smoke in bed.

Test alarm Change batteries Replace alarm Cooking • Take special care when cooking. • Never leave cooking unattended. • Do not fill a chip pan more than one-third full. • Never put food in a chip pan if the oil begins to smoke – turn off the heat and leave to cool. • Never cook under the influence of alcohol. Page 24 | Grapevine Winter

Escape Plan • Plan your escape route with all the family. • Always include children and the elderly. • Close all doors at night and switch off at the plug any electrical appliances not in use. Open Fires • Guard all open fires. • Do not dry clothes too close to an open fire. Electrical • Replace worn or damaged leads. • Use correct fuses for household appliances. • Test electric blankets annually. • Do not overload a socket.

Top tip


Tenant News

The job clinic Helpful job tips

All the fun of the Fair Recruitment Fairs usually consist of a large number of stands representing employers, where you can talk informally about the careers they offer and take away company literature.

Benefits...

Free sweets, giveaways and competitions are all ‘crowd pullers’ in getting you to visit a stand, but what really draws the crowds are immediate job vacancies.

2. Meeting prospective employers helps you to

Be prepared...

4. Speaking to professionals in your chosen sector

1. You will often find a free programme of

seminars, employer presentations and CV clinics build useful contacts for future reference

3. Talking to companies gives you valuable

confidence and experience of interviews is a great way to learn about the industry

To get real value from the Fair, you should:

1. Find out in advance which firms are attending 2. Research the careers that interest you and know what you have to offer

3. Plan your visit effectively by looking through

the Fair catalogue, at the same time noting the times of any seminars you want to attend

4. Take copies of your CV - this will enable the

people you meet to see at a glance what your background is and therefore to answer your questions more specifically

5. Dress smartly and treat the Fair as an interview situation - get ready to impress!

Ask questions... Target those employers that seem relevant for detailed questioning:

1. When you talk to a representative on a stand, make a note of the name of the person - you may need it for future reference

2. Ask questions about the type of positions they

are recruiting for, the training they offer and the opportunities to progress within the company

Pictured above (left to right): Wendy Johnson & Sam Teague from Linc's Recruitment Team behind the Linc Care stand at a recent Recruitment Fair

Linc recruit! Take a look at our website www.linc-cymru.co.uk for the latest vacancies or to sign up to job alerts

A Recruitment Fair is an excellent opportunity to meet potential employers face to face and market yourself to your chosen industry. So if you are looking for a career change, career advancement or that first step on the career ladder, Recruitment Fairs are a worthwhile source of information, contacts and interview experience. Grapevine Winter | Page 25


Tenant Information

Estate inspections

Working with you to bring real results and improvements Linc is committed to carrying out Estate Inspections and writes to all tenants inviting them to join housing and maintenance staff on their walkabouts. In September and October, a number of Estate Inspections took place across Linc estates and homes. Below are some of the issues reported to our Maintenance Officers on their walkabouts, and consequently dealt with. During landscaping visits, contractor 'Gerald Davies' also identified trees and areas of shrubbery in need of attention. • Renewal or repair of gas/electric meter doors • Fencing and gate repairs • Guttering repairs • Roofing repairs • Removal of rubbish • Fly infestation • Repairing rainwater harvesting breakdowns

• Boiler breakdowns • Garden maintenance • Carrying out disabled adaptation installations • Fixing solar panel breakdowns • Void inspections, ensuring value for money/ workmanship standards are achieved • Improving efficiency of properties eg, reduce heat waste

Your help is always appreciated on Estate Inspections.You point out the things that are important to be fixed or improved. Below, we list the next Estate Inspections and very much hope you are around to join us.

Estate Inspection Dates 2013/14 Address / Estate

Date

Bridgend C.B.C Lewistown 13.12.13 Llangeinor 13.12.13 Brackla TBC Kenfig Hill 13.12.13 Neath Port Talbot C.B.C Melyn Fach 29.01.14 Danygraig 29.01.14 Llys Morfa 29.01.14 Abbots Mews 29.01.14 Llys Groeswen 29.01.14 Morrison Court 29.01.14

Page 26 | Grapevine Winter

Address / Estate Caerphilly C.B.C. Hillside Ave Glebe Road Oak Tree Drive Old School Grange Parc Derwen Cwrt Llanfabon Pontypandy Borfa Place Pen-Y-Graig Cwrt Golwy Y Sianel Clos Tir Y Pwll Hilary Court Torfaen C.B.C. Jerusalem Close Llandegfedd Way Newport C.B.C. Commercial Road Albion Close Ringwood Place Constables Close Lysaghts

Date Address / Estate 12.03.14 12.03.14 12.03.14 12.03.14 12.03.14 12.03.14 19.03.14 11.12.13 11.12.13 11.12.13 11.12.13 11.12.13 03.12.13 03.12.13 04.04.14 04.04.14 04.04.14 04.04.14 04.04.14

Date

Blaenau Gwent C.B.C. Plantation Row 08.04.14 Pen-Y-Parc 08.04.14 Queen Street 08.04.14 Cwrt Bracty 08.04.14 Cwrt Alexandra 08.04.14 Caer Odyn 08.04.14 Ty Heulwen 08.04.14 Sirhowy 08.04.14 Cardiff Pontprennau 14.04.14 Thornhill 14.04.14 Penylan 14.04.14 Pentwyn 14.04.14 St Mellons 10.04.14 Grangetown 11.04.14 Trowbridge Green 11.04.14 Market/Intermediate Ffordd James Mcghan 11.04.14 Barrack Lane 11.04.14 Cwrt Pen Y Bryn 11.04.14

For up-to-date inspection dates visit www.linc-cymru.co.uk/inspections-estate


Tenant Information

Useful contacts If you can smell Gas: Please call the National Emergency Gas Service on

0800 111 999 (freephone, available 24 hours)

Linc-Cymru Housing Association 387 Newport Road Cardiff CF24 1GG

Heating or Plumbing repairs: (Liberty Gas - 24hr)

0808 208 2432 (low cost from a landline) 0330 123 9622 (low cost from a mobile)

Other Useful Numbers:

All other enquiries - Customer Contact Team

Citizens Advice Bureau (Wales)

0800 072 0966 (free if you are calling from a

0844 477 2020

National Debtline 0808 808 4000

Moneyline Cymru (a local service providing

loans, savings, basic bank accounts and advice) Cardiff: 029 2034 4460 Newport: 01633 258 233 Cwmbran: 01633 877123 Pontypridd: 01443 493009 Bridgend: 01656 655592

(office hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:00pm): landline)

0300 123 1134 (if you use this number when you are calling from a mobile phone, you will be charged the cost of a normal phone call)

Email: contact.centre@linc-cymru.co.uk Website: www.linc-cymru.co.uk Emergency Repairs

0800 072 0966 (after 5pm and on weekends)

Money Made Clear (a helpline for enquiries

about financial products and services) 0300 500 5000

Electricity, Gas and Water Supply To find out who your electricity supplier is please contact 0845 601 5972 To find out who your gas supplier is please contact: 0870 608 1524 To contact Welsh Water please contact: 0800 052 0145

Allpay 0844 557 8321 (to pay your

rent with a credit or debit card) www.linc-cymru.co.uk/pay-your-rent

Compliments & Complaints: Customer feedback, whether positive or negative, helps us to continually improve our services. We value your comments and will always do our best to respond to you as quickly as possible. If you would like to make a compliment or complaint, you can contact us as above or submit your comments at www.linc-cymru.co.uk/compliments-complaints Grapevine Winter | Page 27


www.linc-cymru.co.uk


Grapevine Winter 2013