September/ October 2010
Southwark Housing News Hayeâ€™s homecoming p8
Inside this issue: What happens to my recycling? p13 A day in the life of Leathermarket JMB p2 Finding homes that suit you best p4
The magazine for Southwark Council tenants and leaseholders
2 Behind the scenes at Leathermarket Joint Management Board My name is Andy Bates and I’m the manager of Leathermarket Joint Management Board (JMB), which manages 1,500 homes for Southwark Council. Residents have the right to take over the running of their estate, if this is what the majority wants and after the appropriate training. This means that our board of directors are elected by residents and paid staff providing services on a day to day basis. The advantage of tenant management is that it is local and personal. People, tenant representatives and staff know that they can make a difference. Staff and residents know each other, nobody is just a name on a computer screen. We employ our own repairs staff, cleaners and gardeners, as we believe that someone who is paid a living wage will do their job better than someone with no job security on a minimum wage. Our belief has turned out to be right: the JMB has had two continuation ballots in 2001 and 2006, in which residents were asked whether they wanted to continue to be tenant managed and on both occasions at least 90% of residents that voted wanted the JMB to carry on. The general feedback was that the estate looks better and residents were reporting fewer problems on the doorstep. Managing social housing in Southwark is difficult and tenant management is not a magic wand. We have faced our challenges, and will face more challenges in the future as money gets tighter. Tenant management can only work with committed and persistent resident representatives and staff, which is fortunately what we have got.
For further information visit www.leathermarketjmb.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7525 1600.
Here to he Providing value for money With the council facing budget cuts from central government, our big challenge is to make the money we receive go further, to deliver the services tenants tell us matter to them. We’re working to make sure that all our contracts deliver value for money, and deliver savings for you. Cutting repair completion times When you report a repair, we will class it as an emergency, urgent or non urgent, depending on the severity of the issue. We’ll make sure our contractor comes out to any emergency repair within 24 hours and urgent repairs within three working days. We’ve listened to your feedback and cut the repair time for all non urgent repairs from 30 working days down to 20 working days. This means that non urgent repairs such as missing roof tiles, minor leaks or broken windows in communal areas can now be tackled much faster. Reporting repairs just got easier We’re sending all tenants a repairs finder booklet this autumn, with pictures of common repairs to make identifying and reporting repairs a lot easier. It also features a timescale so you can see exactly how quickly we aim to complete your repair. Hints on how to look after your home can be found on the council website, where you can also report your repair online. Just click on the repairs finder tool to send a message to the council and you can report your repair.
Lift services Tenants and leaseholders tell us that lifts breaking down is one of their biggest concerns, so we’ve launched a challenging lift improvement programme. Reliability has improved in the last year, but we can’t be complacent and our engineering team makes sure contractors are delivering a good service, and can step in quickly if service levels slip. Your safety is our priority As a landlord we have a legal responsibility to ensure all our properties have a yearly gas safety check and we always make sure this happens. However, in around 200 properties tenants are not giving us access. If you are a Southwark Council tenant you must let us into your home to carry out a gas safety check. If you don’t, you are putting yourself, your household and neighbours in danger, and if necessary we will go to court to get a warrant to force entry to your home and you will be responsible for the cost of going to court, the forced entry and any new locks or keys we have to fit as a result. We want your feedback
r contractor We’ll make sure ou ergency repair comes out to any em nt repairs ge within 24 hours, ur days. ng ki within three wor
Each month we call over 1,000 residents after their repair has been completed to ask their opinion on the service they received and the quality of the repair. Your feedback helps us see where we are doing well and where we need to improve. If you’d like to feed back on the services you’ve received, you can do this online at www.southwark.gov.uk/feedback
4 Focus on...
When it comes to your home, there’s no such thing as one size fits all. We’re here to support tenants to find homes that suit them better. Whether it’s adaptations to make life easier for tenants with disabilities, or helping you downsize after the kids have flown the nest, we have solutions to suit you.
Make the smart move Smart Move helps tenants move from a larger home that no longer meets their needs to a smaller, more suitable home. It could be that your children have grown up and moved away, leaving you with empty rooms and a house that costs a lot to heat. Or perhaps you find that the stairs are getting difficult, and you’d like a house that’s easier to manage. Whatever the reason, Smart Move gives tenants a dedicated officer to help them at every step of the way. You’ll also get a grant to help with the cost of moving and decorating your new home, and an incentive payment for each room you give up and any additional expenses. You’ll also be giving local families a chance to move from over crowded homes to a family-sized home with room to grow. We know that the thought of moving home can be worrying, especially if you have lived in your home for a long time. If you want to talk it through, the housing options service can give you advice and support on 020 7525 4194, or email email@example.com
Homes to suit you better
Small change, big difference Robert had been living in a council maisonette in Peckham, but when he left hospital last year, it quickly became obvious that his old home didn’t meet his current needs. “My home was on the fourth floor, which meant if the lift was being repaired I wasn’t able to go out as I couldn’t use the stairs with my wheelchair. I couldn’t manage the stairs inside my flat either, so I spent most of my time in the living room, even though the kitchen and bathroom were on a different level.” Robert registered to be rehoused to a more suitable home, and said that he would like to stay in Peckham, so he could be near his friends and family. With adapted properties in high demand, it took around a year for a suitable flat to become available. “I was offered a two bed ground floor flat in Peckham which had been built by Hexagon housing association to be suitable for wheelchair users. It’s the little things that make a difference, like the corridors and doors being wide enough to allow me to move around easily, the kitchen counters and appliances are within reach, and the bathroom has been designed with my needs in mind. I’ve even got a patio and an additional bedroom for my live in carer. My occupational therapist, Jon Cowderoy, has also given me plenty of support and advice, which has been a big help.” Now settled in his new home, Robert’s message to tenants facing similar problems is to keep calm and be in control. If you would like to find out if you are eligible for support at home, please speak to your housing officer.
Sheltered housing services have changed a lot in recent years, and we aim to support tenants to live independently, and offer support and help to when you need it. Read on to find out more about some of the different ways we can help tenants enjoy their homes. Supporting communities Living in sheltered housing doesn’t have to mean living a less active life.
For Mr and Mrs Knell, who live in Rotherhithe, it’s an opportunity to play an active role in their community. The couple, who are in
their eighties, have been living in sheltered housing for the last four years, were voted chair and secretary of the social club shortly after moving in. With regular bingo games, coach trips and exercise classes, and helping other residents with day to day activities there’s always something going on. By helping to organise and run activities around the scheme, they’re able to enjoy spending time with their friends and neighbours, and there’s a real sense of community throughout the scheme. Mr and Mrs Knell recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and were surprised to receive a congratulations card from the Queen, which Mrs Knell described as “wonderful”.
Supporting our tenants
A little extra help Sustain is designed to support the most vulnerable tenants, by helping them with things that many of us take for granted. Often people are at risk of eviction because they have rent arrears, have broken their tenancy agreement, or have complex needs. The sustain team look at the bigger picture to help them manage their tenancy better and keep their home. That can mean making sure theyâ€™re getting all the benefits theyâ€™re eligible for so that they donâ€™t get behind on their rent, helping them with health or disability issues, and putting them in touch with support services. One client, Michael*, had been living on his own after the death of a family member. He had health problems and a mild learning disability, which meant he became vulnerable to a group of younger people who befriended him in order to exploit him. They started using his flat as a base for drug dealing and antisocial behaviour, and stole his money and benefit books. *Names have been changed to protect identities
By the time Michael had been referred to sustain, he was at risk of being evicted, and his neighbours had had enough of the antisocial behaviour caused by the group of people living in his flat. Sustain helped him by setting up direct payments for his rent, and giving him more control over his own money. More importantly, they supported him to move to a different part of Southwark, away
from the people who were exploiting him, so he could make a fresh start. His neighbours no longer have to put up with antisocial behaviour. The council has been saved the costs and difficulty of evicting a tenant and now he is no longer at risk of eviction or homelessness. Michael is happier, independent and in control.
Get fit for free in Bermondsey Are you looking for a fun, free way to get fit and meet new people? Whether you’re an experienced runner, or a recent convert, City Runners club is open to everyone. Founder Tim Navin-Jones explains “Many running clubs are based in the city, and I wanted to start a club that was convenient for people who live in Southwark. It’s a relaxed and friendly group, and our members can also get great discounts on running gear.” If you’d like to find out more, visit www.cityrunnersclub.co.uk
Borough and Bankside
Haye’s homecoming Heavyweight champion of the world David Haye, returned to open a play area on the Kipling estate, where he grew up, which had been designed by students from the London College of Communication. Three students, Diego Ulrich, May Safwat and Ricky Knowles came up with a great design, and the students and estate staff generously donated their time to decorate the playground. The JMB were astounded and delighted when David Haye agreed to open the area, and meet with local residents for signatures and photographs. He even posted a lovely message on Twitter, saying how pleased he was to return to his old home ground and renew acquaintance with old friends. What a knockout!
Alfresco education Children in Camberwell are looking forward to alfresco lessons as the former Cobourg Road nature area has been brought back to life as an outdoor classroom. Once the site of houses bombed out during the war, the nature area had become neglected over recent years, and attracted vandalism and fly tipping. Local residents Malini Mehra and Nick Mabey applied to the council for a Cleaner, Greener, Safer grant and won £25,000 to bring it back into community use. Malini and Nick said: “This patch of land has gone from a fly-tipping site to an oasis of calm for the community and wildlife alike. It shows just how much can be accomplished by residents and the council working in partnership.”
Lordship Lane is blooming lovely The Lordship Lane tenants and residents’ association have been working hard to make their estate a great place to live, and their efforts are bearing fruit. Having applied for funding to plant rose beds and create a vegetable garden in the estate’s green space, they recently won silver at this year’s Southwark in Bloom awards. The communal vegetable garden is a great success, with people growing their own vegetables, including courgettes, cabbages and lettuces, and residents are thrilled that it’s a place where people living on the estate can relax, enjoy themselves, and make their local area a nicer place to be.
9 Nunhead and Peckham Rye
Dig for victory on the Pelican Estate
Garden makeover at George Walter Court
The Pelican Estate tenants and residents’ association has successfully applied for Cleaner, Greener, Safer funding to create an allotment for the toddlers’ playgroup. The allotment was opened with a fun day, where residents could see the blacksmiths create a fence adorned with vegetables and birds. The allotment looks great, and thanks to our green fingered toddlers the vegetables are doing very well. Bernie Saunders, chair of the TRA said "I am very pleased that the children are taking an interest in growing vegetables.”
The garden at George Walter had seen better days. The furniture was old, the fountain didn’t work and the garden felt dated. After speaking to residents, housing officer Kate Emmanuel contacted Volunteer Centre Southwark, who put her in touch with the Active Citizens Hub – a group of people from all walks of life who donate their time to help the community. A group of 27 volunteers quickly started work on improving the garden, and the results were amazing. The garden was cleaned, raised beds were built, new benches were installed and the old ones were given a facelift. Residents are thrilled by their new look garden, and very grateful to everyone who donated their time, labour and materials to the project.
Estate blitz in Gloucester Grove Housing officers in Peckham joined forces with SASBU, community wardens and the Metropolitan Police Service for an estate blitz on the Gloucester Grove estate. The purpose of the day was to tackle issues like cleaning, repairs and antisocial behaviour, and offer a wide range of services to residents including free dog micro chipping and installing smoke alarms. It was a very successful day, with the street based team visiting to meet young people on the estate, Community Payback clearing gardens and rubbish from the estate, and tenancy checks undertaken.
Burgess Park Burgess Park is being improved over the next 18 months thanks to funding from the Mayor of London and the Aylesbury NDC - the first significant investment for 50 years. The detailed designs are being produced at the moment and work will start on site in the spring. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to release the full potential of Burgess Park and make our biggest green space look fantastic. Find out more about the improvements at www.facebook.com/burgesspark or www.southwark.gov.uk/burgesspark
10 Keeping you safe Leaseholder news
The council has a responsibility to keep tenants and residents safe, and part of this is making sure that gas appliances and heating are regularly checked to make sure it is safe. All homeowners are responsible for having their boiler checked annually by a registered Gas Safe engineer, to make sure that they and their neighbours are not at risk of carbon monoxide leaks. This is why we have recently contacted a random sample of 100 leaseholders to request a copy of their gas safety certificate, and we will take further action against leaseholders who do not provide the information requested. If you would like more advice or information about the council’s gas servicing scheme for leaseholders, please call us on 020 7525 7660.
A helping hand for leaseholders The Citizens Advice Bureau have been providing independent, life changing advice and support for over 70 years, and can help people from all walks of life with queries ranging from money to housing and employment advice. If you’re a council leaseholder, you can now get specialist help and information from the Bermondsey branch. It doesn’t matter whether you bought your property directly from the council or from a previous owner, they can offer free, confidential and
The nights are drawing in, and many people are concerned about the rising cost of electricity bills. That’s why we are offering tenants and leaseholders a completely free draught proofing service, which could save around £30 per year on your bills. You can also get reflective radiator panels, which are an easy way to save up to 10% off your energy bills, and we are installing cavity wall insulation in 5000 tenants and leaseholders’ homes. To find out more about the projects and our top energy efficiency tips, visit www.southwark.gov.uk/thebigswitchoff
impartial advice. If you’re having trouble budgeting for service charges, want to know more about your rights and responsibilities as a leaseholder, or need advice on a wide range of issues, the CAB are here to help. To find out more, visit www.southwarkadvice.org.uk, call 020 7237 9532, or visit them at 8 Market Place, Southwark Park Road, SE16 3UQ.
For radiator panels call Mears on 020 8293 6150 and quote SHNOCT2010. For draught proofing call Kershaws on 01954 250 155 and quote ref SHNOCT2010.
dings il u b in s to s e b s a n o te a d p u Safety the majority are in good ut Many people have worries abo d, rbe istu asbestos, but left und it usually does not pose a health risk. However, care should be taken to prevent the release of fibres as they can cause serious damage to your health. We have recently conducted a survey of our properties to build up a more accurate picture of buildings that may contain asbestos. We have also produced
a fact sheet for residents, describing what asbestos is, why it was used, where it is most likely to be found in the home, and the facts on asbestos and health.
, It is available at housing offices one stop shops and online at www.southwark.gov.uk. Some buildings in Southwark were built using asbestos, but
Get ready for the switch! TV is going digital, meaning better picture quality and more choice. From September, we'll be upgrading communal aerials, satellite dishes and cabling in council properties. To find out more, speak to your housing officer, visit www.southwark.gov.uk/digital or call 0800 952 4444.
Help us help you Your housing officer will be calling on you to check we know about issues that can help us help you. For example if you are hard of hearing we will instruct our repairs staff to knock louder and wait longer for you to answer the door. The information that you provide will also help us plan services for the future. Please help your housing officer complete the information form when you see them.
condition and do not pose a health risk. There is a potential but small risk if it is damaged, but you can minimise the risk by keeping an eye on the condition of anything you think may contain asbestos to make sure it does not become damaged. If you have any concerns please speak to your housing officer.
How are we doing? If you want to know how we performed as a landlord last year and our plans are for the coming year, you will be able to take a look at our annual report. We have already asked residents groups what they want to see in the report, so we hope that you find it useful. You will be able to download it from www.southwark.gov.uk from 1 October, and weâ€™ll be telling you more about it in future editions of Southwark Housing News. You can also request a copy by writing to: Annual report request Corporate strategy PO Box 64529 London SE1P 5LX
What do you think of our housing service? Do you think it’s good, bad, or a bit of both? Would you like to help make services better? The performance review group works with residents to look at housing services, and plan ways to improve the services we provide. We’d like to hear from residents in any part of the borough, but we particularly want to hear from residents who live in Borough and Bankside, Nunhead and Peckham Rye, Rotherhithe, and Peckham.
You don’t need any previous experience, as training is provided. The group meets four times a year, and meetings are held outside of office hours. The group review the council’s performance and their feedback helps us develop our services and plan improvements, and makes sure we’re meeting our targets. If you’d like to find out more or join the group, please call Sinead Dunphy on 020 7525 0718.
Investment update Work is nearly complete on two of the Elephant and Castle affordable housing schemes, which are part of the council’s regeneration strategy, in partnership with London and Quadrant Housing Association. St. Georges Road The 15 two bedroom homes are designed by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, with a stylish timber and glazed brick
front, a new internal garden and a playground for residents and tenants of the nearby Gaywood Estate. The homes are all be for social rented tenants, and will be offered to tenants who have been living on the Heygate estate in the first instance.
New Kent Road
St. Georges Road
This development, designed by S333 architects, will offer 52 homes, including ten three bed family homes, built around a private courtyard. The ground floor faces on to New Kent Road there will be three new commercial units created as well. This development is due for completion December 2010.
Kenyon House gets a fresh look Residents of Kenyon House in Camberwell have recently benefited from improvement works to their building. Windows were replaced with double glazed UPVC, brickwork, concrete and roofing has been renewed, and the communal areas have had a lick of paint. Internal decent homes work meant kitchens and boilers were replaced and wiring and central heating upgraded. Look out for further updates on improvement works in future issues.
We’re all trying to do our bit to be greener, and recycling our rubbish rather than adding to landfill. But where does your recycling go? The two recycling schemes in Southwark are mixed recycling, where everything is collected together, using clear bags or communal recycling bins, and separated recycling where residents sort their recycling into blue boxes and bags. Separated recycling is sorted when it’s collected and taken straight to the reprocessors to be made into something new, but mixed recycling is taken to a materials recovery facility (MRF) to be separated, and that’s where it gets interesting.
1 First a vibrating
2 Then materials
3 Plastic bottles, trays
4 Aluminium cans
5 Finally, it’s just
machine separates out the paper and card, which will be turned into pulp before being processed into new reams of paper ready to be sold and reused.
pass under huge magnets which separate out the steel cans and tins. They’ll be melted down before becoming anything from engine parts to an aeroplane.
and tubs are detected using high-tech scanners which pluck out plastic items. Plastic is shredded and used to make new items such as fleeces, DVD cases and garden furniture.
are separated using an eddy current separator. Aluminium is melted down to become a number of things such as energy efficient engine components or more cans.
the glass jars and bottles left. They are melted down and turned into new bottles and jars or sand which can be used on road surfaces.
We then send the materials to reprocessing facilities, the majority of which are in the UK. Wherever possible we send materials for recycling in London, which helps minimise carbon emissions. This means valuable resources are reused, helping us to save both raw materials and the environment. Working in partnership with our waste and recycling contractors, Veolia environmental
services, we are building a new integrated waste management facility for Southwark on the former gasworks site at Old Kent Road, where we’ll be able to separate all Southwark’s recycling locally for the first time. The facility is expected to open in early 2012 and residents will be able to tour the site and see recycling in action for themselves. For further information see www.southwark.gov.uk/recycling
14 Your services, your choice Which services do you think are the most important? What is the best way to tell us how to improve our services, and what level of service you feel we should provide? Let us know and you could win a prize! The Tenant Services Authority has asked all landlords to agree with our residents how we will deliver services to meet their new standards. These standards set out the level of services you can expect from us, but also how services will be provided and tailored locally and which standards we need to develop, also known as ‘local offers’. We want to hear your views on three areas, so here are some questions to get you thinking: 1. Tenant involvement and empowerment • How should we involve you in our services? • How should we respond when you make a complaint? • How do you want us to respond when you contact us?
These are just our suggestions - it is up to you to tell us what you want, within what is affordable. We will also be consulting on local offers with tenants and residents associations, area housing forums, tenant council and home owner council. Together, we will also decide how we set local offers – this could be by estate, community council area, service area, type of housing, or particular communities within our housing such as young people. We’d love to hear what your views are.
An example could be increasing the number of residents involved in improving services. 2. Your home
• How would you like us to respond when you report a repair? • What should be the standards of your home? An example could be the speed of response in carrying out repairs. 3. Neighbourhood and community For instance, the satisfaction with action taken against those causing antisocial behaviour. • How do you want us to manage your community? • How do you want us to deal with your reports of antisocial behaviour? An example could be the satisfaction with how we tackle antisocial behaviour.
We know that sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to get involved, but it’s your service and we would like you to tell us what’s most important to you. Tell us how we should consult with you on local offers. Would texting be the best way, or open days on estates? Vouchers of £30, £20 and £10 will go to the three best suggestions. To enter please cut out the section below and return it to: the resident involvement team, environment and housing department, Southwark Council, PO Box 64529, London SE1P 5LX, telephone 020 7525 3326 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to find out more about opportunities for getting involved, please contact us in the same way.
My suggestion for the best way to consult tenants and residents on local offers is:
My suggestions on what the local offer/s should be are:
Name: Telephone number:
15 If you require information in your language, or in other formats such as audio or large print, please call 020 7525 5000.
Free personal safety workshops Would you like to learn more about personal safety? Come along to our free workshops for residents and you can learn some simple tips and techniques to feel safer and more confident. To book, call Donna Mallon or Deborah Battiste on 020 7525 1220 or 020 7525 1215. Date
28 September 9.30am Women to 1.30pm 15-54
Inspire, Liverpool Grove, SE17 2HJ
10am to 2pm
Inspire, Liverpool Grove, SE17 2HJ
10am to 2pm
Inspire, Liverpool Grove, SE17 2HJ
10am to 2pm
Peckham Pulse 10 Melon Rd, SE15 5QN
2.30pm Boys to 6.30pm 13-17
Peckham Pulse 10 Melon Rd, SE15 5QN
10am to 2pm
Young people Peckham Pulse mixed 10 Melon Rd, SE15 5QN
10am to 2pm
Inspire, Liverpool Grove, SE17 2HJ
Make your mark Donâ€™t lose your right to vote! Registration forms are delivered to every residential property in Southwark from August to November every year. Please complete and return the form immediately. From October to November, we will visit all households that have not returned their form. Help cut costs by responding straightaway.
For more information or to request a form Call 020 7525 7373 Email email@example.com Visit www.southwark.gov.uk/vote
Pick which of the following subjects you’d most like to read about in a future issue of Southwark Housing News
Search for the words below and you could WIN £50 worth of shopping vouchers. D C U F N V H E Q I C A G E
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R D O U D G R N A E T Z H M
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WORDS: CUTS FEEDBACK CONTRACTOR
H T S S O O M A S M B S S G
U I E L T E S K E I G C R E
A N R L C C E Z I S N W O D
L U F I A T R D C B W K T E
V X L F R V U E W P C V F F
I M A D T K G B I A L W S A
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DOWNSIZE SMART ALFRESO HOMECOMING
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The lucky winne r last issue was Helen Grater, 35
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How to make a difference to your area How to apply for a school place in Southwark How to make the most of your money Name:
Send back your completed word search by 30 September to: Southwark Council, The Editor, Southwark Housing News, Communications Team PO BOX 64529, London SE1P 5LX. Winners will be announced in the next edition. The information you provide will be used fairly and lawfully and Southwark Council will not knowingly do anything which may lead to a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Useful housing contacts Rent Pay by direct debit: 020 7525 2600 Pay by debit/credit card: 0845 6000 611 (24hrs) Pay online: www.southwark.gov.uk/onlinepayments To pay in person: Peckham cash office: 19-23 Bournemouth Road, SE15; Walworth cash office: 177-179 Walworth Road SE17; Opening hours: Mon to Fri 8.30am to 4.45pm, Sat 8.30am to 2.45pm To pay by post: The London Borough of Southwark cashiers, 19 Spa Road, PO Box 11767, London SE16 3QN Repairs Tel: 0800 952 4444 (24hrs) Utilities (emergencies): Electricity: 0800 096 9000; Gas: 0800 111 999; Water: 0845 200 800
Publication date March 2010. This magazine is printed on recycled paper.
Leaseholders/freeholders Home ownership unit - Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm Tel: 020 7525 1400 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Housing services for council tenants Tel: 020 7525 2600 Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm Southwark antisocial behaviour unit Tel: 020 7525 5777 (24 hours) Email: email@example.com Web: www.safersouthwark.gov.uk Southwark Homesearch Bidding hotline: 0845 270 0655 Bidding text line: 07781 486 526 Advice line: 020 7525 4140 Web: www.southwarkhomesearch.org.uk