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Issue 33 July/August 2008



IN THIS ISSUE: Fit for Purpose: Changing the world for the better The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For Tenant Involvement Area Association 55+ Community Day Anti-social Behaviour New homes Customer Satisfaction Alternative Heating Win FREE Home Insurance Gender Equality Scheme Open Door Church Fun Day Gas apprentice day Top Tips ...and more

Fit for purpose: Changing the world for the better Chan Abraham, Group Chief Executive, explains how people working for Luminus are helping to change the world for the better With the world’s problems seeming to increase daily it’s easy to be negative. In Luminus we encourage our staff to believe that they really do have the power to change the world for the better. Many people so often feel helpless to change things around them because the problems seem just too big.

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During 2008, with our theme being Fit for Purpose, Luminus employees have been developing a new way of looking at the world. And I believe this is helping Luminus to give all our customers inspirational service. Let me explain. Every person has the power to affect people around us. For example, if you smile at someone they tend to smile back. Equally, if you are grumpy, others aren’t going to be too happy either - and they might avoid you!

These very simple examples show that you have the power to change things.

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness One way that we are applying this is helping our staff understand the power of the Luminus influence because Luminus: •

provides vital services to homes, families and communities

is a major employer and therefore can change our employees’ outlook on life

works with many organisations and we can have a positive impact on the way they also do their jobs.

Contents Page 2 Fit for Purpose: Changing the world for the better Page 4 Simply the best! Page 5 Tenant involvement Page 6 Area Association Page 7 55+ Community Day

It is clear to see this has had a massive impact on our staff. This year Luminus was assessed independently as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in the UK.

So what do I mean by inspirational service? Wherever possible, we want people who contact Luminus to leave us with a smile on their face.

Page 8 Action against noise

Our staff are inspired and believe they are helping change the world.

Page 12 Alternative Heating

We want others to catch the good news – and together we can make even bigger changes for the better. Now that’s something to smile about!

Page 9 New homes Page10 Satisfied customers

Page 13 Win FREE Home Contents Insurance Page 14 Gender Equality Scheme Page 15 Open Door Church Fun Day Page 16 Gas apprentice day Page 18 Top Tips Tell us what you think Your views are important to us. Please tell us what you think about Luminus News. Call 01480 428707/8 or email

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Luminus employees know that the work they do in our homes, working with families and supporting communities is making a big difference. So, far from feeling helpless, they believe they are having a powerful effect on the world around them – helping to change it little by little.

The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For

Luminus triumphant!

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Luminus has achieved outstanding national recognition as one of the UK’s 100 Best Companies To Work For, achieving 16th place overall on a prestigious list of winners that includes several well-known, national names. From an independent survey of employees, Luminus scooped the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For award with staff giving the highest scoring factor to the leadership of Group Chief Executive, Chan Abraham, who initiated the business in March 2000. Judges said that Mr Abraham, “is an influential figure and his strong leadership is recognised by his staff.” They went on to state that staff appreciated Chan Abraham, “running the company on strong moral principles, returning an impressive 86% positive score.”

81% of staff said they were proud to work for Luminus and loved working here

Judges also said that staff, “are inspired by his leadership and have a great deal of faith in him.” The judging panel also found that staff appreciated that Luminus makes a difference to local residents and that the company put a lot back into communities. They were impressed by the central importance of training to employees’ career progression, including opportunities to follow

personal development and training opportunities that are necessary for their work, as well as to improve their Spanish, enhance their personal image, public speaking and presentation skills.

Tenant involvement Leaseholder update Luminus is moving forward with the review of our leasehold service. At the meeting held for leaseholders on 17 April, it was agreed that we would review all our procedures by the end of September and have a Guide for Leaseholders ready to be distributed by April 2009.

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At the meeting discussions were held about the new arrangements for cleaning the communal areas of our flats and we looked at the consultation procedure we have to go through if we are carrying out major works or services. In future meetings we will look at the procedures and the Guide in more detail. All leaseholders will be contacted inviting them to future meetings.

Tenants Design Review Group

Diary dates 2008 55+ Event 27 August

The Design Review Group of tenants met on 17 June with our Maintenance Trainer, Andrew Davey to review and comment on customer service training for trades teams.

Tenant Services Consultative Forum 11 September

Five tenants spent most of the day with Andy going through our processes and approach to training, providing feedback on what can upset customers, what can be improved and how to deal with a demanding customer!

Area Association 6 November

This feedback helps to ensure that the training Luminus provides to our trades team is continuously improving.

Area Association Area Association took place on the 3 April 2008 at our Brook House head office and the theme was: How well do we communicate?

Enthusiastic tenant involvement

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Speakers included representatives from the Communications, Marketing and PR team, Luminus Gas Maintenance Services, Reception Team, Service Centre and Hope Social Enterprises. Tenants had the opportunity to feedback on tenant involvement activity and give their suggestions on how Luminus could improve communication to customers. There was a lunchtime and evening session and in total 100 tenants and leaseholders attended, each receiving a free stationery pack containing a pad, pencil, pen, highlighter and fridge magnet. Mr Simpson from Bury collected his prize of ÂŁ50 for completing a feedback form from the last meeting. Kelly Linay and Simon Leher from the Communications team, led a lively debate about the work of Communications, Marketing and PR. With the focus on the re-invention of Luminus News tenants were very happy to give their feedback and ideas.

Cups of tea and smiles all round

“Thank you for a great meeting. It was very informative and well put together. Thank you for progressing and not standing still. I maintain that Luminus is the best housing association in England!� Comment from tenant

All aboard the Out & About bus with free stationery packs

Next Area Association:

• HEAT - an energy provider

Thursday 6 November 2008 at 12.30pm and 7.00pm on “Money Matters” to include.

• Rainbow Anglia Savers Credit Union

• Benefits advice and income maximisation • Low cost home contents insurance scheme

• Hope – affordable household goods sale • Prize Draw and freebies Look for further details in the next edition of Luminus News.

Over 55s Community Day

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Commemoration Hall, High Street, Huntingdon 10.30am - 4pm Come and find out about the services available to you.

Admission: FREE!

Refreshments available throughout the day

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Bargains on offer at the Hope Sale

Action against NOISE!

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Most cases of anti-social behaviour that Luminus deals with are complaints about noise. Often these can be resolved by speaking to the neighbour about the problem.

However, to help us deal with these complaints Luminus has purchased a digital noise recorder which we can put in the home of the person complaining about the noise. Each time there is a noise disturbance the complainant will be able to start the machine, which will then record the noise. When the recorder is returned to Luminus we will be able to analyse the noise and determine the level of disturbance. This will help provide evidence if further action is required to deal with the complaint.

Pay your rent at We are always looking to provide you with as much choice as possible in the ways you can pay your rent. We are pleased to announce that you can now pay your rent at any branch of Woolworths. This is in addition to any post office or retail outlet that takes PayPoint payments. You can also pay your rent by direct debit, standing order or over the telephone. If you have internet access you can pay through your bank online. If you have any enquires about your rent, please call our Revenues team on 01480 428522/500 (North/South).

Tenant Board Members Are you interested in becoming a tenant board member for Luminus Homes? Please register your interest by 15 August by calling Zoe Barton on 01480 428703 or emailing

New homes

The development consists of two buildings, built in two distinct phases. An extra care sheltered housing scheme will replace the existing Cromwell Square scheme with 34 extra care units.

Architect’s impression of Brookside

Work is due to begin on site in August 2008 with anticipated completion due in 2009.

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Luminus and Campbell Buchanan, the area’s leading high quality home builders, are delighted to announce that planning permission has been granted for the joint application for the re-development of the existing Cromwell Square residential facility and the former Brookside site in Huntingdon town centre.

State of the art support facilities will be built first, followed by the construction of 43 high quality apartment for sale.

Whitlocks key worker housing

Andrew Lansley MP (right) opens Whitlocks

Luminus celebrates Whitlocks’ transformation Luminus held a ceremony to mark the transformation of Whitlocks, a derelict sheltered housing scheme in Trumpington, into a superb housing development for key workers. Attending the ceremony was Andrew Lansley, MP for South Cambridgeshire, Tony Orgee, Chairman of the County

Council, Robert Hammond, Chief Executive of Cambridge City Council, Mike Dixon, Deputy Mayor of Cambridge and other local dignitaries. The new £3.5 million development contains 44 state-of-the-art studio apartments, 35 for rent to key workers and the remaining nine for low cost home ownership.

Satisfied customers! We are very grateful to everyone who returned their customer satisfaction surveys last autumn. We feel that the final results demonstrate the high degree of faith you have in the quality of services Luminus offers. We listen to the feedback you give to shape future service improvement. We realise that there is always room for improvement, so we will be developing an action plan to tackle areas of specific concern. We have highlighted six key customer satisfaction results and compared our scores against the average score for housing organisations. This shows how satisfaction levels have risen since 2004, when we last carried out a full customer satisfaction survey.

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How satisfied are you with Luminus overall service? 2001


2004 - HHP





2004 - Oak Foundation 94.2% 2007 - Luminus Homes 86.9% 2007 - Oak Foundation 92.5% Benchmark -


How satisfied are you with Luminus’ overall service?

Does your rent represent value for money?

Overall satisfaction with the service provided by Luminus rose from 84.7% in 2004, to 86.9% in 2007 for Luminus Homes.

Satisfaction with rent representing good value for money rose from 81.6% in 2004, to 85.2% in 2007 for Luminus Homes residents – a rise of 3.6%. Only 3.8% of all respondents disagreed.

Oak Foundation residents are even happier, with 92.5% responding positively. The average figure for housing associations is 77%.

The average positive rating for all housing associations is 73%.

Rainbow Anglia Savers Credit Union How satisfied are you with the repairs and maintenance service?

The good work undertaken during the past three years to improve the condition of Luminus’ homes is reflected in another rise in the positive response to this question. 85.3% of Luminus Homes respondents and 94.2% of Oak Foundation residents describe the general condition of their property as being ‘very good’ or ‘fairly good’. This is up from 82.3% and 89.4% respectively from 2004. The nationwide average for this question is currently 79%.

Luminus residents are more satisfied with the repairs and maintenance service in 2007 than they were in 2004. 85.2% of Luminus Homes gave a positive answer, compared with 83.6% in 2004. The average positive rating for all housing associations is 72%. How good do you think Luminus is at keeping you informed about things that matter to you as a tenant?

Satisfaction with where people live has risen since 2004. Over 9 out of every 10 respondents are satisfied with the area they live in.

The positive results of 90.3% for Luminus Homes and 91% for Oak Foundation suggest our residents are very satisfied with the way Luminus keeps them informed about important things that might affect them as customers.

The average figure for housing organisations is 77%.

The nationwide average for this question is 79%.

How satisfied are you with the area where you live?

RASCU RASCU provide an excellent way of saving for Christmas! You can save as little as £1 per week, after 13 weeks of saving you can apply for a loan of up to 3 times the value of your savings, with a repayment interest rate of only 1% per month on your declining balance! You can save with RASCU by paying in cash at a collection point, setting a standing order or by using a Pay Point card to use at shops or the Post Office. Your local collection point is: Acorn Centre, Oxmoor Estate, Huntingdon. They are open every Thursday from 10am to 12.30pm. For more information contact Tracey Croucher on 01480 428575 or email

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How would you describe the general condition of your property?

Getting involved! Tenant involvement allows our tenants, leaseholders and others to comment on and influence the services which affect them.

There are many ways to get involved at Luminus Group, either from the comfort of your own home or by attending friendly meetings or group discussions. These include:

• •

• Tenants’ voices are heard

Joining our shoppers


• •

Coming along to Area Association Becoming a tenant board member Attending the Design Review Group Completing surveys Setting up a resident group.

For further information please contact our Tenant Involvement Officer, Tracey Stone on 01480 428541 or by email, tracey.stone@

Alternative heating Page 12

New ways to save on heating

The Air Source Heat Pump

In October 2007, Luminus ran a pilot scheme installing air source heat pumps (an alternative heating method for houses) on four homes in Woodwalton. The three houses had previously used solid fuel and the bungalow had relied on storage heaters.

Extremely easy to operate

These four homes were chosen as the village had no gas and Luminus wanted to compare the installation and running costs of the new air source heat pumps to the traditional types of heating currently installed

in gas free areas (e.g. solid fuel, oil and electric storage heaters). Heat pumps extract energy from a variety of renewable sources; including air, and upgrade it to a higher, more effective temperature. The use of heat pumps can lead to savings on fossil fuels and subsequent reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases. All residents who have the new system are over the moon; they say it is easy to use and has made a brilliant cost saving.

Home Contents Insurance Scheme From 1 June 2008 Luminus transferred the Home Contents Insurance Scheme to the National Housing Federation “My Home” scheme.

The new scheme offers a more enhanced package of cover for no extra cost. If you were a policy holder of the previous scheme offered by Luminus, this automatically transferred to the new scheme from 1 June 2008. All policy holders should have received notification of transfer from Jardine Lloyd Thompson. Please read this notification very carefully and ensure you contact them on 0845 337 2463 if you have any questions.


FREE Home Contents Insurance All you have to do is request an information pack (which includes an application form) by calling Tracey Croucher on 01480 428575 or email and mention the National Housing Federation “My Home” insurance scheme. We will hold a prize draw and three tenants will receive 1 years FREE home contents insurance!

Free cat neutering St Neots and District Cat Protection are offering a free cat neutering service. Cat neutering carries a wide variety of benefits. If you would like any more information on this scheme please contact Dawn Cooke on 07966 282005.

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Gender Equality Scheme We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Gender Equality Scheme, which is now available on our website, in our reception area at Brook House, or upon request. Our Gender Equality Scheme sets out how we are working with our customers to review the range and quality of services we provide. We are doing this to make sure our services meet the needs of all our customers and other people who live in our local communities, regardless of whether they are men, women, boys, girls, or people who are transgender. Over the next three years we will be reviewing specific services. We agreed these services

with customers who attended three consultation sessions earlier this year. The sessions were enjoyable and gave everyone the chance to have their say on the service levels expected from Luminus. If you would like a copy of our Gender Equality Scheme, or would like to find out more about helping us review our services please contact our Tenant Involvement Officer, Tracey Stone, on 01480 428541.

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Have you had an emergency repair carried out recently? If so, you may have received a call from one of our Customer Services Advisors, to ask you about your experience. This is an important new service and your views will help us improve the way we carry out repairs. If you receive a call please spare a few minutes if possible to answer our questions – you will also be entered into a great cash prize draw for your time!

Open Door Fun Day The Open Door Church Fun Day was held on Saturday 14 June at St Neots Community College and the Luminus team was on hand to answer any questions. The event was well attended and the free prize draw to win £50 Argos vouchers was extremely popular with the prize being won by a very happy mum of two from St Neots.

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Luminus beats Council 7-1

The victorious Luminus team

Face painting fun

Luminus went head to head against Huntingdonshire District Council at St Ivo Outdoor Football Pitch in a football fun day to raise money for Hunts Parent Carer Forum. Over £600 was raised for the charity with Luminus winning the trophy by 7-1! The gloomy weather didn’t lower spirits in any way and the pitch was surrounded by enthusiastic fans, including the ‘Luminette’ cheerleaders! The day was very well attended, and for those not taking part in the football, there were a number of activities on offer including face painting, a ‘beat the goalie’ competition, an appearance by the

Luminus mascot Edward the Bear and a barbeque. The FA provided the referee and linesmen. There was also an under 12s game where St Ives Rangers beat Barhill 7-2. The day ended with a presentation of the Mark Rebane Charity Shield to Luminus.

Gas apprentice day

Group Chief Executive Chan Abraham gives an inspirational talk to the 34 hopeful gas apprentices wanting to work for one of the UK’s best companies

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Developing excellent gas services Luminus takes training very seriously for gas maintenance staff. This ensures that our gas engineers are kept up to date with the latest boiler and control technology and test equipment. All Luminus gas engineers are CORGI registered


It also tests for gas leaks,

Luminus will continue to

training from manufacturers


provide its engineers with

of the boilers installed

carbon dioxide levels.










manufacturer’s factory.

the highest standard of training available to ensure

As regulations change on a





regular basis, we make sure

current heating technology,

We now have the latest flue

that all our engineers are kept

as well as future renewable

gas analyser, which is used

up to date on essential gas

energy systems such as,

to ensure that your boiler

safety regulations and are

air heat source pumps and

is working at its optimum

re-assessed every five years

solar power.


for their Corgi Registration.

As part of our commitment to giving great customer service we have begun a new staff training programme. The training involves all staff taking an active part in a monthly training session about a different element of customer service. Our themes for this year were agreed with a group of tenants and leaseholders. They include: • Customer Service ‘The Luminus Way’ • Our Tenant Satisfaction Commitment • What standards of customer service our customers expect • How to deal with difficult situations • How to communicate effectively • When things go wrong – how to handle a complaint • Customer Services: Equality and Diversity

In addition to these monthly sessions we will be holding one-off training events and showing staff training videos. We will also be delivering a tailor-made Customer Service training course for our tradesmen. We look forward to your feedback on how well we deliver customer service. You can give this through the questionnaires you receive from us from time to time on different aspects of our service, and also through telephone surveys and tenant involvement activities.

Have you had a great customer experience at Luminus? Let us know!

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Great customer service

Top tips for the garden... Here are some handy hints to help you keep your garden looking great this summer

Check the ties on climbers, flower stems and standard roses - the tops of plants can get very heavy when in full bloom or when wet. Pond fish will eat more in the summer, feed them little and often, once or twice a day. Plant tender perennials including pentstemons and salvias. Apply a weed and feed to established lawns. Water in with a hose after a few days if it hasn’t rained.

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Paint shading on greenhouses to lessen the scorching effect of the sun and to keep temperatures lower. Ensure that soil in hanging baskets and patio planters is kept moist. Remove fading and dead flower heads from plants, this will encourage new flowers.

... and home Use floor and ceiling fans to create gentle breezes to keep you and your family comfortable. Why shut out the summer? Keep your home comfortable without air conditioning on all but the hottest days by minimizing heat penetration into your home. Longer days mean shorter nights. Don’t forget to adjust your outdoor lighting timers. You’ll save money and extend bulb life. Your attic gets hot in the summer - temperatures of up to 65°C (150°F) are common. Insulation in your attic protects your home from excessive heat penetration in summer and cold penetration in winter. Invest in attic insulation for year-round comfort and efficiency. Low-voltage outdoor lighting and solar-powered garden or walkway lights are smart ways to illuminate your garden path or walkway. They are also energy-efficient, inexpensive to operate, simple to install and safe. Make sure roof ventilation is adequate to prevent heat buildup in summer and moisture buildup in winter. String up a clothesline. You’ll save money and your clothes will smell summertime-fresh.

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If you have any more great tips for around the home or garden, let us know

Contact us 01480 428777 General Enquiries (Luminus Group Services)

01480 428333 Service Centre

Monday to Thursday 9.00 am - 5.00 pm and Fridays 9.00 am - 4.30 pm

For reporting all repairs. Emergency repairs include:

Emergencies: where a vital service has broken down and is likely to cause risk to you, your family or neighbours, your home or your belongings. This will be made safe within 24 hours.

01480 428588 Neighbourhood Services 01480 428522 Revenues - NORTH 01480 428500 Revenues - SOUTH 01945 467596 Luminus Ferry Project 01480 428521 Benefits Advice - Sue Cargill 01480 428541

Tenant Involvement Officer - Tracey Stone

• Gas & Central Heating problems (DO NOT ring the contractors direct) • Total loss of water supply • Major water leak (which is causing a flood) • Toilet blockage or toilet not flushing (where there is no alternative toilet in use) • Blocked flue to a boiler or open fire • Total loss of electric power

General tenancy enquiries concerning mutual exchanges, changes to tenancies, garden maintenance, service charges, lettings, boundaries, anti-social behaviour, tenancy disputes and Neighbourhood Wardens. Enquiries about your rent account (North Area)

Enquiries about your rent account (South Area)

Enquiries about Luminus Ferry Project

Advice about housing benefit and other benefits

Information about how you can become involved with Luminus Group

For help to understand this newsletter please ring 01480 428707/8 If you have any comments about Luminus News or would like a large print or audio version, please contact the Communications Team on 01480 428707/8 or send an email to

Issue 33 August 2008  
Issue 33 August 2008  

Luminus INSURANCE IN THIS ISSUE: Fit for Purpose: Changing the world for the better The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For Tenant I...